4 Social Media Best Practices and Tips to Market Your Small Business Without Going Crazy

Whether you’re a small business owner, sales professional or entrepreneur, developing a social media marketing strategy can seem overwhelming when your resources and precious time are limited.

Yet, social media marketing is one of the most effective and low cost ways to connect directly with your customers and find new ones. With just a few keyboard strokes, you’re on your way to establishing an online presence for yourself and your brand.

This article will guide you through the basics of setting up your social media strategy and building your online community.

1. Develop a Strategy. Evaluate who your audience is, who your customers are, and what type of information they would find valuable. This could stem from reviewing your client list, to doing a little research on your industry and competitors. Once you establish who your audience is, think about how you can engage with them and what type of information you’d like to share. This could be an opportunity for you to establish yourself as an expert in what you know best, or a go-to resource for handy tips, advice or the latest relevant news. Write down some key messages you’d like to communicate.

2. Set Up Your Social Networks. There are numerous social networks to choose from, but the ones your audience uses are the ones that matter most. Take the time to understand the difference between each network and which ones best fit your audience. You don’t need to be on every social network to be effective.

After you’ve set up your social networks, make sure your website is promoting your social media presence. Display your social network’s icons on your website so visitors can join your community. Be sure and put social sharing buttons within your website’s articles, products and services, so people can share it with others.

A company blog is another valuable way to establish your brand’s voice and share information, as well as a great way to increase your website SEO. Incorporate live social media feeds on your blog page, so visitors can view your recent activity.

Market your social networks on all outgoing communications, encouraging people to follow you and share your information with others. This includes email blasts, online newsletters, videos, as well as collateral and promotional materials.

3. Get Organized and Have a Daily Plan. Your time is valuable, and organizing a daily calendar of social media topics is a great way to have targeted messages ready to go when you start your day. You may want to start your Mondays with commenting on a relevant news article, or save Wednesdays for what’s new at your business. And always take advantage of commenting on what’s already trending in your community. This is your opportunity to engage with your community over a hot topic.

Another time saver is using social media management tools. Hootsuite and Sprout Social are two popular, low cost tools that allow you to post information to several social networks simultaneously. They also include a dashboard that allows you to monitor and analyze activity, as well as schedule posts for a later date in time.

4. Start Posting, Listening and Sharing! The more you engage with your social community, the more confident you will become at utilizing social media, and the more opportunity you will have to establish your message and online presence. Keep your message authentic, your content valuable and interesting, adding videos and pictures whenever possible.

Follow these best practices and you’re off to a great start! Yet, stay informed. The social media landscape is dynamic and continually evolving to meet our changing demands.