Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses?

We all know what social media is, and likely have a Facebook and a LinkedIn account. We know there is a business play to make for our small business on social media, but without a general understanding of how it can benefit you, it may not feel as if it is costing you anything to ignore it. But it is. It’s easy to ignore things you don’t know effect your bottom line. If you sell a product online or otherwise, and depend on traffic to your web site for sales and brand awareness, I am here to convince you it’s important.

The single most important reason to not ignore social media and creating a presence for your company there is Google and other search engines will ignore you if you don’t. Though you need a solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy for your sites and structure, technology and keywords still play a role in ranking on search engines, you can no longer artificially stuff your site with links or keyword dense content in hope the search engines will look your way. Google’s rules and bots demand authentic content that is thorough regularly updated and if yours is not and your competitor’s is, they will get the traffic. When someone types in your product category search terms you want them to land with you – or you at least want to be on the front page of the search results, right? Well this used to be accomplished with solid SEO and some artificial SEO tactics. It is now accomplished by solid SEO and you establishing relationships with many consumers or business owners across at least a few social media channels.

Where you establish a presence on social media is determined by who you are marketing to. Research is clear that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are necessities and YouTube, Google +, Snapchat and Instagram follow. Instead of managing one property, your main web site, you have to manage your main web site(s) and multiple landing pages, with traffic arriving from your active presence on a portfolio of sites and social media property accounts. Social media can be used as a selling vehicle itself, but that is for another post.

For example:

Are you targeting Millennials? You better have a presence on Snap Chat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube
Are you targeting Gen Xers? Linked In, Facebook and YouTube will get you started!

You get the picture.

Where direct access (a consumer typing in the name of your company on a search engine), paid search engine ads and writing content with just the right keyword density used to do the trick, now you must create all of those links to your site by your authentic presence across the social media sphere. It takes a strategy, a variety of content and an ongoing effort to update and replace content. If search engines are the new phone book, you want to be showing up. So getting a start on social media is not a fun, side job anymore. It’s a necessity.

If you want to see real live examples of social media done well by some major brands, here is some inspiration from some major brands:

For social media advertising: Air BnB, The American Red Cross

For Facebook Strategy: Coca Cola, Walmart

Google+ Strategy: Charmin, Oreo

Instagram Strategy: Hershel Supply Co., General Electric

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