What is social media and how is it useful? Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, are software applications and platforms that allow you to easily share information. This social networking allows you to build relationships based upon the sharing of information. Some of these social applications allow you to do things beyond publishing information, such as link to friends and send direct messages. Below is a list of effective social media marketing tips and strategies for small business owners. 1. Start with a plan Just like a business needs a business plan, your social media campaign needs a plan. What are your goals and objectives? Who are your customers? What social media platforms do your customers use? To use social media effectively, you need to go where your customers are. Baby boomers do not use the same social media tools the same way that Millennials do. As part of your social media marketing plan, you need to identify who your best customers are, how they use the Internet, and what social platforms they prefer to use. Once you identify this information, develop goals and objectives. Are you trying to drive traffic to your website or are you trying to develop brand awareness? Depending on these goals and objectives, you would use social media campaigns differently. You can drive traffic with posting relevant content that links to your website and spend advertising dollars to place your posts in front of more people. If you want to develop brand awareness, you might post special events and develop effective communication with clients. 2. More Is Not Better Choose one or two social media platforms to start with. Learn how those systems work. Choose a networking platform like Facebook or Google Plus. Choose an image sharing based platform, such as Pinterest or Instagram. Choose a video sharing platform like YouTube or Vimeo. It is easy to spread yourself too thin by trying to be involved in too many social media accounts. Concentrate your efforts. 3. Develop Your Accounts After you have selected the social media platforms you want to use, create and develop those accounts. Post relevant content to your industry. Develop your social and business network. Fill in your account profiles with accurate and relevant information. 4. Check For Grammar and Spelling Make sure that any content you post is free from grammar and spelling errors. Poor communication skills weaken your brand image. 5. Create a Social Media Calendar Determine the day of the week and time of day you want to post your content. This should coincide with the optimum time that your potential customers are online. It may be early in the morning. It may be late at night. It might be a weekday or a weekend. Use reports and other indicators to determine when your potential clients are online. 6. Promote and Sell Your Products There are a number of ways to promote products and increase sales through social media. It is not a one size fits all process. Once you connect with people through your social media accounts, you will need to find what works and what doesn’t. View your reports. Take regular surveys of your best clients. 7. Review Your Reports There are a number of ways to determine how effective your social media is. View traffic reports, customer surveys, comments, etc. to get critical feedback. Adjust your strategies based on the information found in these reports. 8. Do Not Make Too Many Changes At Once If you want to know what is working and what is not, you need to make sure you only make a small number of changes at any time. Track your changes and track your results. Make sure that you can identify the results that are linked to specific changes. 9. Incorporate Images, Videos, and Graphics Use visual elements as much as you can. Visual content increase engagement. Just make sure that whatever visual content you’re using is relevant to your content, your business, and the audience. 10. Use the Right Tools Save time and effort by using the tools that make social media easier. In 2017, the average daily time spent on social media by users was 135 minutes. Running a small business demands your time and attention in many other areas. You can’t afford to get sucked into social meida longer than you have to. Streamline your social media marketing by using tools like Hootsuite and IFTTT. Social media marketing is a valuable tool that we use to help get and keep business. Partner with 1040TaxBiz to learn other marketing tips and tricks to start and grow your own business.