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Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social Media can be a little daunting for any small business that doesn’t know where to start. Before jumping into the deep end, you should sit down and develop a detailed marketing strategy that is tailored to your business’ needs. Below are a few helpful steps to get you started.
1. Choose A Platform: The first step in any social media marketing plan is to choose the platform or platforms you are going to use. There are hundreds of social media sites,  so how do you choose which ones to use? To begin, do a little research. You want to select platforms that target your intended audience as well as allow you the ability to perform any desired functions (such as “like” buttons, check-ins, etc.). Check out this great infographic on Mashable that compares how the top five platforms stack up against each other.
2. Connect:After you have chosen your desired platform(s) you want to start connecting. Begin by creating your pages and then connecting with your friends, family, and business colleagues to expose your business to their network of friends. Also try searching out people and other business that are involved in your market and then like or follow them to expand your network. Remember to be patient- most likely your pages won’t explode overnight. With time, engaging content, and good consumer interaction, your presence will grow.

3. Create & Share Content: Now that you have decided what platforms are best for you business, created your pages, and started networking, you want to develop content to share with your audience. There’s no use in being present on social media platforms if your content is boring! Your target audience is likely to stop reading and interacting with your business if your content is not engaging. Try discussing interesting or funny topics or any promotions your business has going on. Essentially, have fun with it! Here are a few great Dos and Don’ts for Social Media Sharing.

4. Engage: If someone has taken the time to comment, like, retweet, etc. any of your posts, then take the time to do the same. Taking a look at the five most engaging brands on Facebook can help give your some ideas on how to best interact with your audience.

For more detailed information on how to create an effective social media marketing plan, check out: 5 Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses.

How Many People Are Using Social Media?

A social media firm by the name of Hasai put out an interesting infograpic on social media today. Check out the post on Mashable by Ben Parr to see it for yourself. Here are the numbers that I found interesting:

  • 40% of Americans on social media platforms that are frequent users are following products, services, and brands
  • 47% of all Americans are now members of at least one social network
  • 28% of American adults say they give advice about purchases on social networking sites
  • 38 million Americans between the ages of 13 and 80 (that’s somewhere around 16%) are influenced by social media on their purchasing decisions, this is an increase of 14% in the last six months
So, what do these numbers mean for small businesses and their social media? Essentially, they just underscore how important it is to be present on social media, to be actively engaging your customers and clients, and to try to make most of those interactions positive. Its all about keeping the conversation going and to keep the conversation about how great your product, service, or brand is. Now, get out there!