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There are so many small businesses here in our beautiful city, and we know that many small business owners feel overwhelmed when beginning their social media marketing journey. That’s why on a recent evening after work, we invited local business owners to a free workshop all about social media. Our owner, Braden Keith, led the group in a 2-hour crash course on how to best dive in to marketing via social media.

For those who weren’t able to join us, here are six takeaways from Braden’s workshop that can help you — right here, right now — begin your own social media marketing journey!

1. Know your goals

The goals of what you want to accomplish for your business should drive what type of marketing you focus on — and what you do and don’t want to spend your money on! For instance, if you want to attract new customers, you might want to invest in Google Ads to capture a new audience who has never heard of you, but is searching for your product or service.

Here’s a visual guide to help you think about your goals:

Animation showing the sales funnel

2. Talk WITH —  not AT — your audience

We are big fans of the Storybrand marketing model! If you haven’t heard of it, you can check out the book and podcast here.

The Storybrand model encourages us to not make ourselves and our business the hero of our marketing message. Instead, it teaches us that we’ll be more effective in our messaging if we make the customer the hero, and we come alongside them as a guide in their journey. For example, when writing a social media post, never make bold claims about “being the best.” Rather, explain how your services can help your client lead their best life!

3. Utilize Facebook to create a cultural and emotional attachment

If you’re a small business owner, you definitely need a professional Facebook business page. (Please note that this is different from a personal profile on Facebook!) Some ways to foster and grow the group of people who follow and interact with your brand are:

  • Including a group photo of your employees as the cover photo
  • Follow the 3:1 ratio: 3 posts that your customers want to engage with (more fun post) to only 1 post that is a hard sell to buy something (call to action)
  • Make it visually appealing! Be sure to have high quality images and link to your website when appropriate.

4. Use other social media platforms only if they make sense for your business

It’s a misconception that your business has to be on every platform. Instead, you should focus on only the platforms that will best speak to your particular audience.

Here are some helpful guidelines:

Instagram is best for visual businesses that can use high quality photos and videos to engage their audience. Keep feed posts professional and color coordinated and use Instagram stories and live videos for more temporary/less polished engagement.

Snapchat is great to engage younger followers. We suggest utilizing the geolocalized frames they offer!

LinkedIn works for business to business engagement. Posts on this platform are generally more professional and business-oriented. You can use LinkedIn to share case studies, using trending topics and media to help stand out on the platform.

Twitter can be tricky, so we believe that if a small business wants to use the platform, it is best used for personal engagement for owners. Something to keep in mind is that this is a medium people frequently use to complain about their bad experiences. So be prepared to field customer satisfaction posts on Twitter!

YouTube requires a higher level of expertise and involvement, because you will need to produce videos. One easy way that small business owners can utilize YouTube is by creating how-to videos that showcase how to use your products. This can be powerful if you do it right, without a long intro or sounding too “sales-y.”

5. Use a newsletter to re-engage your existing customers

If a customer has shared their email address with you, that is valuable information you can use! The best way to do this a regular newsletter from your business where you can share specials, new products, events or event blog posts.

Remember: Make the content helpful and customer centric, so they’re less likely to unsubscribe! To keep everything legal under spam laws, utilize a service like MailChimp — which has a free tier if you’re just getting started — to send your newsletter.

6. Double down on what’s working before you try other strategies

If you are going to spend money — boosting Facebook posts, on Google Ads, etc. — then know what is working for your business. Make sure you’re using Google Analytics to measure what is leading people to your website/getting you verified calls, and keep your money in places where it is working! And don’t forget to pivot: as you learn what is and what isn’t working each month, don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy.

We hope that this simple recap of our workshop helps you kick-start a good social media plan for your business. But if you feel overwhelmed or lost, we’d love to help you out. Just contact us here to get started.

Rachel Reiff

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Rachel Reiff is Social Media Coordinator at Romega Digital.

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