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By guestauthor2 | Yahoo Small Business
One of the most common questions I hear from small business owners is “How do I leverage social media as part of my marketing campaign?”
It’s a fair question, for both business owners who launched their companies pre-Y2K and those who launched their companies yesterday. Social media is relatively new to everyone, even though Facebook has been around nearly a decade, and remains unexplored by many small businesses.
But social media marketing is fairly simple and fundamentally straightforward.
“At the risk of over simplifying, social media marketing is word-of-mouth marketing at its core,” says Adam Fridman, CEO and found of Mabby, a digital marketing agency that focuses on small businesses and startups.
Experts agree that the tricky part is executing and creating the “buzz” that drives word-of-mouth marketing. Chicago-based social media professionals Fridman and COO of Mabbly, Vlad Moldavskiy, share three tips for amplifying social media marketing efforts through word of mouth:
Create quality content.
“Quality content is content created for humans by humans. Always think about what your customers would want to read and what they will get value out of and ultimately what they will want to share with their friends,” says Moldaviskiy.
When developing content, think about what customers and potential customers are looking for and what they want to share with their friends. That buzz—seen through Facebook likes and shares—comes in the form of content, whether it’s insightful articles, helpful whitepapers, funny videos, clever infographics and more.
And consumers like content. Six in 10 consumers report that they have an increased perception and feel more positively about a company that delivers custom content, and because of that, they are also more likely to buy from that company.
Be active, not passive.
Social media marketing relies on engagement between brands and its audiences to be successful.
“Keep tabs on what your audience is saying about your brand on Facebook and Twitter and respond to those conversations. Set up Google Alerts and invest in social media monitoring tools, like SproutSocial or HootSuite, that allow you to track mentions of your brand,” advises Fridman.
When promoting content via Facebook or other social platforms, experiment with your audience to see what kind of content they engage with most. For example, studies report that posts posed as questions get 100 percent more comments, and photo posts get 39 percent more interaction.
Create good buzz, not bad.
77 percent of consumers surveyed said that they are more likely to purchase a new product when learning about it from friends or family. When people see a “like” or a positive comment about a brand via Facebook, this action serves as an instant—and free—brand referral which that person’s entire network is exposed to.
Conversely, word of mouth and social media can expose a brand’s audience to the company’s shortcomings. Poor customer service, bad reviews and company insensitivities become public and can have devastating effects on small businesses.
“Almost everyone has a personal Facebook account these days. That doesn’t mean every business person should be running their company’s Facebook account. Social media professionals can provide advice on how to use these assets to your advantage and minimize potentially hazardous beginner mistakes,” says Fridman.
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