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Growing Your Business Through Social Media

by Julie Van Ameyde

Let’s face it social media is here to stay.  If you are a small or medium size business, you and your marketing department are juggling all the other things you have to do every day and the last thing on your mind at the end of a busy day is social media. Some of our clients tell us during our initial meetings that they wish they could ignore social media and that it would just go away, but trust me you do not want it to.  Done properly social media can be one of the most cost efficient ways to market your business.

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, the list is overwhelming; however the potential for growing your business and expanding your customer base is just as vast. A few businesses are effectively using social media to increase their profits, yet most are struggling to get their arms around social media and are making critical mistakes.  Two such mistakes are not being on the correct social media channel and being on too many channels without a solid social media plan.

First, and by far the most important thing to understand is the different social media channels you can utilize for your business. So let’s get serious about understanding the top options for your business and why you should use them!

Facebook: Everyone and their grandparents are on Facebook! Facebook is by far the largest social media channel. If you are selling products and services directly to consumers, this is the primary place to engage with prospects and current customers. In order for your fans to see your content, you must be prepared to post at least 3 to 4 times a day, advertise and pay to promote your business page posts. You want to engage with your fans, inspire them and truly bond with them. The last thing you want your Facebook page to be is a big bad 24/7 advertisement. If you decide to jump into Facebook, prepare to be busy engaging with fans, monitoring your page and writing content!

Google+ - Probably the least well known social network, however Google+ offers so many advantages you really cannot consider skipping it.  No matter if you are a B2C or B2B company, Google+ will boost your website SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Utilizing keywords, hashtags and links to content on your website will give you an amazing search boost. You will also notice how Google+ is integrated with Google’s other products especially Google Local. I recommend posting on Google+ at least 2 times a day; it is the best kept secret on social media!

Instagram: If you are a lifestyle, fashion, celebrity or luxury, brand you need to be on Instagram.  The beauty of this social media channel is that you are able to share photos as well as short videos. Share on Instagram at least once or twice a day.  Make sure and post your photos and videos from Instagram also on Facebook and Twitter!

LinkedIn: Businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B), recruiters and job seekers love LinkedIn. It is the premier business focused social media platform.  If you are in sales and actively prospecting for clients you cannot beat the ability to utilize your connections to request personal introductions. You can create personal profiles, company profiles and interest groups. Make sure to post on LinkedIn at least twice a day, preferably in the early morning and late afternoon.

Pinterest: What did we do without Pinterest?  How did we share fun creative visual content? If your business is selling to women, you need to be on Pinterest.  What industries seem to flourish on Pinterest?  Food, Recipes, Home Design, Fashion, Hair, Makeup, Travel and absolutely anything DIY (Do It Yourself).

Twitter: From the smallest to the largest companies, absolutely everyone should be on Twitter, period!  Joining Twitter is a commitment; you must lead conversations, share and interact at least 5 or 6 times a day and be prepared to provide customer service.  Keep your content brief and full of personality; make sure you shorten your links using a product like Bitly in order not to exceed the 140 character limit.

YouTube: We all love YouTube!  All the cute videos, but did you know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine? Google owned and managed, you will find YouTube videos getting prime billing in Google search results.  If you have content, advertisements, or provide any type of “how to” or want to share your company’s expertise, YouTube is a great venue for you.  Share at least once or twice a week and you will see your website search results grow.  Make sure you name and describe your videos properly in order to get the biggest bang for your buck.

In closing, the data on the percentage of small businesses that are using social media varies by source, however one thing is for sure, it is becoming an essential marketing tool for businesses of all sizes.  The shocking statistic is there is no one employed or dedicated to social media in over 70% of small and medium size businesses because owners and staff are stretched too thin causing the loss of potential revenue growth.

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Julie Van Ameyde is the owner of Simply Social Media. She puts her combined knowledge of social media platforms and best practices as a veteran business owner to work for clients in a myriad of vertical markets, including law, medicine, finance, technology, manufacturing, retail and service-based organizations. In addition, she contributes considerable time and energy to civic outreach programs, as well as community and charity groups. Contact Julie at: 248-667-8718 or julie@simplysocialmediallc.com www.simplysocialmediallc.com 

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