A debate has been brewing on Street Fight over whether small business owners should be spending money on social media, and its general overall importance as a marketing strategy. eCape’s Julie Brooks argued a couple of weeks ago that local merchants were no longer willing to pay for “social media marketing” services, because many had found their return on investment was missing. Main Street Hub’s David Kreitzer disagreed, writing that “local businesses have everything to gain” by taking advantage of the spread of word-of-mouth marketing to online.
Considering that social media isn’t going away, we figured it might be worth it to check in with a few social media marketing companies to get their latest and best tips and insights for SMB success in social media.
1) Have engaging content and use it to directly connect.
“The two most important things a small business should focus on for social media are providing consistent, engaging content and being responsive. Your customers should look to you as an industry expert and feel like you are taking their questions and concerns into consideration. This means you should be putting out content that serves your customers’ needs (rather than sells your business), and responding in a timely manner to questions and comments.” — Alison Kawa, Social Sonar
2) Think of social media not as a variety of platforms, but one whole marketing tool.
“SMBs can maximize the value of social media marketing by taking a holistic approach to social media. Customers are using social channels in a very integrated way, and local merchants need to do the same as opposed to manage Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, and Instagram as completely separate channels. For instance, great Instagram photos from customers can be shared to the merchant’s corresponding Facebook pages.” — Joergen Aaboe, MomentFeed
3) Just having a Twitter account or Facebook page isn’t enough, you have to constantly utilize it
“Some businesses suffer from the old Field of Dreams syndrome: ‘If you build it, they will come.’ Even if that were true, I have to ask ‘And then what?’ Savvier small businesses know their social media strategy needs to be well-thought-out and consistently executed.” — Tammy Kahn Fennell, MarketMeSuite
4) Make sure your Facebook page is updated and has the information customers are looking for
“SMBs and larger brands alike need to make sure their local Facebook pages are optimized for Facebook’s new Graph Search because this is how customers are going to find local merchants. Local pages need to be properly registered, unauthorized duplicates need to be merged with the registered pages, and contact details plus branding must be accurate in order for customers to find a merchant on Facebook.” — Joergen Aaboe, MomentFeed
5) Not all the posts have to be promotions.
“We still go by the 80/20 rule. Less than 20% of posts should be promotional. Otherwise, social media marketing should provide value-added content, information or even entertainment, when appropriate, to followers.” — Tammy Kahn Fennell, MarketMeSuite
Isa Jones is an editorial assistant at Street Fight.