Are your social media initiatives working as planned? Are you satisfied with the results or are you wanting more from your efforts? For small business operators and entrepreneurs, platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus can play an important role in helping these people make a name for themselves and bring in new business. With a new season upon us, now is the perfect time to tune up your social media efforts.
Exactly what do you want to gain from your social media efforts? Recognition? Notoriety? More web traffic? Additional customers? You cannot possibly reach a goal unless you define it and that means mapping out a strategy that will take you from point A to point B.
Point A represents your initiative and might include targeting your social media updates at a certain demographic. For instance, if you run a Spanish food business, you might target Latin American women aged 25 to 54 that like to cook. Point B would be your goal which might be to sell more cooking utensils or equipment to your target audience. To get from Point A to Point B would be to follow as many people that fit your demographic profile and encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter, follow your website and ultimately to buy your goods.
The smallest of businesses can find social media integration to be a time consuming task. Quite frankly, you do not have much time to follow tweets, make Facebook updates, provide answers on LinkedIn or leave a comment on Google Plus. You can, however, spend five to 10 minutes in the morning and again later in the day to make updates. This process becomes easier for you when you realize that social media unification is in order.
Unification is achieved by tying your social media efforts together. For instance, your Facebook updates can appear in the sidebar of your blog as updated. Your tweets can also appear on Facebook, not just Twitter. You can also change the settings on LinkedIn and Google Plus to notify you of updates. Find ways to connect each important platform so that you are not repeating your efforts and wasting your time.
With a plan in mind, how will you execute your ideas? Your social media strategy must include your blog and your updates must be timely, relevant and interesting. Your best bet here may be to simply outsource your writing needs, using a combination of guest writers and paid freelancers to expand your presence online. Well-written material that is placed on your site will curry the favor of the search engines and establish your authority in your niche.
You might also consider using the services of a virtual assistant to help you with your endeavors. This person can submit your new articles to various social media platforms beyond the ones mentioned including Digg, Reddit, MySpace, Delicious and YouTube. This individual can also track your blog comments and respond herself.
Beyond basic assistance, your social media tune up may need the equivalent of an engine overhaul. This means not just going beyond what you are currently doing, but taking a fresh approach by replacing the engine that drives your current efforts. A company skilled in all things search engine optimization should be consulted with an SEO consultant offering a clear strategy to ramp up your efforts. Many firms work with small businesses, understanding their needs as they are small business operators themselves.
No social media tune up is complete without an evaluation. That evaluation is of your current and past web traffic including where your customers are coming from and what articles and web pages that they are reading. You will want a snap shot of your traffic for the past 30 days and compare it to the same period last year.
This information is available to you through a web analytics tool. Google Analytics, a free tool from the search engine giant, is one of the best ones out there. Pull up the data yourself or give permission to your virtual assistant or SEO consultant to do the same. You can develop reports including User Reports that detail the age, gender and income of your visitors. As you can imagine, this information is extremely valuable as well as highly useful, tools that you can use to tune up your social media efforts.
Chances are you are ready to step up your social media efforts right now. And that is good as complacency is never a good option.
Make a point as you implement your tuned up plans to evaluate as you go. Weekly reports can help you tweak your campaign as you go, with more comprehensive reports issued monthly and quarterly. Get in the habit of narrowing your campaign to reach your demographic, perhaps concentrating on a certain sub-segment without your targeted group. Be relentless too as your competitors are already taking a similar dedicated path to social media success.
Jason Bayless is a professional blogger that gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice. He writes for BestSEOCompanies.com, a nationally recognized comparison website of the best SEO firms in the United States.