Social Media MarketingWe are living in an age where social media marketing is necessary to build our businesses. Competitors are already out there and your clients are already internet savvy and enjoy making purchases with their mobile devices and tablets. The worst thing you can do as a small business owner is pretend the internet isn’tt there and refute to Get in the Game of social media.

Getting more involved on the web and communicating with your current and perspective clients via social media allows you to capitalize on many business opportunities including protecting your reputation and growing your business.

Here are 8 ways you can get started in social media marketing. Follow these steps. Your business deserves the social attention.

1. Write Down Your Business Goals

What do you want to get out of social media participation? Are you looking to grow your business? Communicate with customers? Pay attention to your online reputation and that of your competitors?  You should be answering “yes” to all of these questions.

2. Choose an Employee or Hire an Outside Firm

Who manages your social media platforms and online reputation is crucial to your brand. When choosing an in-house employee, make sure you aren’t overloading them with social media responsibilities.  One who has the time to focus on what they’re doing will be more efficient.  Also make sure the person selected to handle your online needs shares a positive voice and understands the importance of professionalism and positive communication. If you choose an in-house employee,  make sure it’s one you trust. A social person who is combative or negative online may not be the right person for your brand. If you choose to hire an outside firm, make sure they have a good reputation, have a list of successful clients and are a good fit for your brand and your bottom line.

3. Get to Know Your Target Audience

It’s very important to know when your followers are online, what platforms they use and what types of communication they desire.

4. Create Content that Counts

It’s not about being the most popular with the funniest posts, it’s about creating content that is relevant to your brand and your customers.  Be sure to create long lasting online relationships and provide information your customers want to learn.  If you do this, they’ll keep coming back for more.

5.  Make Sure your Marketing Efforts Coincide with your Social Media Efforts

Consistency is key.  Make sure all of your marketing campaigns are consistent with your public relations and social media habits.  Content across the board should make sense and your identity should be clear as day. Cross-promote all efforts both online and offline so your customers believe in what you’re saying and selling.

6. Create an Editorial Schedule

Based on where your audience is and what times of the day they are social, schedule posts and communications that match your bottom line and their needs.  Be sure to answer customer questions as soon as they arise & manage all platforms daily. Also be sure to follow whatever social schedule you choose to create on a daily basis.

7.  Practice the 80-20 Rule

The rule is this; spend 80% of your time on social media posts & interaction that are not self-promotional and no more than 20% of your time on self-promotional goals.

8. Be Consistent
I can’t say this enough.  A consistent voice is more believable.  All social media profile pictures should be consistent with pictures used in flyers and marketing criteria.  All company logos and colors should also be consistent across the board digitally.  Most importantly, your social media presence should be consistent.  This will help gain trust in your followers and clients and in order for your business to grow, your clients and perspective clients must trust you and your business.