Integrated marketing and social media for small business

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Social Media can feel overwhelming. If you are a small business owner (or large) you already experience the day-to-day stresses of running your company - leave it to the web to add yet another thing for you to do. With the growing number of choices and technology changing at the speed of tweet, it's easy to feel like you just want to throw your hands in the air and forget the idea entirely. Never fear - Illumine8 is here (yes, we know that sounds cheesy). Here is a step-by-step guide on how to choose the right social media for your business:


Step 1 - Define your target audience

The first step is often the most important and especially so in this case. Look back on your Illumine8 Brand Analysis (Don't have one? You should!) or simply pull a few reports on your company's customers. Ask yourself:

  • What age ranges are my customers?
  • Where do my customers live?
  • How often do my customers purchase from my company?
  • Where do my customers go for information?
  • What is my referral rate?

Based on the answers to those questions, you can start to get a picture of your target market and their buying personas.

Step 2 - Investigate Social Media Platforms

Don't get distracted by everything out there. Save the newest for the social media mavens. If you are new to social media consider the following:

  • Facebook With over 1.1 billion accounts, Facebook is a small country. There is argument whether or not those accounts are connected to real users - but even if a fraction are, facebook is a formidable social media platform. Facebook used to skew towards the younger demographics - but as their parents joined, the kiddos fled. If your target market is the 30-50 buying crowd, you have hit the mother-load.
  • Twitter When the kids left facebook, they quickly joined Twitter. Twitter - the 140 character tweet engine - is newer to the social media scene. Specializing in "in the moment" posts, Twitter is a great way to reach many people quickly, connect directly with your customers and even conduct market research. And oh by the way - your younger demographic tends to hang out here - well, at least today they do.
  • Pinterest As a society it seems we are reading less and less. Enter Pinterest - a virtual pin board for all things. Powered by images and very little text, look at Pinterest as an image sharing social media site. If your company sells to women, this platform is for you.
  • Google+ Perhaps the most mis-understood of social media platforms, Google+ is Google's social media platform. What is so great about Google+? Well, since it is part of the world's most powerful search engine, it might be a good idea to investigate. Recently Google reconfigured their holy "algorithm" for its search, and you guessed it - those websites with Google+ pages can rank higher than those without.
  • LinkedIn The social media platform for business. No pictures of babies, no high school reunions - LinkedIn is all business. This is a place to network with other businesses, search for employees (or see what your employees are saying) and most importantly seek about B2B business. Looking to establish yourself as an industry expert - start on LinkedIn.

After considering the BIG 5 Social Media Platforms, choose one or two that fit your company's target market. Spend time developing your company on those platforms before expanding to another social media channel. Don't try to eat the elephant in a day - social media takes time and patience.

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