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The "Ultimate" Small Business Guide to Social Media Marketing

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The "Ultimate" Small Business Guide to Social Media Marketing

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 16, 2010 Updated: December 30, 2013

Ther;s no doubt about it, social media is now an essential part of how we engage with others, source information, and stay connected with family, friends and our favorite brands.

But social media marketing, and by this I mean using social media as another vehicle to connect with your customers and raise the profile of your business with them and others like them, is still a relatively new domain for large and small businesses alike. In fact, according to a December 2009 survey by research firm, Ad-ology, 46% of small business owners wish they knew more about social media!

So where do you start?

Here are some of our best articles and guides from across the Business.gov Community that can help you understand what social media can do for your business and how to do it!

Getting Started with Social Media Marketing

So many businesses make the mistake of jumping on the social media bandwagon via Twitter or Facebook, without any forethought or planning. Very quickly they realize they are-t seeing any ROI and lose interest.

Success in social media marketing depends on the same sort of planning, understanding of customers, and hard work that more traditional marketing channels require. This article offers some tips on where to start, and how to succeed: Getting Started with Social Media Marketing.

Understand the Tools Available to You (and their Role in your Social Media Strategy)

Whether you are new to social media or are somewhat of an old hand- yo'll know the landscape is vast and constantly evolving. New social media sites and tools come and go, and those we know and trust are constantly introducing enhancements. What does this mean for your business, and how do you find the right social media network for your business goals? To help you understand more about the top three social media marketing tools' Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn' and what they can and ca't do for your business, read: Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Finding the Right Fit for Your Small Business.

Make Your Web Site Social and Searchable!

One major mistake that you want to avoid is thinking that your social media presence' whether i's a Facebook page or a blog' can replace a business Web site. It ca't and mustn't. For one thing, your Facebook page won't help you get found on search engines. Your Web site should remain your online hub for product and service information, lead capture devices, blogs, and your best bet for helping your business get found in online searches.

Here are a few articles that can help you build and promote a Web site that is social-media friendly through blogs, search engine optimization, and more:

Building Your Brand and Drumming up Business

Social media is a great tool for brand-building because it provides a way for businesses to get out there and get noticed - essentially to be where your customers are and to create a community around your brand. Done right, social media can also help you drum up business. Sites like Groupon use the viral power of social media and the collective power of purchasing to draw in business, but you can also use Facebook and Twitter to showcase your latest promotion, product launch, etc. to give your followers a reason to do business with you. And don't forget to track, measure and adjust your efforts.

Read more in this article: Small Business Marketing: Making Social Media Pay Off for your Brand and Your Bottom Line.

Being Social - Know How to Engage!

To return to my earlier point, just getting on Twitter or Facebook is not enough, because while it's free and easy to build a social media presence, when it comes to growing it and seeing ROI - social media marketing is easier said than done. But just how do you get social? This article spotlights one award-winning business, that has done just that, and it's a whole lot easier than you might think! Read: Putting the Social into Social Media Marketing - 3 Tips for Interacting with your Customers.

Additional Resources

Check out these useful Google / SBA Tools for Online Success quick videos, for insight directly from small business owners on how they've used the Internet, including free listings and social media, to grow their business.

For more marketing tips, take a look at this Small Business Marketing Guide which includes information and resources about conducting market research, writing a marketing plan, developing an online marketing strategy, etc.

Related Articles

*Note: Hyperlink directs reader to non-government Web site.


Image courtesy of Social Media Marketing Plymouth. Ab Fab New Media*.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Thanks for the great information!!! We have just recently started social media marketing and this information is invaluable!! Thanks again for the article.
That's so helpful post! My company also uses Social Media Facebook to sell products and services, broadcast our business brand. Thanks for social networks!
I completely agree with you about the importance of social media for business. Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, G+, YouTube develop sharply and become a necessary trend of future.
This is the most important thing you should look for when it comes to locating the right social media marketing firm for you and your business. It is hard to judge a company by how many years they have been in the business since the social media game is so new.
As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes. Regards, Tanim
I have to disagree with ikozi. While SEO is still king, search engines are taking into account things like social media sharing when it comes to their search engine results. It won't be long before a SEOptimizer can no longer ignore social media and still hope to get good placement in the search engines. Social Media in 7 Minutes released a good article on 7 Ways to Use Social Media for Business that's worth a read.
Nice information. Social media marketing is extremely important and has been an important part of my Penny Stocks business.
Thanks for the post! I've tried social media marketing for my Fluval Filters website and lost my motivation because I didn't have a plan going into it. I think I was intimidated by it (so many people and so many pages, where do I fit in??) but I have a lot of content I can release on these pages, so I'm going to take your tips and work a lot harder at it now!
dont agree with ikozi.. I am myself a SEOptimizer.. If you are interested in social media marketing.. and dont want to waste your time.. then you should seriously try out some sites via which you can purchase media promotion things like twitter followers, facebook fans and website traffic.. Thanks to the OP for the nice post!
personally I find social media marketing a bit wasteful, since you can't really measure the ROI. SEO is a much better investment ROI wise. Just gotta find a good firm, and for that you can just use http://seoagencies.com

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