How far have we come with social media marketing strategies on many platforms to propel local small businesses to success or failure?
It’s an interesting question that will lead to many different answers by many business owners and experts but a fair one.
I posed the question because things are always changing and mostly for the better as it pertains social media marketing strategies depending on which social networking site is your preference.
6 Quick Social Media Marketing Strategies (18 Years Ago When I Started My First Business)
- None because I was ‘Anti Social’ to a degree
- None because the only Media I knew was print and TV
- None because my Marketing wasn’t taken that seriously
- None because I didn’t have a consistent Strategy
- None because my business was a complete Mess
- None because of course we didn’t have SMM at all back then
I knew that you were smart enough to recognize that social media (as we know it today) didn’t exist back in 1998 but of course the internet did.
As I recall, many local businesses used mainly the traditional methods back in those days so there were “None” in terms of social media marketing strategies that existed in those days.
Quick Story About My Past Business…
Just sitting here and reminiscing about those days put complete horror in my brain when I think about the lack of knowledge and how reckless I was as a small business owner.
I started a small dish installation and retail company during that time and I was doing pretty well for a few years until all hell broke loose.
Now before I go on let me lay down one quick ground rule:
None of that “Cable Guy” crap from the Jim Carrey movie!
You probably watched the movie when those kids yelled, “Cable Guy” in that annoying voice.
HA, HA…..Seriously, it doesn’t bother me but kids use to yell that at me while doing installs and it was hilarious!
Getting back to my story…
The satellite business was really good to me for about a 5-6 year span before unforeseen changes were made that prompt me to go work for some one else. I DID NOT LIKE IT AT ALL!
The reasons for that will take a whole different post but looking back most of it was my fault. I can’t blame anyone but myself because I was careless and VERY complacent because I was doing better than ever financially.
Yes I was doing it for the money and that was the worst thing to ever happen to me from a business perspective. I had tunnel vision and it was completely wrong and my business failed as a result of it.
Clueless About Marketing But…
The business also failed because I didn’t have a clue about marketing. I really had no business running a business of any kind.
The last sentence was true as it pertained to those particular days. I know that I am being a little hard on myself but I’m my biggest critic and I have a feeling that its probably the same for you.
I didn’t understand how to keep customers coming in the door because I only believed in what worked at the time for me which were ‘traditional’ marketing methods such as yellow page ads and they were very expensive.
I also had about 6 or 7 installation fulfillment contracts so I really didn’t have to advertise much.
After I lost my business (somewhere around 2006-2007), I was very bitter. Not at anyone in particular but at myself which usually spells for carrying over into other aspects of life which is never good.
After my business failed I was employed as a cable contractor or in layman terms I was the “cable man” or referred to as the “Cable Guy.”
So I guess the little kids that teased me were on to something…HA, HA!
Luckily I’m not doing that job anymore because it wasn’t fun BUT I discovered that I could possibly help other local small business owners learn from my failures.
Emptiness & Burning Desire Because of Failure
I love helping others especially when I have walked down a similar path. The last thing that I want to ever do is see anyone else not succeed and make the same mistakes that I once made.
Sometimes in life you play a mental game with yourself because you know that you can do much better at something that you failed trying to accomplish (or that you have experiences with). That burning desire is always in your belly.
That’s how I’ve felt since loosing my business but I knew that I would get more satisfaction if I could help other local small business owners or entrepreneurs become more savvy.
I wanted to teach them how simple social media marketing strategies will work for their businesses.
So I Decided To Write A Book…
Through my research and experiences over the years, I noticed that the small business owner had more issues than anyone especially with online marketing.
Time, knowledge, trust and a few other daunting issues lead the way.
But I saw many complexities as it pertained to business owners marketing their products and services especially via social media, mobile, video email marketing, etc. (’emerging’ marketing).
I felt if I could simplify many of these issues then I could help lead the local small business owners learning curve upward.
So after helping other small business owners jump start their marketing efforts, I decided to write a social media marketing book.
I have a few other reasons to why I wrote this book to help local business owners also. It’s actually about ten so I hope you enjoy below!
1. Teach Social Media Marketing Strategies To Help Small Business Owners
With any business, its tough to keep afloat especially showcasing your goods and services to potential customers and even current customers. Your advertising and marketing are your biggest assets so you must make good use of them.
I started researching social media marketing around 2011-2012 because I kept reading how this was “the next big thing” sort of speak for businesses.
So of course I started to research small businesses in the U.S. first to get an idea of the entire landscape.
I wanted to know numbers…LOTS of them! My understanding of the them would lead me to provide help for small businesses.
Small Business Lifecycle (Sort Of)
Below is a chart which pertains to the percentage of small businesses have a certain number of employees…sort of a 4 stage lifecycle from the first year to the fifth year (Notice the 2nd and 4th years are not weighted).
The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy calls it “Survival Rates and Firm Age” data. You can get a better overview and see the entire chart by clicking on the image.
A pdf file should load automatically for you with no problems unless you are trying to access it with a device that is not up to date (flip phone or 1st generation cell phones…PLEASE DON’T TRY).
This chart is so important because it entails very important stages of the business lifecycle though minimal but it gave me a foundation on where to get more understanding of small businesses.
My Social Media Research Was Even More Compelling
I learned most of what I know about social media by researching, testing different methods and working with small businesses to see where different strategies would be useful.
Believe me when I tell you there is so much confusing information about social media and it can be so complex.
I discovered that many small business owners want simple because if its not explained or shown to them in a manner where it resonates and as a result they won’t believe in it.
Consumer behavior stood out to me as well on social media. Remember this: “It is mandatory that I learn as much as possible about this platform in order to help others.” That was my mind set back then and its still the way that I think.
Here’s an example of a infographic that I read on AdWeek. Its the type of information about social media that I was looking for to further understand who influence users on the different platforms and how to convert them into customers.
A lot of time went into this and I didn’t look at a picture and figure out that I had all of the answers either. This was a huge time consuming effort on many blog and social networking sites.
What I found was very interesting and it let me know how hard I had to study social media in order to see what works or fails and why different things performed or didn’t on multiple platforms.
Social media marketing strategies can be successfully implemented for local small businesses if you understand both the needs of a company along with ever changing platforms.
The more that you know about a particular business then the easier the task of finding targeted consumers on social media can become as well.
2. Provide A Simple Local Online Marketing Resource
One of the many things that I had rolling around in my head that would be beneficial to local small business owners is a simple local online marketing resource.
Most business owners resonate with things that fit their needs like simple, easy and quick.
There are many local online resources that fit the bill of those characteristics. Most of them provide great content on their platforms and get great feedback.
Some of them in which I personally read are Dex Media, LocalVox and Carmen Sognonvi.
Dex Media is a great full service local online platform for small businesses. I read their blog which is really helpful and often has brand new content. They offer a variety of social media services for their clients as well.
LocalVox is another multi facet company headquartered in New York City that helps local business owners market their online properties with simple solutions.
I really enjoy them because they are a wonderful resource for just about anything related to local marketing strategies.
Not only did I just give you a small glimpse to who I read and study but these are perfect examples of simple online marketing resources for small business owners.
They provide major value and help local small businesses all over the world with their laser targeted focus.
I had to do the exact same thing in terms of seeing an area where I could provide value and be a resource for what I consider to be an under-served audience.
I’m not oblivious to other bloggers, marketers, or media type efforts to serve small businesses…that’s not what I’m saying.
My core focus is explain (in simplest terms) to local small business owners the importance of capitalizing on ’emerging’ marketing and my current focus is social media marketing
Hey, I’m not trying to be “Sale-sy” or anything but providing value by being an asset to a group of great people is satisfying and rather humbling.
3. Build A Business Around Social Media Marketing Tactics & Tips
The third reason that I wrote a book to help local small businesses was to build a business around social media marketing tactics and social media tips.
Actually for a long time I would not touch social media. I didn’t understand it and was frighten of it (if you can believe that). I’m serious…there was a bit of uncertainty.
I didn’t think that social media was some type of secret society or something but I did like the idea of getting an account of something that I didn’t quite understand.
Building a Successful Business
I had an ok go around with my first attempt at building a successful business though it failed because of my stupidity.
But the thought of helping others master simple social media marketing strategies and tips to build or enhance their platform is very exciting to me.
I had to get better at figuring out how successful online businesses reached their sweet spot before I could help any local small business with anything.
Who would trust anything that I had to say if I wasn’t prepared to learn and to keep learning?
Let’s face it business owners are smart and are trying to improve their current business or prepare their startup (if applicable).
So I prepared myself by observing business tips and strategies from the great Brian Tracy. For those who don’t know and understand how phenomenal he is then just Google him.
His teachings and inspiration has skyrocket my confidence that I could be successful being a resource for others.
I could teach any local small business social media marketing strategies if I could set goals and do the work. That’s a pretty cool foundation that can be achieved and conquered.
Social Media Marketing Strategies & Advice
Most of what I have learned about different social media marketing strategies has come from much researching and getting my hands dirty sort of speak.
But a lot of it has come from others doing the same thing and talking about their success and failures.
One of those places is the Social Media Examiner blog and podcast.
The founder of this platform is Michael Stelzner who has put together an awesome asset for many to discover the nuisances of social media marketing.
This has helped me tremendously whenever I am looking for something specifically in the world of social media whether it was a tool, a “how to” article or just learning through one of the guest post on something new.
The advice that I receive is almost like I am in a classroom setting when I am listening to the “Social Media Examiner Show” podcast.
They have made it very easy for me to take tidbits from what their teaching into my overall core focus.
Some of the content may be a little advanced for some but I believe that they do a great job simplifying most of it on the blog and podcast.
Social Media and Business
Social media helps you to expand your audience and find new customers for your business.
Building a business around social media marketing strategies would not be easy but certainly I could be of value to others by helping to get the message out about products and services for local small businesses through a non traditional channel.
4. Building Business and Customer Relationships
Building relationships in business is essential and doing the same with customers is extremely important as well.
They actually work together because there’s an understanding of building relationships and continually helping others that will in a many ways build customer relationships for others.
Its sort of like a two way street; if done consistently will result into good things.
I will scratch your back and you will do the same PLUS take the knowledge gained to help your customers.
Sounds confusing but building relationships in any business to expand your network is key.
Its a “win for win” for everyone if done properly and as I understood the inner workings of it the appeal was natural.
How To Build Business Relationships
This isn’t to show you how I am building business relationships but to let you know that its one of the things that intrigued me on why I needed to write a book and grow in the process.
Chris Ducker and Pat Flynn are two of the best digital marketers in the world and they came together for an awesome collaboration.
Their 1 Day Business Breakthrough is an example of how two great minds can come together and create something awesome for others.
Two businessmen with common goals that can give something back to uplift is nice plus the introduction to both of their networks even elevates it higher.
Customer Relationships As A Result
When I wrote this book for local business owners one of the things I wanted to do was help the business owner with customer relationships.
“Social Media Simple Marketing” is all about the result which is helping customer relationships for the small business person.
The point that I was struggling to make is when you develop business relationships for other business people then they will help their customers.
Every person that Chris Ducker and Pat Flynn invited to their event will most likely build more client relationships.
Its no different than myself showing the local coffee shop how to unleash the power of Instagram in a simpler way to engage better and earn trust.
That’s what occurs especially when you are in a Business to Business or B2B environment.
Kind of “cause and effect” type of environment that I was definitely interested in and it definitely made sense to me.
Building business relationships to help build customer relationships was very key in why I wrote a book for local small businesses.
5. Local Businesses Need Simpler Solutions To Market Their Products & Services
One of the main reasons why I wrote a book about social media marketing strategies for local small businesses was to simplify the entire process.
Its sounds like it could be a huge deal in terms of simplifying but its really not a hard concept to grasp.
Its easy to simplify social media marketing for the local small business owner because the majority of them focus their efforts in one location.
I know that some even have multiple locations but its easier to apply the same principles especially if they are in different cities and there is a need for separate social accounts.
KEEP IT SIMPLE AND YOUR BUSINESS LIKELY WILL SURVIVE!
Social Media Marketing Strategies Simply Lacking
One particular local law firm in my city (I live in the St. Louis, MO. area) has given up on social media marketing all together it appears.
Now does this mean that their business is going down the tubes? Of course not but they are missing out on MAJOR growth.
I’m not sure what type of advertising (if any) that this company is doing but I am certain that they’re not using the social media channels that were set up.
Their Facebook page is non existent so potential clients won’t be able to inquire about services.
Facebook is great for engaging with past clients as well but HUGE for new leads but this page is defunct.
Check out their Twitter page or what’s left of it. Completely inactive page.
It eliminates an opportunity to distribute new information about the company or collaborate with other attorneys.
One of the most important pages lack little engagement. Google Plus is a very important tool because of the entire platform.
Getting reviews from Google is important and helps your overall image because its social proof.
This law firm currently has four reviews (at the time of publication of this post) and gets very little engagement on Google Plus.
There is a company page for this firm but its inactive just as the majority of the other social media platforms.
LinkedIn can be a powerful way to get leads for this local business.
The 9 followers let me know that there is constant inactivity. Most law firms have more contacts on their company page.
*UPDATE: They’ve added 8 more LinkedIn followers for a Grand Total of 17.
Those examples were done to show you that simple social media solutions (and probably a very good consultation and convincing) is needed.
I’m not personally sure of their situation but they either don’t understand social media marketing or have a better lead gen system (likely referrals, direct mail and/or email marketing).
There are many other possibilities but with all the confusing information about different social media marketing strategies that’s floating around, maybe the business owner wants to stay away from it.
This is why social media must be translated into simple processes to local small business owners.
6. Local Communities Support Local Businesses More
I think it would be great if local communities could support their local businesses a little more.
Many communities do a superb job doing this but some are still lacking.
I don’t have a magic wand or foresee anything out the ordinary but social media marketing (even on a small scale) could help tremendously.
Small Business “Social” Saturday & Beyond
Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday initiative that is headed by American Express that’s held on the day after Thanksgiving.
Many small business groups are apart of it including the Small Business Administration (SBA).
With a simple social media marketing plan, small businesses could first setup social campaigns geared towards their WEAKEST day(s) of the week.
Why just focus on a Saturday?
Remember that most small businesses are open at about an average of 286 days a year (give or take a few days depending on the business).
I did the math on that so don’t take me to task on it.
WHY THE WEAKEST DAY?
Because it can be cheap and done in less than $1/day with social media marketing ads such as Facebook. You can always scale your campaign later.
And why would you want to try this on the days where you are already busy?
Conceptually it doesn’t make much sense to focus on days where business is already gonna be healthy.
You can always revisit those days to scale your business once your leads and/or sales are more balanced.
Social media marketing is a very powerful tool for local small businesses because you can promote many of your initiatives with it.
Local communities love to support there own but business owners should also do a better job getting their attention.
What better way than by using the best social media marketing strategies that may work very well for your business?
7. Visual Content Marketing Not Used Enough
Another huge reason why I wrote a book to help local small businesses is to encourage visual content marketing.
It amazes me how underutilized the use of visual content marketing is for many small businesses.
Its easy and it is FREE (sort of).
Real simple: Smart phone and a social media platform such as Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or Periscope to name a few.
Social Media Visual Content Ads
All social media visual platforms mentioned are free to use but to get more exposure for your business then I would highly recommend using ads on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Using YouTube Ads would work very similar to using Google AdWords, in fact its the same platform but for videos.
Facebook Ads for videos are becoming a very big hit because they outperform any other content for the most part but I highly recommend to always split test any ad campaign.
Instagram Ads for videos can be up to 60 seconds and just like any visual content will perform well especially if you are targeting the right audience.
All videos receive a huge boost in views and engagement (likes, comments & shares) when they are promoted using either of the three social media visual content sites.
They are so underutilized but so effective when used properly to promote a local small business.
8. Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies Like The Power Of The Hashtag
Another reason why I wrote a book to help local small businesses was to share the importance of the ‘hashtag‘ in social media marketing.
Many local business owners fail to take advantage of creating hashtags for their products and services.
When you use more than 11 hashtags on Instagram at any given time then you will definitely have more engagement.
I look at it as a cool “guerrilla” marketing method because the hashtag could be branded and become a staple in the minds of the consumer.
When you run a promotion the branded hashtag can be very powerful for potential clients as well.
Above was a promotion ran by Clif Bar that was featured in a post by Kissmetrics. They used the branded hashtag of #MEETTHEMOMENT and were able to raise money all from a hashtag.
My hopes is for local small businesses to be aware that a little sweat equity in using a hashtag can be a huge benefit for their business.
9. Utilize Location Based Features As A Social Media Marketing Strategy
I personally think that location based features in a social media platform is the MOST IMPORTANT tool for any brick and mortar business.
I can guarantee that most brick and mortar owners are not looking at their advertising through these lenses.
Targeting potential customers is Gold for any social media marketing strategy or at least it should be.
Mobile Location Based Social Media Services
Location based services on mobile social media platforms like Facebook Check ins, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, Pinterest Place Pins and Snapchat Geofilters offer HUGE marketing advantages for businesses.
My message is simple and there isn’t any “reading between the lines,” TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS MOBILE DEVICE!
All of them have smartphones so find out which social media networks are appealing to them but focus on the ones that have location based services.
When a customer at a brick and mortar business “Check in” on Facebook, EVERYONE on their friends lists sees it.
THAT’S FREE ADVERTISING FOR YOUR BUSINESS!
10. The Cost Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing provides the benefit of letting the small business owner to control the costs or ad campaigns.
The benefits to that are self explanatory but it gives you the ability to target an audience, set budgets, split test ad campaigns, etc.
Having a very good social media marketing strategy is important because its cheaper than traditional marketing and your reach can be unlimited as well.
Here’s Something To Consider…
Outsourcing or hiring a VA (virtual assistant) may be a good thing for your business.
The tasks that you want completed such as social media management, web developer, content writer, video editor, etc. might be cheaper than you think.
Virtual Staff Finder is a service where you can hire a virtual assistant from the Philippines that is qualified to assist you.
But first you may want to read about virtual assistants in the Philippines and the best resource is a book called “Virtual Freedom” by Chris Ducker whom I spoke about previously.
Chris is also the Founder and CEO of Virtual Staff Finder as well.
Any type of small business could benefit especially starting off because of the lack of cash flow in the early stages of a business.
The possibly of hiring and working with a VA is the final reason why I wrote a book to help local small businesses because an owner could very easily benefit from the cost effectiveness for the overall business.
I wrote “Social Media Simple Marketing: How To Guide With Simple Tips & Strategies For Local Small Business Owners” for all of the reasons that I listed plus many more.
At the core of it all, I don’t want to see another small business go through tough times and not sustain their livelihood.
I don’t want to see anyone lose their business because of the lack of ignorance to “emerging” marketing. It’s easier now with social media marketing to grow your business than ever before.
Learn how to use social media marketing strategies and don’t be afraid of it. It’s easy and not hard to understand. Or consider outsourcing it with a VA or virtual assistant.
I’ve even put together some awesome book bonuses when you purchase “Social Media Simple Marketing: How To Guide With Simple Tips & Strategies For Local Small Business Owners.”
-5 Part Video Course
-Exclusive Access to Author.
Click Here to Access Bonuses after you purchased your book.
Thanks You for spending your precious time reading this as well!