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Social Media done effectively can drive small business growth. 

Over 95% of all consumers go online to search for local businesses before shopping. This is huge and if you’re not effectively using social media you’re at a major disadvantage compared to your competitors. Currently over 65% of shoppers check out a small business’s social media site before shopping with them and that number is only growing. 80% of Small Businesses engaged in social media have attracted new customers using it.

The question though is how do you use social media for your small business effectively with so many different choices? You see unfortunately less than 35% of small business owners have an actual marketing strategy when using social media and most are inconsistent.  

I’m a huge believer in not having to recreate the wheel and would rather go with the business growth strategies that work. 

Since time is precious as a small business owner I interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs to get their best social media tips that you can use today to grow your business.  These tips are awesome and you can begin implementing them today!

So grab a pen, your favorite beverage and lets get going with some amazing Social Media tips you can use to grow your small business starting now! Enjoy the very last tip (#31), amazing results in 6 weeks using YouTube. 

Business Growth

 31 Entrepreneurs Share Mind Blowing Ways For Business Growth Using Social Media

 

Ryan HanleyRyan Hanley | Founder | Content Warfare 

This first tip is more for your small business website, but this should also be applied with any of your Social Media platforms.  

Many consumers searching the web have begun to trust Google so much they don’t actually need to click-through to a website. If your business shows up in the first 3-5 search results these consumers assume you’re credible.

So the tip is put your phone number and/or your address in the meta description of every page of your website. Meta description is not used in any type of search algorithm so a small business is not negatively impacting search. What they are doing is providing their phone number and/or address inside of Google search results.

Consumers needing their product do not need to take the extra step of clicking through to their website which will increase conversions.

This also can be applied to Social Media. Make your phone number for your business easy to find. 

Kate Erickson | Content Creator Manager | Entrepreneur On Fire 
Facebook offers incredible tools for business owners – both big and small – to implement and track marketing campaigns. Something we recently ran on Facebook that was inexpensive and grew Entrepreneur on Fireour Facebook audience fast was a giveaway. Here’s a quick rundown:
 
Goal: To increase our page “Likes”
 
How: We didn’t want just any “Likes”, we wanted “Likes” from people we knew would potentially want our content. So we targeted our ads to show up in the feeds of those who have already “liked” other fan pages in our industry/niche.
 
Giveaway: 1 lifetime membership to Podcasters’ Paradise, our new community built for podcasters looking to create, grow and monetize their own podcast. The price value of our giveaway was $397, but you can do a giveaway with anything from a $5 gift card to a $1,000 TV.
 
Time: We ran the ads for approx 1 week
 
Money spent: (on ads) $295.29
 
Results: 1,306 new fans (avg. $0.22/like)
 
As you can see a giveaway is both easy and effective!
Ryan Kulp | Marketing | ShuttleCloud Ryan Kulp
A really great tip that any small business can implement right way is simply to follow every customer you have on Twitter. Email addresses are a valuable currency in this digital age and no matter what a small business does (bake cakes, build houses, etc) they are likely to have either access to customer / prospect email address or can ask for them at a register, website, etc.
Here’s what you do now.
Simply upload customer’s email addresses into a Gmail / Yahoo account (as a CSV file), then click in Twitter “Discover > Find Friends > Use Address Book” within Twitter’s settings. This will connect all the contacts to Twitter and allow the small business to instantly follow every customer.  Now put them all in a list to monitor and interact with. Great for engagement and takes just minutes every week. 

Cynthia Sanchez | Pinterest & Social Media Strategist | Oh So Pinteresting 

Cynthia Sanchez

For small community type businesses, my top Pinterest tip would be to use their location (city) often in their Pinterest account.

This could help tremendously with Google ranking.

For example Santa Cruz Construction Guild in Santa Cruz, CA has a board on Pinterest called Santa Cruz remodeling and it ranks #1 in Google searches for “Santa Cruz remodeling.” 

Pinterest Small Business Marketing Tip

Think about how you can apply this to your Small Business creating different boards with your specific location mentioned. 

Jennifer Spivak | Managing Director | Social Fulcrum

jennifer-spivakA great social media marketing tactic that is both innovative and relatively easy for small business owners to execute is what we call a Search & Respond technique on Twitter. The idea is to find users near you who are tweeting about a need your business can fulfill (Search), and then let them know where they can find what they’re looking for (Respond), in real-time.

The first step is to make a list of phrases that someone who is a highly-qualified prospect might tweet. The more specific, the better. For example, a local pizzeria would want to include “what to eat for lunch” on their list (in order to find people tweeting that they don’t know what to eat for lunch), since the term “lunch” isn’t as targeted or qualified.

Secondly, you can use advanced Twitter search tools, like http://nearbytweets.com/, to search people currently tweeting the phrases from your list who are located near your business. If done right, these people will be ready to make a purchase and close enough to your physical location to do so.

When you respond to them, just be careful not to come across too “spam-y” or unauthentic. Instead, look for ways to be original and personable, casually letting these users know that, “hey, I’ve got what you’re looking for,” without selling too harshly.

Christine Rochelle | Integrated Marketing Manager | Lotus823 Christine Rochelle

Many small businesses utilize Facebook to engage with customers and often forget that Twitter can be used for direct lead generation.

Are you a local car mechanic who is promoting an oil change special? Use Twitter advanced search to look for the keywords “oil change” and set your geographic area to your local area.

You’ll then see all the users posting with that keyword in your set location and you’ll be able to engage with each user with your business’ promotion!

Jason GinsburgJason Ginsburg | Director of Interactive Branding | Brandemix

If I had to pick one tip, it would be: Commit.

You can’t simply create a bunch of profiles on the major social channels and then expect thousands of followers and praise. There are so many tweets posted per day on Twitter that only tweeting once every other day is virtually meaningless. And if someone posts a question on your Facebook page which just sits there, unanswered, for three days…well, it would be better to not have a Facebook page at all than to display such disregard for your customers.

An easy way to make posts and monitor the conversation are to use scheduling applications, like TweetDeck, HootSuite or SocialOomph.

With these free services, you can sit down Sunday night and schedule posts for the rest of the week. They also allow you to measure popularity and reach, and to see if anyone is replying to you or asking questions, without having to log in separately to each social media account.

It will still take time — there’s really no shortcut to being authentic and engaged with the public — but it will take less time and help you stay organized.

Adam Grunwerg | Director | Searchable Marketing Agency  Adam Grunwerg

Using tools to better target your customers is probably the most important part of a social media campaign.

For example, in order to better target your customers, find out which networks they use. You can then use a free tools such as Tweriod to find out exactly what time of day they’re online and then schedule your posts using TweetDeck to post them at the peak time that your audience is online.

You can use Facebook Page Insights to better understand the interests of your fans (e.g. if they like a certain game, sports or celebrity then why not incorporate that into your social content strategy). You can even use Facebook Graph Search for this type of thing by searching “Pages liked by people who like My Page.”

Overall, by using tools you can learn more about your customers, optimize your pages better to generate more traffic and automate the process at the same time.

AmaniAmani Channel | Media Trainer | Visual Eye Media 

YouTube is one of my favorite networks because it is a great search engine for information.  If you can share quality videos that entertain, inform, or teach, there is the potential to drive people from YouTube to your website.
 
There are a few things you should always think about:
 
What is your niche or topic and how can you differentiate your content from the competition? Look for others in your industry and niche and see what they’re doing right and wrong. 
 
Keep it short. People have short attention spans. Don’t bore them with a video that takes five minutes when it can be produced in two. 
 
Don’t be afraid to ask for likes, shares, and subscribers. If you’re giving away valuable content, people will generally help you if you ask.
 
Title your videos using terms that people are likely to search for.  Always include a link to your website in the description and always enter keywords.
 
Post regularly.  We’re getting 10,000 video views a month not because we have viral knock outs, but we post several new videos a week. Many of our videos get modest views, but they collectively add up to thousands (we’ve produced more than 200 video production tutorials).
 
I think that visual storytelling is essential for any brand or business and the tools are more affordable than ever.  I’m a huge evangelist for mobile and smartphone video production
 
Just remember to hold your device horizontally, not vertically. Put you mobile device in airplane mode so that a call or alert won’t interrupt the recording. Watch your lighting and audio. You should use a tripod especially if you’re self-recording, and don’t get discouraged because you will get better over time.  Oh, and I can’t forget, have fun!!! 

 

Kim Yuhl | Social Media Consultant | Kim Yuhl  Project

This one might seem basic, yet this is often overlooked by many small businesses.

 

It is very important for small business owners to ensure they have links to their websites in all of their social network profiles.

In Facebook it should be in the short description of the about page which becomes a clickable link in the 3 line description under your cover photo. Your Twitter and Google + profiles also provide clickable links to your website if you provide it and lastly link to your website from your Pinterest profile, this is also clickable.

It is important to let people find you easily and giving them a direct link to your website will save them from having to search for it and possibly losing their way.

 fb

Braxton Wood

 

Braton Wood | Principal | Nucendi

My favorite thing to do to drive traffic and new subscribers to my website is to take every blog post I write and “pin” it onto one of the boards on my Pinterest account.

The results are so immediate, it’s amazing. I’ve seen this method increase visits by 400 percent and it keeps regular traffic thereafter.

I’ve not met a single person that markets this way who say they don’t love it.

 

Jerry Rackley | Chief Analyst | Demand Metric Jerry Rackley

Advertise on Facebook.  Assuming that Facebook is a good network for reaching your target customer, a small business owner can start a campaign to grow “Likes” to their business Facebook page. Facebook does a nice job of letting you set filters to limit who will see your ad, so you can restrict it to only the type of person who represents the ideal customer.

Here’s a recent example: a small business I advised had a good Facebook page, but just 88 likes. He started a Facebook ad campaign (simply to grow likes) not promote product – and one week later had over 1,000 “Likes” for his business Facebook page.

These are all people with whom he can communicate anytime he wishes just by making a post. There’s a cost to acquire this audience, but no ongoing cost to communicate with them once they have “Liked” you.

Any business owner that does this needs to understand if you spend the money to grow “Likes”, you need to regularly post relevant content. In other words, it does no good to attract an audience if you don’t have anything to say to them. I recommend trying to post at least 3 times a week, but daily posts are better. 

Matthew Ricketts

Matthew Ricketts  | Chief Experience Officer | Better Life Maids

Our number one social media tip is to leverage the idea of user generated content.

The best way to do that is to deliver an exceptional experience to your clients.

One they are willing to share online with review sites, google places, and Facebook.  Encourage them to go and create great content for you by leaving reviews and then sharing them socially online.

The key is to be remarkable, and not over market. Social proof works.  

Matt Zajechowski | Outreach Manager| Digital Third Coast Matthew Zajechowski

Actively try and build and contribute to your community.

Social media is great for this and can be done by anyone with little barrier to entry. It’s one thing to make content and try and share it on social. Your content shouldn’t always be about you, as people don’t want to share and link to that.

Offer to help solve a problem within your community/niche. Source other credible sources within your content and then tweet or mention them on Google+ or Facebook. Most people love to be quoted and to have their knowledge credited, so they are likely to share/link/discuss your content.

Be active in Google hangouts within your niche. This is a great way to gain more followers and more importantly make important networking connections within your community. After all that is a big part of what social media is all about.

Try and be active and comment and share other people’s content within your community. This way they will be more likely to reciprocate.

The more you give when it comes to social media marketing, they more you will receive. You can’t spell social media marketing without social.

Taylor Aldredge | Ambassador of Buzz | Grasshopper 

Taylor AldredgeThis advice from Taylor is great for those beginning because Grasshopper is an amazing brand that is a role model for social media. Great interaction with the public and unbelievable use of YouTube.

Taylor just answered this question for a friend actually because she didn’t really know where to start. It was a medical services company.

I told her that building rapport and engagement should be the first part of your plan (by the way – ALWAYS have a plan).

As simple as it sounds, on Twitter start following industry experts in your medical field. Start talking to them, send them more information about things they’re interested in.

If you move away from the promotional aspect of social media and more into the realm of helping people you follow, you’ll start to develop more rapport and they’ll trust your stuff more.

If you’re building from scratch, that’s the easiest way to start building an identity on social media that you can use to promote your company down the line.

Julian Dutton | Marketing Manager | CardFellow Julian Dutton

CardFellow is an advocate for small business owners looking to decrease their credit card processing costs. We educate business owners on how processing truly works and show them how to leverage that knowledge to secure the most competitive processing fees. 

We understand the frustration that comes along with shopping for a processor and many people will broadcast those feelings through Social Media platforms.

I have found that searching for Twitter hashtags such as #square, #paypayhere or #creditcardprocessing, helps to locate the people who are most frustrated with the processing industry.

From there I am able to reply to the post and offer some advice. 

studio99Weaves

Studio 99 Weaves 

Studio 99 Weaves is actively using Instagram to post photo’s. 

They have almost 2000 followers and the engagement is amazing. Prospects and customers are commenting and when looking through their threads you see that prospects are leaving messages saying: “I’ve got to come in and check your place out”

Studio 99 Weaves also promotes their Yelp rating and this encourages more reviews.  They’ve noticed the more reviews the more their business grows. 

They’re actively tagging customers in photos and you can see their customers sharing with friends. This is brilliant marketing from a successful small business owner. 

Margaret Colebeck | Marketing Manager | Vantage Advertising Margaret Colebeck

The most beneficial social media trick that we use to help increase business is getting involved in Tweet chats.

Tweets chats are a great way to interact and build relationships with industry experts in your field. Tweet chats are also great for increasing business, because they are typically very popular and well-known in the industry, so industry professionals tend to search for them and read through the comments.

By being actively involved in these conversations, not only is your company seen as an expert, but it also allows you to build rapport with industry experts, who are then likely to recommend you to their colleagues and followers.

Michelle GeibMichelle Geib | President | Xperience Days Inc. 

Entertain. Educate. Engage. Experiment. This is the ethos of our Social Media strategy at Xperience Days, the Country’s leading Experience Gift Company. As a small business we have limited resources and do our best to maximize engagement with our fans through creative entertainment and to educate them on our products and special offers in order to drive sales. 

From sharing Employees’ personal family photos of holidays past to tasty recipes and sweepstakes, we try to offer fresh content daily that our fans enjoy and like to share with their friends and family. One of the things that we have found which works extremely well for us is the use of Post Engagement Sponsored Stories.

This turns almost all of our posts in to Ads which can be highly targeted in order to reach a new audience within our desired demographic, grow our fan base, generate awareness about our brand and drive sales.

Karen Swim | Marketing Communications Specialist | Words for Hire Karen Swim

Small business owners can leverage high impact activities to get the most out of social media.

One tip is to choose (or start their own) group conversation, such as a Twitter Chat, Google hangout or LinkedInGroup. You can spend less time communicating with a group of people at once and get more from it.

Focusing on a single chunk of time, such as a weekly tweet chat facilitates deeper interaction, new followers and builds your expert platform.

Lydia BrownLydia Brown | Marketing Coach | Lydia Brown

Video marketing is easy and inexpensive for a small business owner.

Anyone with a smart phone can download an app called Youtube Capture record a video then upload to Youtube, Facebook or Twitter. 

A small business owner can record a short video of the service they provide for example or film them using the product.

Youtube has easy video editing instructions under the video manager tab. When you edit the video you can use the ‘annotations tab” to include a link to your website so they can see all of your products or services you offer.

Video marketing is the hottest marketing strategy being used today and aides the small business owner in branding and being able to reach out to the targeted market just like the big companies without paying the big bucks.

Make sure when saving the video, name it according to what will be featured in the video. If you are showing someone how to make a scented candles the title should be: “How to make vanilla scented candles.

Emilia Andrews | Partner | YVMP, LLC  Emilia Andrews

We always have our clients create an “Editorial Calendar”.

Be consistent with the information you’ll share with your followers and get them used to your schedule. This will also help you determine what it is you’ll create and share.

Some days may be blog and article posts; other days will be on client review; others will be tips/ suggestions; throw in a few videos and graphics each month; and note, only 10% of your posts should be promotional. Unless of course, you have coupons or specials that will help your customer. Be prepared so all you have to do is create once, share once, and then spend the rest of the time running your business. Let social media marketing work for you!

And don’t forget. the purpose behind social media marketing is to connect with your audience and engage them with your content. That means you have to respond, like, comment to their comments. Take 10 minutes out of each day to go online and review your posts and respond to any notifications.

Jayme PretzloffJayme Pretzloff | Online Marketing Director | Wixon Jewelers 

A big mistake that many small businesses make on social media is they run ads like the Ronco commercials: “set it and forget it”.

These ads will then continually run to the same audience with the same messaging which annoys followers because in their eyes, it is spammy. It is also a waste of money because engagement rates drop significantly over time— the half life of social media promotions isn’t necessarily that long.

The best thing to do is run targeted ads with a specific focus to different segments of your target market and change the messaging, imagery or marketing copy routinely. This will provide fresh content to the eyeballs of your followers and keep them engaged.

Give them something that is useful to them and they’ll be happy to complete a lead capture form, subscribe to your e-mail list or follow you on social networks.

These permission based marketing vehicles allow small businesses to continually engage with potential clients and win business.

JT Tran | Founder | ABCs Of Attraction JT Tran

Jt Tran is one of the top Asian American motivational speakers and he had an early marketing strategy for Facebook that helped his brand grow.  

Here are 4 Keys JT Used to grow and recommends businesses follow: 

  1. Choose pictures that are in some way related to your business. The classic poster of the cat captioned with “Hang in there, baby!” might be cute, but what does it really MEAN to your customers?
  2. Make use of the scheduling button. This ensures that you can pre-select a publishing date for your pictures that will allow them to come out at an appropriate time for your intended audience, letting you fine-tune your targeting and not waste time.
  3. Tie the pictures in with your actual business. For us, this means including captions and links to published material that will do the marketing for us and hopefully lead to a sale.
  4. Don’t overload your audience. Flooding their news feed with 10, 20, 30 pictures a day is only going to make them unfollow your business.

Anne McGurtyAnne McGurty | Executive Coach | Strategize & Organize 

As a small business owner and a productivity coach, I thought I was being pretty savvy posting on my Facebook page frequently with cute quotes and tips.

It all seemed pretty helpful but no one was engaging.

Then I realized, social media marketing is about pushing the words out to your audience. 

Once you post your perfect tip, share it with groups within Facebook. The added distribution to groups will increase your exposure and those engaging with your posts.

Adam Wright | Owner | The Wright Sauce Adam Wright

Facebook ads have worked great for us.

One thing I quickly learned after running my 1st Facebook Ad campaign was how important the picture is relevant to your target audience. I make a line of honey bacon BBQ sauces and I made an ad geared towards bacon lovers. When my campaign was over the stats blew me away.

I had 6 different pictures and all ads said the same thing, the one that got me 99% of my clicks was a great picture of a stack of bacon I had made.

Pictures are highly important!

Micah WarrenMicah Warren | Principal | Large Media, Inc. 

This is more of a social media warning that I thought should be shared because I’m sure we all see businesses do this. It may not be intentional, but as Micah warns, can harm a business. 

Over posting and spamming can damage a businesses reputation greatly.

We just had this issue in a Facebook discussion in our local town group. There is a person who posts about her restaurant ALL THE TIME and it’s nothing specific. Just says, “come down for lunch” All the time.

While no one mentioned this person by name, at least five other people said they’d never spend a penny there because of how often this person posts about their restaurant. The restaurant even posts in other people’s posts that have nothing to do with it! 

Yes, there are things you can do to engage your audience in social media, but you can also harm your brand when you don’t know what you’re doing.

Dr. Anthony Edwards | Instructor & Manager | E-Campus Online Degrees Tarleton State University  Dr. Anthony Edwards

Creating lists on Facebook and Twitter that are consistent with your buyer personas works great.

To better understand your customers and influencers of customers, you can create lists on Twitter and Facebook for each buyer persona. Following and liking anyone and everyone associated with your business can create one disorganized news feed.

Segmenting your feed into multiple lists makes social media more manageable and makes it easier to engage customers, provide helpful and useful information when potential customers need it and establish you and your business as thought leaders in your industry and in your geographical area.

Tabitha Jean NaylorTabitha Jean Naylor | Marketing Prodigy | Tabitha Naylor 

If you are searching for a new way to increase your social media audience, offer a contest for your visitors.

For example, after a certain number of likes, give away a free item or some other incentive (if a service oriented organization, perhaps a free 20-30 minute consultation).

This will get more visits to your social media page, more shares of your content and more repeat visitors if you offer these contests on a weekly or monthly basis. 

Mark Rushworth | Head of Search | Blue Logic Web Mark Rushworth

Visit followerwonk.com and press ‘Advanced Search’ then enter the profession of your target customer and set a location i.e. ‘IT Manager’ “leads”

  • You will now be presented with a list of targets who you can add to a Twitter list making it easy to monitor each day.
  • Then just join in on their conversations and wait for an opportunity to sell your product/service to arise.
  • Don’t be pushy. Let them come to you.

This method works very well! 

Alex Klinghoffer | Founder | QuarterPoker

Alex KlinghofferI recently launched a first of its kind free poker site. We are 6 weeks old, and already at 2,500 users.

One of the main ways we drove engagement through social media was a video we made. 

Video is one of the best ways to drive social media success. Not only is it the most engaging of all media types, but it is also ranked higher in most social media’s ranking algorithms, specifically Facebook, so it will also reach more people than a regular text or image post.
 
And it can be done on a budget, we made our video for Quarter Poker for $1,000. 
 
We found our production company on Craigslist and wrote the script ourselves. With some help from friends and a local bar, we also got the location and talent at no cost. And if you’re lucky enough to know a friend who can shoot and edit the video, you can put something together for under a few hundred bucks.
Look online for creative inspiration. If you find the right concept, a video successfully promoted via social media can be the best marketing decision you make.
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Now its your turn, which idea above are you going to implement as part of your business growth plan? Please share in the comments below and if you know of a small business owner who would find value in this, please share this post with them. 
Wishing Entrepreneurial Successes!