Operating any type of business in today’s economic atmosphere can be tough, but a small startup trying to branch out is really up against a lot. Not only does the sheer amount of competition hinder one’s odds of success, but the fact that you’re not an established, trusted brand really works against you in social media and with online advertising in general.
Luckily, there are a few different strategies you can implement in order to turn the tables. Instead of being seen as another in a long line of disconnected, self-interested, Johnny-come-lately businesses, you can use social media marketing techniques to be seen as a trusted, socially-aware, caring brand.
Social Media Strategies to Implement for Small and Startup Ventures
Using Facebook for business doesn’t cover the entire gamut of social media options, but it is the most popular site and thus gives you the most marketing options. While you still want to explore sites like Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other popular networks, Facebook is where you should put in the most investment to start.
With Facebook marketing, think about reaching out as a brand. You want to go beyond advertising your services and instead engage people. This can be done in a few inexpensive ways, including:
- Creating intriguing, interactive promotions (games, puzzles, etc) that offer people real incentives for their participation through email addresses, mobile numbers, or some other trade-off
- Posting material that gets directly to the root of the niche; i.e. solving a common problem with your market and doing it in a fun new way
- Encouraging sharing and other engagement through calls to action to ensure that the word is spread about your brand
- Making the most of ad formats like Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts, reaching a large number of News Feeds
- Using a Facebook marketing tool, like a great ad-management app, in order to control your costs, test your ads, and target the right demographics
Though it’s a method as old as email itself, it’s still a great way to implement a solid social marketing campaign. To start this type of campaign, you’re going to need a mass mailer and/or auto-responder, a good word processor for formatting, and a great angle to pitch.
Using promotions from Facebook and other tactics that drive people to opt into your network in some fashion (newsletters, RSS feeds, etc), you can build a big list of subscribers and send out emails with your pitch.
You can also tie mobile marketing in here, with promotions and other lures that require people’s mobile numbers. You can get really personal with this type of ad, using people’s names and marketing directly to them. The idea with email marketing and mobile marketing is to reach out to people directly to pull them further into the funnel.
This is a great type of marketing based on the cost-effectiveness of providing written content to various article directories, blogs, and other sites that accept content. The idea behind article marketing/content marketing is to provide an intriguing article which contains a link back to another destination.
The best articles are product reviews, how-to and tips-based articles, and other articles that offer information in a streamlined, easy-to-read format. Don’t be very wordy. Break your content up with subheadings and bullets. And always edit your work. A misspelling is bound to slip by occasionally, but sloppy work just won’t cut it.
You can offer a referral system and promote it through social media sites, email marketing, or through your articles. You can create landing pages and drive traffic there through a wide assortment of tactics. The important thing is that you pin down how you want the referral system to work.
For instance, maybe you’re offering someone 10% off of a purchase if they refer people. Or maybe you want to give away free products if someone refers X number of people. By adding incentive to share, your brand spreads a lot quicker through the social atmosphere. As long as you’re offering something of value, people will always want to participate.
General Tips to Use with the Marketing Methods
The marketing methods listed above can help a small business expand in the social realm. However, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind universally. Whatever you’re doing, remember:
- Keep the quality of your posts up, presenting professional material
- Make your content very intriguing to your audience to draw engagement
- Cater directly to a specific niche by solving a problem
- Market on a regular basis to show consistency
- Be very consistent with your brand image across different channels and methods
- Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit; different promotions, videos, infographics, etc
- Always research the market and follow various hashtags and trends, competitors, and other aspects of the market so that you can change and adapt where necessary
- Don’t skimp on the tools you need to market successfully, whether it’s analytics software, an ad-management tool, a photo and video editor, or any other tool you can use
Small businesses don’t have to be behind the proverbial 8 ball simply because they’re newer to the scene and don’t have the capital available that larger corporations do. By taking advantage of the different types of social marketing online, any small business can ultimately earn a big reach.
Simon Campbell is a writer for Qwaya, a technology company specializing in Facebook marketing. Simon Campbell loves to write about social media and spend a lot of times reading about social media marketing. If you have more social media marketing questions, feel free to ask Simon on Twitter