There’s no doubt about it. These days a small business has to be aware of the role the internet, and all the various social media sites on the internet, plays in successfully marketing the business. But I know first- hand that navigating through the maze of information and how-to’s can be overwhelming.
Less than a year ago, I was strictly on the social and personal side of social media sites but recently I jumped feet first into helping GraceSoft/Easy InnKeeping’s Marketing Department. Now I’m trying to learn how sites likeFacebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter can be used not just for marketing a small business, but also how they can be used to expand the level of customer relations our company has with the properties that use our product.
Fortunately for me, there’s HubSpot to the rescue. Not only do they make things like creating a blog on the company website really easy and manageable, but HubSpot continually offers a wealth of understandable information on everything from how to write a good blog article to how to set up company social media sites to how to get that blog article onto those company media sites. If you’re not a HubSpot user, there’s still a ton of information out there on how to use social media. Social Media Examiner, for instance, is an easy to read blog with some great articles. That’s one I follow on Google+. I also routinely check out marketing articles on the news feed on LinkedIn. I’m learning a lot, and hopefully some of what I’ve learned will be helpful to you, too.
So, what are some of the first things a small business can do about making their presence known on the social media sites?
- Decide who your target audience is.
We’re a B2B (business to business) company here, so the social media site that works best for us may not be the same as someone who manages a B2C (business to consumer) property. Our target audience is not only our clients who use Easy InnKeeping as their property management software but also other properties who are interested in finding out more about hotel reservation software. Who is it that you want to connect with?
- Figure out what it is you want to share.
Do you want to show pictures and create a more interactive place where guests can share their experiences of their stays at your hotel or B&B? Are you trying to attract more business travelers? Do you specialize in creating weddings that women dream of? The answers would be - take a look at Facebook; try setting up a business page on LinkedIn; and check out one of the newest social media sites, Pinterest.
- Be realistic about how much time and effort you have to spend on social media.
While it might seem really nice to have a presence on as many sites as you can, if you can’t keep up with updating all of them regularly, you could send more of a negative message to guests and potential guests than a positive one. It’s okay to try out the different ones, to see which sites work best for you. But once you figure that out, if you concentrate on just a few sites where you get the most guest interaction, that’s where you'll get the most return for your time and effort.