Quick-Start Social Media Plan for Small Businesses

Social Media - Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.If you run a small business, you are already more than busy. If you are not using Social Media for your business, you have likely considered it. Feeling there is not enough time nor extra money for expensive projects are generally two reasons Social Media gets shoved to the back burner for many small businesses.

Don’t wait! The benefits of a planned and well executed Social Media strategy are many. The good news is, you can get started with relatively small budgets of time and money.

How? First, don’t be afraid.

You have been using Social Media (Email) for years. Social Media is all about engagement, and that is what you have been doing when corresponding with clients, prospects and co-workers. How you do it with the different Social Media platforms and services varies, but it is basically communication between you and your customers. Really successful Social Media campaigns consist of two-way communication, not just pushing out information.

Second, don’t try to do too much.

We recommend you start with a monthly Newsletter and one other Social Media platform/service. Using one Social Media platform or service regularly and doing it well is far better than using two infrequently and poorly.

Here is a start up plan that will work for many of you.

The Social Media service(s) you choose may vary depending on your customers and prospects, but if you follow this relatively closely, you will be off to a good start.  Before you start, read our blog post Five Keys to Using Social Media Successfully for Your Small Business.

Start with an email Newsletter using Constant Contact or similar service.

Many of you already send out monthly or quarterly newsletters or sales flyers. If you do, use Constant Contact or a similar service that has easy-to-use contact management tools and great reporting.

Twitter (unequivocally, the lowest barrier in cost/time effectiveness)

  • Start slowly.
  • Lurk at first – start following Twitter users in your line of business, your customers, your vendors
  • Read posts/tweets a couple of times a day, and reply or comment promptly
  • Tweet regularly and as often as possible.
    • There are tools to help with this. Our favorite is Hootsuite, which lets you post to multiple Social Media accounts, and schedule Tweets and posts. Try it. You will find it invaluable.

Then…

Blog – If you have a blog (and you should), post at least once a month, and more frequently if you can. Strive to post weekly.

If you are able to manage those effectively, then explore and think about:

  • LinkedIn (for some of you, but not all)
  • Facebook* (for some of you, but not all)
  • Google+ (for some of you, but not all)
  • YouTube Videos (for some of you, but not most)
  • Pinterest (for some of you, but not most)

That’s the Quick-Start Social Media Plan for Small Businesses. Do yourself a favor. Start today!

* Some, businesses can get by just using Facebook for their only Social Media presence if they have a decent following by actual paying customers, and time to communicate at least twice (more is better) a day. That said, you would be limiting the growth of your business.

First Impressions are important! How does your website look?

First impressions matter. In today’s world, the first impression of your business is made by your website. Does your website present your business as professionally as you do when you are meeting someone for the first time? Before meeting or greeting prospective customers, most of us generally take a look in a mirror to make sure we don’t embarrass ourselves. We check our smile, our hair, and our clothes. We polish our shoes or in my case, boots. Sometimes we practice our greeting. Why? First impressions matter.

When was the last time you seriously looked at your website? How does it look? How does it read? How does it navigate?

First impressions matter.

Branding With Every Email – Get Your Email Delivered – Professional Presentation

Domain emailI wrote here about using domain mail over five years ago. With the number of people not taking advantage of one of the simplest means of branding available, I believe the subject deserves another go round. I am talking about those who are not using their domain email accounts when sending or replying to business email. Domain email is simply an email account using a name of your choice, e.g., you@yourcompany.com or info@yourcompany.com.

Here are just three of many reasons it is important to use domain mail.

  • Branding
  • Deliverability
  • Professional Presentation

Branding 

In businesses and on websites of all kinds, too often you will see contact email such as billybob@yahoo.com, 2cool@hotmail.com (now outlook.com), you@yourISP.com, sally312@gmail.com or something similar. Those same addresses get used routinely in emails to clients, prospects, and co-workers. Instead of those personal addresses, your prospects, clients, vendors, and others should be seeing email from you@yourdomain.com, bill@yourdomain.com, sally@yourdomain.com, sales@yourdomain.com, support@yourdomain.com, or anyone@yourdomain.com.  EVERY email sent from and replied to your business should be reminding your prospects, clients and vendors of your brand. Using domain mail is the least expensive branding tool you can implement, and you are branding with every email you send.

Deliverability

If your email doesn’t get delivered and opened, you are wasting your time writing and sending it. Spam has become ubiquitous, and your prospects and clients may hesitate to open an email from a toocutesy@yahoo.com, allnumbers@hotmail.com, silly@gmail.com or inappropriate@someother.com address. Deliverability can be critical when you are sending a proposal or answering a specific request. Domain mail addresses are not as prone to be caught in spam filters as the “other” @ addresses I have been mentioning. Your recipients will, at a glance, know the email is coming from your business if you use your domain mail account.  Get every email you send delivered and opened.

Professional Presentation 

In other manners of communication, i.e., phone, letters, faxes, and face-to-face, nearly everyone does their best to present themselves and their business professionally. You would be surprised at the number of people who spend thousands of dollars on traditional marketing materials, their web sites and nicely done email campaigns, yet diminish their value by including an inappropriate email address. Using your domain email will present you professionally as many times as you send an email. Why wouldn’t you want to do that with every email you send?

Okay, let’s address the two most common excuses for not using domain mail. The first is, “I don’t want to check two or more email accounts.” With today’s email programs that easily check more than one account at a time (I check over a dozen at a time), that is not a very good reason to miss out on branding with every email. If you honestly feel you can only check one email account, then your email provider can forward as many accounts as you like to just one account. Of course, that account should be a domain mail account.   The second reason is, “I like Gmail, and I use mydomain@gmail.com.” I will grant that doing this is better than using personal non-domain email accounts. It still doesn’t give you the branding or level of professional presentation that is afforded by using domain mail. If you feel you can’t live without Gmail, then use Google Apps for Business, which included Gmail that uses your domain mail. Your mail will get sent from and to you@yourdomain.com, but you will still have all the advantages of Gmail’s web-based interface. Google charges $5/user/month or $50/user/year.

Start using your domain mail for every email you send today!

P.S. If you are a client of ours and are not using your domain mail, call or email us and we will be happy to help you get started.