Using social media to market your book, brand or business is a relatively low-risk way to dip your toe in marketing waters. Most social networks are free to use, although the time required to use them well will cost you human capital.
I’m an entrepreneur, just like many of you, and I’m my eighth year of owning my own business. Statistically, if I can make it through this year, I’ll have beaten the brutal odds of business that fail in the first five years. In these first seven years, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that fear of trying something new leads to failure.
Most new businesses fail in the first seven years.
I usually write about more complex tools and strategies, but in speaking to new entrepreneurs or small business owners this past year, the questions I most often get are:
- How can I add social media to my marketing without adding additional employees?
- How can I do everything you suggest and still have time to work on my products?
Lack of time and money are the #1 and #2 saboteurs of start-ups. So to everyone who has not yet jumped into the social fray to promote their business or service, here’s my simple beginner’s guide to using social media for business.
I believe most businesses can benefit from a simple, straightforward social media strategy that includes:
- A Facebook profile for the “face” of the business; the owner or spokesperson
- A Facebook fan page for the business itself
- A Twitter Account
- A YouTube Account
- A Blog
With these five social media basics, even the most cash strapped and time deprived entrepreneur can begin to create digital footprints that lead back to their business. Adding additional social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest may be advisable for some businesses, but these five will give you a good basic foundation from which to build a large online following.
Setting up the accounts is easy and entrepreneurs should not become distracted by the bells and whistles and they wish list that comes with fully tricked out Facebook pages or beautifully designed Twitter accounts. When you’re swamped, stick to the basics and don’t let “ideal” stop you from starting with “good enough.”
Here’s a simple beginners guide to a social media marketing strategy map anyone can use.
- Blog 2-3 times per week and keep posts to 500-600 words. Make them keyword rich (words you would enter into Google Search to find YOU). Make sure each post gives one interesting or useful piece of information to the reader about your area of expertise.
- The same day you blog, post a link to that blog on your Facebook Fan Page, adding an invitation to join you on the blog for more posts on your subject matter.
- Allow this post to auto-post to your Twitter account by linking your Twitter account to your Facebook fan page through this Facebook app link: http://Facebook.com/Twitter.
- The next day press the share button under your Fan Page post and share it to your personal profile. Your friends are your closest supporters. Ask them to share your post with their friends, leave you comments and let you know if you can help them with your area of expertise.
- Two days later, turn your blog post into a simple, how-to video by reading it into your web cam. Put the “script” up on your screen so you can look directly at the camera. Speak as though you’re explaining the concepts in your blog to just one person. Post the video to YouTube and tag the video with your keywords.
This is an over simplified map, designed to get you thinking about sharing content throughout social media. There are many, many subtle and more complicated nuances and strategies to increase your visibility, but this is a start. If you’re a new business owner or entrepreneur who has not yet begun to use social media in your business marketing, begin here and add new strategies as you get comfortable.
There is so much you can do in social media marketing, that sometimes the overwhelming feeling of “I can’t do everything” stops us from doing “something.” Focus on the basics first. Where do the majority of your ideal customers spend time on line? For most of you it will be Facebook. Makes sense, right? It’s the largest social network with the most active monthly users. So start there with a personal profile. Talk about your business, your products, your services and special deals. Next venture into the world of Facebook business pages to create a stand alone page dedicated to your business. Master those two properties before moving forward with the rest of the recommended steps in this article. Don’t let fear of the task ahead stop you from bringing your business to a larger audience through social media.