Maria owns a painting business. Maria is a great painter; however, she has no marketing experience, budget, or idea of finding the time.
Sound familiar? Now more than ever, you have tools and resources to elevate your marketing efforts. Social media offers multiple paths to increase brand awareness, leads, and sales.
Money and time - is there ever enough?
Maria can't afford to hire someone to do social media marketing. She needs to keep up on inventory, and paint prices just went up. She can't afford to advertise.
She has an issue with her supplier she must fix. She must do billing and payroll. Maria doesn't have the time to deal with marketing. She quickly puts together some posts talking about her services and products, tossing them up on her company Facebook page, and forgetting about it.
Maria just wasted time doing something that has little chance of helping her meet her goal.
Why do I need to spend time on marketing?
There are so many things to focus on every day as a business owner. Unfortunately, marketing can get pushed down the "to-do list." Don't let it. You can have the best product in town sitting on your shelves because people don't know who you are.
Over 70% of the small businesses don't have a marketing department. This is a problem since more and more people turn to social media for recommendations and information. Marketing is the growth engine of your small business. It builds brand awareness and offers valuable information to your readers, leading to trust and clients. The "word-on-the web" is the new "word-of-mouth."
Then there is the fact that you know nothing about marketing. So even if you do have time and budget, you may not know how to use it to get the best return on your investment.
You have already started by reading this article. You are going to learn some tips on how to keep going!
How do I create a social media marketing plan?
You need to have a plan and stick to it.
- Pick your top two objectives – What am I trying to accomplish?
- Define who you want to reach – Who is my ideal customer?
- Research which social media channels best reach your audience – Which social media channels are my ideal customers using?
- Share meaningful content – What questions or concerns do your potential customers have? What is stopping them from taking the next step? How can I build trust?
- Schedule time – What do you need to accomplish when? How long will that take me?
Maria realizes she needs to have a presence on social media. Her objectives are:
- Brand awareness – People don't know about Maria's business and why it is unique.
- Drive potential customers to her website – Maria has valuable information on her website that will help her convert leads.
Maria's business focuses on painting home interiors. Homeowners and interior designers are both great audiences. Facebook is a social platform visited by homeowners. On LinkedIn, there are groups and hashtags to help Maria reach designers.
To make sure Maria’s content is relevant and provides her readers value, she will follow industry leaders and join LinkedIn and Facebook groups to learn about what resonates with their readers.
Maria blocked off time throughout the week to focus on these social media tasks. She is committing to 3 hours a week. She will post twice a week. One unique post sharing relevant information and one that connects to an industry trend, influencer, blog, or other information readers will find valuable.
What should a small business post about?
There are tons of ways to generate content. Don't try to do them all right away but keep your eyes open when these opportunities come along.
- Solicit and share testimonials and reviews.
- Repost evergreen content.
- Apply for awards.
- Utilize interns.
- Share your company culture so readers get to know you.
- Share posts and quotes from authorities in your industry.
- Join online communities.
- Use white papers, press releases, and infographics.
Where do I find the time to do social media marketing?
You aren't the only one struggling to find time for marketing. Luckily, there are many resources to help you get the most of your marketing time.
Work smarter, not harder.
Many social media channels have resources to help you schedule posts, track analytics, and create marketing campaigns. Take advantage of these.
Some businesses specialize in marketing. They often cost, but it is a reasonable expense if it helps you reach your objectives.
Take advantage of what others are already sharing. If you come across a great post or article that supports your objective and comes from a trusted source, repost it or take a quote from it. Make sure to link to the original. Heck, let them know that you shared it as well.
Let's check in with Maria...
Maria found a great website by a paint manufacturer she trusts. She has been sharing their posts about choosing the right kind of paint and the benefits of hiring a professional painter. In addition, she reached out to clients asking for testimonials about their experience. Maria also joined the local chamber of commerce and hosted a networking event. Her posts direct people back to her website. She is holding herself accountable and is keeping to her plan.
Keep in mind
- Check your posts often, respond, and invite engagement.
- Focus on content that is relevant and meaningful to your audience.
- Repurpose content.
- Include a call to action that tells the readers what to do next.
- Break up the tasks into small chunks you can fit into your schedule throughout the week.
- Always add information in your post about what the reader will learn and why it gives them value.
- Just post advertisements or focus on pushing your product.
- Use industry jargon your audience doesn’t understand.
You've got this!
Start at a level you can maintain, build your strategy and be consistent. Remember to use resources explicitly designed to support your marketing plan.
Missinglettr is a killer app for promoting your content effectively with a minimal time commitment. After you hit the publish button on your blog or latest eCommerce product, Missinglettr develops a year-long social media drip campaign to help drive traffic to your website. Then, all you need to do is hit approve.
Don't stop now. These articles provide more great advice.