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Posted by Marlon Tiongson on September 30, 2016

Social Media for small businesses is as important as having a company website. In this day and age, it almost doesn’t make sense to have one without the other.

What’s surprising though is that there are still a lot of small business owners who aren’t on social media, or don't use it to its full potential. Social media can be a powerful tool, but only if crafted strategically. Otherwise, all the time and effort invested in it can go to waste.

Determine your business objectives for social media

Set goals that are concrete, measurable and achievable. Social media takes time and you may not see the rewards as early as you anticipated. However, once established, your feed has the potential to grow your audience by engaging new and returning customers.

Define your audience

Before hastily jumping onto the social media bandwagon, ask yourself -- who am I talking to and why am I doing this? Remember, in order for social media to grow and be successful, you need to build an audience on an authentic level. Find out what their interests are, what they are looking for, what concerns they have and what’s endearing to them.

Establish a social media presence

Figure out which social media platform works best in reaching your audience. Facebook and Youtube have the highest number of users, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn't explore other channels as well. Every platform has its own unique offering and audience, even if its overall user base is low. Flickr may only have 92 million users, but if those users are your audience then it may be more effective than being on Youtube which has 1 billion users. It all depends on where your audience is and how much time you want to invest creating content.

Content creation and engagement

Start building brand awareness by getting people to recognize your name and associate it with your product. Write a blog to establish your brand’s voice and nurture your audience. And don’t forget to engage your audience – get them involved in the discussion, share their experience, listen to their concerns and create incentives to get them to act.

Promote your social media channels online and offline

Look for opportunities to promote your social media channels not only online but out in the real world as well. If your business has a store, make sure you have signs showing your social media handles in highly visible areas. Though you may want your feeds to draw new customers, the greatest value of social media is the ability to convert existing customers into brand ambassadors, so inform customers of your feeds at every touchpoint.

Consider third-party consultants

With social media, the money you save on traditional marketing, will be invested in time. Social media marketing is a long-term investment, and not all companies have the time or the resources to sustain it. This is where you should consider hiring a consultant or content curator to manage it for you. Their expertise and experience will work to your advantage.

To get started, click here to download this free guide to Social Media for Small Business (PDF).

Need social media advice or content curating services? Let's talk!