Does your business need a Social Media Manager but can’t afford to hire a full-timer? I started K&L Social Media in order to offer small to medium-sized businesses a way to hire a part-time helper who is also an expert in Social Media Marketing! Usually when you hire for a part-time position in this field, you are getting someone who does social media “on the side” of a real job, and doesn’t necessarily have the time or desire to become an expert. Just because someone is on Facebook and they like to tweet, does not mean they are going to know the ins and outs of social media marketing!
If your business is still in the start-up phase and you’re not ready to hire a social media manager, you may find this checklist helpful. Or, if you have a revenue-producing business but I haven’t yet convinced you of the importance of social media, please read on! I created the following checklist for businesses large and small, to give you a platform on which to begin your social marketing. After studying social media marketing for several years, these are the areas I would suggest for any business to target in terms of time, energy, and advertising dollars.
1. Even though this is a blog about social media, the first thing on my checklist is actually a professionally designed and search engine optimized website. Your website is where your business “lives” on the internet. It is your home, you own everything in it. Make your home visually appealing (and easy to navigate), and people will want to visit! Make your home easy to find (by organic search) and you will have plenty of business.
2. Now that you’ve built your “home,” you need to give your business a personality! This is where social media comes in. The quality of web visitors who are referred by social media sites is very high. Bounce rates for social media traffic are consistently lower than organic traffic, but of course, you want and need both. I would highly recommend the following platforms as a solid base for your social media efforts: Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If your business has a commercial street address, you most likely already have a Google+ listing, you just need to claim it!
3. Have you signed up to use MailChimp? Email marketing is not dead. It is, in fact, a very important part of your overall marketing scheme. MailChimp is my favorite email marketing program because it is extremely user friendly and offers many integrations. Once you have created a basic sign-up form for your email list, you can embed this code in your website, add a tab to your Facebook page, and even promote it on Twitter. Start now and slowly build your list organically, just like your social networks.
4. I would rate the following social media networks as optional (for some businesses): Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Pinterest now offers promoted pins, so if you own an ecommerce retail store, I would say Pinterest should be on your required list of networks (because promoted pins will drive sales on your site). But every business is unique and if you need help deciding which networks to get on, I’m happy to meet with you for a consultation. LinkedIn is going to be more important for B2B services, and even then, I would say it’s most important to have a really great personal profile on LinkedIn as opposed to a business profile. But if you want to go the extra mile, get your biz. on LinkedIn.
5. Bonus points if you are on Flickr and Tumblr. Again, every business is unique. If you are a photographer, you might be on all the photo-based blogs. If you are a retailer, you might choose to be on Pinterest and Instagram, but not Flickr or Tumblr. Most businesses should choose 3-4 of the major networks and focus their attention on cultivating a following on the outlets that work best for them. As a small business owner, it is going to be challenging to maintain a presence (without outside help) on more than 3 or 4 networks without being completely OCD and spending unhealthy amounts of time on social media.
6. A video introduction. Video is KING in social media marketing. I use YouTube for posting videos that I’d like to embed on a blog or share on Twitter (because YouTube is owned by Google, and your Google+ page will link to a YouTube account automatically). However, it’s also important to upload directly to Facebook, but that’s a story for another post… Video is not just for social media anymore. I’m seeing more and more websites with video embedded in the background of a homepage, and video introductions are starting to replace the “About” section of many websites. Gone are the days of static sites where people have the time and attention span to read whole paragraphs of information. So why not introduce yourself and your business in a short video and replace that boring text in your “About Me” spiel? I’m currently working on my own video introduction… so stay tuned.
7. BLOGGING is no longer optional. That’s all I’m going to say about this one. Ok, not exactly. But here’s what you need to know: please, do not maintain a blog on a separate platform from your website. If you are going to take the time to create wonderful and well-written blog posts that most likely contain tons of keywords, you want that content on your website. End of story.
8. The point of social media is to be SOCIAL. So figure out how your business is going to give back to the community, and then let people know about it! Connecting with people is what it’s all about…. helping others, and making the world a little bit better. If you’re not doing these things, then you probably don’t even have a business. So get with the program, get connected, and then social media the crap out of your goodwill.
9. Social advertising. There are three major networks where I would suggest spending your ad dollars, and those are Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Spending moolah on social media is an area where it’s really going to make a difference having an experienced social media manager to create marketing campaigns for you, or at least an expert consultation to help you get started. Because there are so many ways to create custom audiences and measure your ROI, it takes more than just boosting a few posts to see results from your marketing dollars.
10. Creating Content. So this is where the fun begins. You can reblog and link to a lot of great content, but the bottom line is, you’ve got to create some of it yourself. This is what we call “The Fun Stuff.” In this age of automation, it is still impossible to automate sincere content. For that we still need human beings. For a more in depth understanding of this topic, here’s an article explaining why Content Marketing Doesn’t Scale.
If you have any questions about the above topics, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I know how overwhelming it can be to set up all of these accounts, and then to start the difficult task of actually maintaining them… That’s when you need to call in an expert to give you a hand.
If you’d like to chat over coffee to find out more about what I do, let’s meet up! You can reach me at 207.939.6210. Ciao for now!
–Leah Twitchell, Your Friend in Social Media