Many small business owners can get overwhelmed with the prospect of using social media, and they don’t know where to begin.
In this interview we’ll be talking with Susan Tucker who is a social media expert. She will give you some tips and insights about how to start using social media for small and local businesses.
NDM: What are some first steps you would suggest to a small local business that isn’t currently using any social media?
Susan: If a small business owner is not currently on social media for their business, my first recommendation to getting started is to pull together customer profiles to determine the best channels where they should focus their energy.
One way to do that is to go to BuzzSumo.com and type in a keyword related to current customers.
Here is where you’ll find the most shared content on social media by channel and influencer. This information is the quickest, easiest way to show you where the engagement currently is, and helps you narrow down where to put your focus.
Another great way to discover where your customers and prospects are, is to understand general demographics of each channel.
For example, Pinterest and Instagram appeal mostly to women, while men tend to use Google+ and LinkedIn.
Get the latest social media demographical information from the Pew Internet Research.
What would you tell a small business owner that feels completely overwhelmed where social media is concerned?
Social media marketing can be totally overwhelming! There are so many choices, and they are constantly changing.
In my opinion, the best way to tackle the overwhelm is to create a content calendar. I do this by simply using an Excel document.
Start by outlining all the major events/happenings/sales promos related to your business over the course of the next 6 months to a year by month.
Next, you’ll want break down each month by week and think about the messages you want to use in order to support each activity.
Next, think about the platforms you’ve determined to be a good fit, then craft your messaging specific to the platform.
For example, if Instagram is on your list, you’ll want to create an image out of your message; if it’s Twitter, you’ll want a quick blurb.
Lastly, don’t forget the 80/20 rule. Spend most of your time sharing content that you think would directly benefit your audience as opposed to sales-y, or promotional information, created by you.
I like to set up Google Alerts to email me every time there is an article that includes my keywords, and then I share the articles I think would most interest my followers.
For example, I work with a gluten free bread company. My Google Alerts are “gluten free,” “celiac disease” and so on. I share news, tips and more that relate to living gluten free. I will also sprinkle in our own information and products.
What are the biggest mistakes you see small business owners making where social media is concerned, and what would you suggest they do about it?
Not understanding their customers and being overly sales-y are two of the biggest mistakes.
Other mistakes include inconsistency. If you’re going to be on Facebook don’t just post twice a year – either do it consistently, or don’t do it at all.
What’s an insider tip that you wish every small business owner knew?
There are a ton of resources out there to help make the job of social media marketing easier. Take the time to find the right one for you.
I live by the social media management tool, Hootsuite*. There I can schedule out posts, use their Analytics tool for client reports, get post ideas and more. I especially love their Hootlet Extension on my web browser.
Every time I read an article I like, I simply click the little owl to schedule it on any of the social accounts I choose (genius!).
If you could get small business owners to do a few helpful things in the next 30 days what would they be?
- Research your audience
- Plan a content calendar
- Get set up with a social media management tool
- Schedule some posts.
Don’t forget, however, to allow for real-time check-ins. Followers like real people.
What’s the best piece of advice that was ever given to you about social media?
What metrics, or indicators, show that you’re having success with social media?
It doesn’t matter how many fans you have, what matters is that people engage with what you’re doing.
It’s quality over quantity every single time.
What are your favorite resources/tools for social media success?
Oh, there are SO many.
I love the image creating tools of Canva, PicMonkey and piZap.
As mentioned earlier, I can’t live without Hootsuite.
I’ve also really enjoyed TailwindApp for scheduling posts on Pinterest, and Grum for scheduling posts on Instagram.
What else would you tell small business owners about social media that we haven’t mentioned in this interview?
What I think is very important to know about social media is that customers no longer respond to slick messaging and stuffy wording. They want transparency and authenticity.
You’ll get much more traction if you show the people behind the brand and bring your customers into the process.
Thinking about making a new product? Get feedback (surveys).
Share your experiences – both successes and failures – on social media and get your followers involved.
We all love a good story, and being a part of that story is even better.
*Affiliate Link for Hootesuite
Susan Tucker is a self-proclaimed inbound marketing geek who uses her passion to help small business owners via her marketing company, Get Susan Marketing LLC, and as Director of Digital Strategy with Lure Agency.
Susan has helped solopreneurs, start-ups, digital media companies, service providers, non-profits, e-commerce companies, and many others navigate the changing digital landscape. Her focus is to set them up with successful inbound techniques such as social media, blogging, content offers and email marketing.
Clients have raved about Susan’s personable approach and easy-to-understand methods.
Susan lives with her husband, two young sons, and super-cute puppy in the start-up mecca of Boulder, Colorado. When she’s not helping small business owners with social media and online marketing, she’s chasing her boys on the ski slopes or watching them on the sidelines of the soccer fields.
Susan is social media junkie and you can often find her live tweeting from just about anywhere she goes.