Before starting anything, do you have a business plan and do you know who your target market is? These two preparation steps will heavily influence how successful your business is (along with your own determination, creativity and hard work, of course!)
Below are a few tips and resources. It is not an all inclusive list of everything I do or recommend. I will add to it over time and update as needed. If you would like personalised advice or a strategy you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs and options.
In terms of who your target market is, ask yourself the following:
Who is your target audience?
This should describe the group of people you are looking to target. I.E. Men, 30-45 years old, sporty and connected on social media.
Who is a specific person you think is your ideal audience?
Include their age, gender, location, occupation, income, relationship status, living arrangements (eg rent or own), how he travels (as in what type of car or public transport) interests, hobbies etc
For example: 31 year old single man named George living in a rented one bedroom apartment in Parramatta. He commutes to work on the bus listening to podcasts and surfing his social media before work. He works in an office cubicle as a financial analyst with several other employees. He is unhappy in his current work. On the weekend he plays local Rugby League and goes to the pub to listen to live cover bands. George doesn’t like to travel much.
If your business serves multiple markets you should do an audience breakdown for each market.
What ‘voice’ do you want your business to have?
e.g. Happy and friendly, professional, laid back, casual, mature, youthful etc…
How should you market your business?
Marketing depends on your target audience, your business goals, how much time you have and your budget. Social media has consistently had the highest return on investment when done well and is my preferred method, followed networking, then free media coverage such as interviews in magazines, TV appearances, radio and other websites or podcasts.
To market effectively, you need to create a strategy outlining where you want to be promoting your business, what content you want to share and when. You need goals, a clear objective and a way to measure the success of those goals.
Most businesses should at least have a Facebook page as the majority of the world’s population are on it. Facebook groups usually get higher interaction.
If you are targeting Millennials SnapChat and Instagram is where you should be. If you want GenX Instagram, Facebook and for some Twitter are the best platforms. For Baby Boomers, Facebook is ideal.
Other social media platforms which are great for business include LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, blogging on your own site and Google+.
Start with your personal profile. So aside from your Facebook page, is your actual personal profile optimised? It’s important to have high privacy settings, however you can set it so if someone hovers on your profile pic from a comment you made in a group or if they click on your profile, they can see a link to your business or click through to your business page.
On your personal profile you can create a short intro which is essentially 2 lines to describe you (ideal for describing your business), you can choose 5 photos to show that compliment the intro.
Basically, if you are active in Facebook groups, you should make it easy for people to see from your profile who you are and what you do, without giving away all your personal details.
On your Facebook page, are you engaging, entertaining and posting content relevant to your target audience?
Have you gone through every setting and completed all the sections on your page? Make sure it is set up properly, with clear images, a call to action and all your details such as your website and newsletter list filled in. Check out this article for 30 ways to transform your Facebook business page.
Lastly, get active in Facebook groups. Answer questions, share each others content, be helpful and stick to the theme days for each group. My favourtie Facebook groups are:
Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine
Epic Women In Business
Blogging for business
I started blogging back in 2009. I now own multiple sites, some I created, others I bought. I offer one on one sessions to help you monetise social media, maximise ROI, streamline the process and improve traffic to your site which you can book by emailing email@example.com.
A few of the articles and resources I have found useful for blogging are:
Day One Advice: 78 successful bloggers reveal what advice they wish they knew which has some great friends of mine in it who have sold their sites for over a million dollars.
Problogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging is a great book to help you get started.
Hosting: I use three different hosts for my various sites. I started with Blue Host which has one click install for WordPress and is easy to use. For .com.au I use CrazyDomains to get the .com.au domain. Now, most of my sites and domains are with SiteGround.
If you are already blogging I found 31 Days To Build A Better Blog by Problogger extremely valuable with easy to implement advice, lots of resources, links and a forum/community too.
Monetising: I did a seminar on social media monetisation in June 2015. I had my lawyer, accountant, insurance broker, top social media consultant and myself speak. You can find a bunch of resources for it here or purchase the virtual pass to watch the recording of the seminar here.
Social media tools for small business
As a small business, if you aren’t in a position to outsource, you probably need to do everything from creating the content through to scheduling it. Here are my favourite tools to do so:
To create images
I use Canva and PicMonkey. You can get free photos from Unsplash. Canva for work is brilliant because you can put in your brand fonts and colours, do magic resize (you create 1 image then it is resized for each platform in one click!) and create a lot of content easily.
Facebook is best scheduled natively, as in go to your page and schedule content directly there.
Instagram terms and conditions mean you can use apps to schedule but those apps cannot post to Instagram for you, even though some offer this option. If you use apps that breach the terms and conditions Instagram may shut down your account.
Other social media can be scheduled with HootSuite, CoSchedule, MeetEdgar or IFTTT.
You can share content from others as long as you check first (in the case of images generally or if you are linking to things in an article you are writing) and credit appropriately when resharing on social media. You can curate content by:
– Share popular posts. I either share posts as they come up or I save all the posts I am interested in on Facebook during the week then on Sunday I set aside an hour to schedule them on my Facebook page.
– Use search functions on social media platforms for topics relevant to your business then share that content. For example use twitter search to find tweets relevant to your business then quote and retweet them with relevant hashtags.
– Set up Google alerts for topics relevant to your business and audience then schedule that content.
– Use other sites such as reddit.com, digg.com, stumbleupon.com, buzzsumo.com and medium.com are great for user-generated content and to see what is popular. Use sites such as www.popurls.com and www.alltop.com to see what content is popular in your niche then share it
I’ll be adding content on each social media platform, articles, tips and resources. If you have anything specific you would like address, feel free to comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org