There is no doubt about it anymore. Regardless of precisely what your small business does, it needs to be active on social media. Doing so can help you gain an abundance of new customers, penetrate your local market and establish thought leadership. Through a social media marketing campaign, you can accomplish these goals and make more money. Here are three tips to maximize such a campaign.
Don’t Limit Yourself
One social network may not allow you to achieve all of your goals. To be successful, you have to approach your customers from multiple angles, and that will require you to be present on more than one platform. It’s best to determine where your customers are, and this means finding all the places they frequent. Once you have done that, target them in the most appropriate way possible.
Social media can be great for making already existing customers aware of what you are doing, but one of the best social media strategies you can use is to proactively recruit new ones. Social media should be treated as a lead magnet, but you also need to do more than push your services. It’s important for you to identify the appropriate demographic and determine the message that suits it. Figure out the content that will interest your ideal demographic, and make sure you have someone on tap who can create it. Fortunately, social media adapts quite well to a customized approach, so it will allow you to do this very easily.
Be Ready to Invest
You can’t just use freebies when you are making a major social media marketing campaign, and you should be prepared to invest real dollars into the effort. That investment may take a couple of forms. First, you may have to hire staff or a consulting firm whose sole job is to manage social media. Second, you may find yourself in a position where paid social media ads are the way to go. Paid social media ads are a fantastic way for small businesses to reach their target audience.
BONUS TIP! Embrace Automation
User and marketing research has identified the best days and times to reach specific target markets with our emails and social media posts. Tools such as buffer.com can help you schedule posts to be published at the optimal time for the most coverage. This allows you to create market segment-specific content days, weeks, or even months in advance. Tools such as zapier.com can help you automate your social media interaction too. For example, if your CMS team publishes a blog post at 5:05 pm, that is not the optimal time to publish the social media announcements. A zapier.com routine can automatically submit your post to buffer.com so it is published to Facebook and Twitter at a time that will generate more attention.
Social media campaigns can be great, but they have to fit with your overall messaging, customer base, and general strategies. Furthermore, you have to make sure that you are prepared to deal with the potential influx of customers that could come from your efforts. If you approach it thoughtfully, your social media campaign will ultimately be a success.
Another important part of your marketing strategy is having a good website. If you need help with your website, or if you are looking for help automating your social media campaigns, contact us for some help!
Joe Lippeatt is a User Experience Engineer, Front End Specialist and Application Developer for 24Moves Consulting. He is also the organizer of HoustonPhotowalks.com Photography Club. When not working, he’s enjoying planning photography trips and helping his wife and son work in their gardens.
Since the day I started the group in June of 2009, HoustonPhotowalks.com has been a real blast. There are hundreds of amazing photographers in Houston, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many, many, many of them over the past 4 years.
Not The First Rebranding
To help keep the group’s web-site fresh (and to repair things that break when Meetup.com changes the header size or formatting options), our community’s web site has undergone a few “face lifts”. Through each rebranding, we maintained a few common features to remain recognizable: The Big Lens, the font, and (for the most part) our name.
Starting off Year Four – Going Back To Red
And now, at almost our 4-year mark, Meetup.com has kicked in with another major overhaul of their Look and Feel. Since we are along for the ride, HPW is going to rebrand too. This time, a bit more drastically than in previous years. Note however, to provide consistency in our branding, we continue to use the same font and message.
In fact, we are somewhat returning to our roots, going back to our original fire-engine red.
Old Logo History
I’ll admit it, some of these are sick-embarrassing to display. But they are what they are: our history in logos.
At first, the group was called “Houston Photowalk Events”, you can still see this reflected in some of our email addresses.
Meetup was tweaking their interface just like we were. And at one point, I was able to create large graphics for our header. Around December of 2009, we saw the familiar Orange and Black logo appear. Click to see full size.
It was about this time that our community really started to evolve. We weren’t just about “events”. The group was doing discussions, DIY’s, movie-theater presentations, and had eaten lots-and-lots-and-lots of food together. Rather than focusing on the nature of “Events”, the branding was changed so our community had a name. We rebranded to Houston Photowalks.
In June of 2010, I couldn’t really keep calling the group an experiment. We had organized and executed dozens of photowalks and meetups. To celebrate our 1st birthday, I purchased the web site domain name we use today, and rebranded as a proper “dot com”.
After organize events to small home-town parades, tours BEHIND the Galveston Strand to photograph the cracked walls and garbage dumps, and visits to the famous National Funeral History Museum, the group and our events were sometimes a little weird. So I added “Interesting and Unusual” to our branding too.
This logo remained with us from September 2010 to April 2013.
On the heels of another major Meetup.com redesign, we jumped in and rebranded again. We kept The Big Lens, the font, and the branding. But as we near our 4th anniversary, we switched back to red. How long with this logo last? Time will tell.
After Meetup made more GUI changes, part of our slogan was no longer visible on the site. To help solidify our branding, we added the tagline to the image, below the URL.
For the holidays in 2013, I had a little fun.
Meetup made a GUI change that added a colored bar along the bottom of the header image. For our group, that bar was red, and looked exactly like the underline we had been using since September of 2013. So I recreated the logo without the red bar. Also, in keeping with more current design standards, I reduced the intensity of the drop shadow behind the red text.
Its fun to see how branding and designs change over the years. I’m curious to see where the HoustonPhotowalks logo takes us in the future!