Paul Wackell – Imagine Web Designs
Principal Website Designer – Inbound Marketing Consultant
According to that great Rolling Stones tune, Time is on my side – yes it is, Time is on my side, yes it is – however, if you are a small business owner, no it’s not, particularly when it comes to marketing your business, especially with all this new social media junk. What’s a business owner to do?
Social media marketing or inbound marketing is all the rage these days mainly because it works. One of the best features of many of these media vehicles is that they are free. But in this case free doesn’t mean there isn’t some cost associated with them. Usually there is no direct cost, you don’t have to pay to set up a Facebook page, or Twitter account, or Blog, its not like buying an advertising package on a local radio station. But there is an ancillary cost – your time.
To be effective with social media marketing, or inbound marketing, the time commitment can be significant. First of all which of the hundreds of outlets do you use? Then where do you find the time to learn them? How do I keep up with them? The questions boggle the mind. So here are a few tips to keep things online.
Before diving head first into the social media pool, put some thought into it. Develop a social media marketing plan. What – you don’t have a marketing plan already? Shame on you! Get one! But if you don’t want to go through all that effort, you must at least develop a social media plan!
You social media plan should define your message, outline your mission, clarify what products or services you are promoting, and what your goals are for social media. It should also outine what vehicles you are going to use, and who is going to be in charge of creating, maintaining, managing, and tracking your various social media efforts. Obviously the plan should be more detailed than that, but this should give you a starting point.
One thing you should consider before moving forward with your social media plan – is your house in order? Is your website current? Is the content current? Does it effectively market your products or services? Is is optimized for search engines? Before you spend all your time and effort on social media, make sure you have a great site for all this new traffic to go to. It would be a shame to put in all this time only to discover that your business doesn’t grow because potential clients are turned off by your dated and unprofessional site.
Once your house is in order, and your social media plan developed, where do you begin? Again, is time on your side? Lets find out. Start by blogging. Blogging has for many small businesses become one of the most effective social media marketing tools. But as you may have guessed, blogging takes time. It takes commitment. Blogs are most effective when contributed to regularly.
If you find that you can update your blog regularly with good content then move on to the next item on your social media marketing plan. If not, don’t fret and don’t abandon social media, you may instead want to consider outsourcing your social media to your marketing and web professionals to get time back on your side.