We all want more time, right? Until we find the solution to adding hours in a day, we need to focus on ways we can be more efficient with our business operations. While email marketing and social media may seem daunting and a “time suck,” I assure you that with the right plan and integration, your business can benefit from using these tools. Your business will see more reach and you will spend less time on marketing and client engagement.
In fact, 72% of companies said email marketing has led to higher online client engagement versus 48% for social networks alone. (Econsultancy, Customer Engagement Report 2011) and 75% of daily social media users said that email is the best way for companies to communicate with them (Social Media marketing Benchmark Report, Marketing Sherpa, 2010).
Many small businesses use email marketing and social media in some form, but the effectiveness occurs when the two marketing techniques are integrated. By providing content that appeals to your customers (both existing and potential), you will increase engagement and have more customers taking the next step in the sales process. You are likely creating content, whether its articles, stories, videos, contests, or promotions for your clients in some channel. You would expand your reach even more by putting that content in both email newsletters and on social media.
By posting interesting content and links through your social media channels, you allow people to spread the word about your business. Customers, fans and friends can pass on this information to their networks.
If you are not very familiar with social media, and how you can use your business’s content to expand your reach, take a look at these easy tips and see what fits into your business plans and marketing strategy without taking too much time. And the good news is, as you learn more and become more comfortable, you can add more over time.
How to Use Your Content to Improve Your Social Reach
- Create a Facebook Fan Page: If you have a personal Facebook account – great! However, for your business, you can also create a fan page. This ‘fan’ page will showcase your product/service and engage with your customers directly. It’s here that you want to upload your logo, a brief statement about your mission, and anything else that your prospective clients might find useful.
- Create a Twitter Account: Head to Twitter and set up an account for your business. This will allow you to send out short messages of 140 characters or less to your followers. Tweets link to blog entries, press, a promotion, something cool or innovative that is happening at this very moment.
- Set up a YouTube Channel: Video is a great way to connect with customers – it significantly enhances your search ranking when potential customers try to find you on Google or Yahoo. Video creates a more personal connection with your customers and can demonstrate success stories or how your product works. You can create your own ‘channel’ for your business by simply going to YouTube to set it up.
- Start a blog: This is how you can solidify your credibility in the marketplace as an expert in your industry. No one has your voice or your authenticity – so you own that! Write about product attributes or experiences that show your expertise. Try to commit to 1 blogpost per week. Setting up a blog is easy- you can do it for free at Blogger or WordPress or check with your web hosting service.
- Start a monthly newsletter: Starting a monthly newsletter with tips and inspiration or how-to stories can be a great way to connect with potential customers and keep existing customers engaged. Getting started is easy. There are several services out there that could be of value to you, including Constant Contact and Deluxe.
- Answer Community questions: Search the internet and keep a list of blogs and communities relevant to your industry. Then, answer questions to help consumers make a better decision or share an experience so someone can learn from you. If you find something really interesting for your users, you can post it in a blog, tweet it or post it on Facebook.
- Commit 1 Hour a Day: If you can commit an hour a day to your social media strategy, you’ll be able to get through these steps successfully. If you can do more, even better. Remember that this strategy takes time to develop. Be prepared to spend several months to get going.
Photo Credit: atlargeinc.com
If you are already familiar with these tools, but aren’t sure how to better integrate them, take a look at SCORE’s Make Me Social webinar with Heidi Tobias, Constant Contact and Jeanne Rossomme, SCORE Washington DC volunteer. You will walk away with lots of practical Make Me Social tips and ideas for getting more out of your current email marketing and social media efforts.
Bridget Weston Pollack is the director of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association. In this role, Bridget is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies for the organization to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services. Prior experience includes Marketing Manager at Mid-Atlantic Control Systems, a small business in the commercial low voltage industry and Marketing Coordinator at Temple University Health Systems.