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» Small Businesses Save Time And Sanity With Social Media Marketing: Part I

This week’s blog session is designed to show small business owners with a small budget and staff exactly how social media marketing can save your business time, money and sanity!

Did you know a large percentage of small businesses are still missing out on the advantages of social media marketing. Citibank conducted a survey back in 2011 which suggested that up to 81% of small businesses had no online presence (Lentz, O’Leary & Sheehan, 2011).

One of the biggest issues facing small businesses boils down to small businesses not having the budget available to hire new employees which could compensate for much needed work hours.  You know that your small business could greatly benefit from an online presence and social media marketing but you don’t have nearly the amount of man power corporations are using to secure their own online brands and social media presence.  Listen, I hear you!  The stress of small business owners taking it all on can greatly affect the quality of work, the quality of the work environment, the quality of customer service and the quality of reaching your business goals (Marks, 2016). Don’t worry, the following social media marketing tips, questions, and steps will get you up and running.

Step 1 – Invest in Knowing Your Objectives

What is that you want to accomplish? 
For example, are you interested in increasing your sales and profit by a certain percentage?  Are you interested in getting the word out about your business?  Are you interested in building stronger customer relationships by offering incredible customer services?  Or are you interested in improving the quality of engagement with your customers? Whatever your goals are make sure they are SMART!  That is make sure your social media and small business objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Timed (Lentz, O’Leary & Sheehan, 2011).  Having a clear objective is the key to getting started with social media marketing and staying on track!  Staying on track means no more wasting man hours doing things outside of your objectives.

Step 2 – Invest in Knowing your Target Market

Who is your target audience?
Are they Generation Y, Generation X, or Baby Boomers?  Are they tech savvy or fashion oriented?  How does your target market relate to your small business services and or products?  Where is your target market online:  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.?  What conversations is your target market having online?  How can you improve your product or services based on the data you collect about your target market?  Gathering an understanding of your target audience will be key to developing your social media strategy and key to saving you a lot of time from going in circles (Evans, 2012).  Here are some tips for identifying your target market:

Step 3 – Invest in Listening to What Social Media is Saying About Your Business

What does this mean? 
It means tapping into online conversations about your business.  For example, if you’re a small restaurant or independent shop you would look into what customers are saying about you on community review sites like Yelp.

But won’t that take a lot of time to research?
Actually, no!  With the use of affordable and user friendly platforms like Hootsuite your team can be up and running within the hour.  Hootsuite is a social media management platform.  In addition to managing all of your social media channels from one platform it also searches a large number of social media channels and the internet based on your business name.  Not only is it a great time saver, but it’s also a great way to find out what customers may be saying about your company (Cisnero, 2014).

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