Social marketing is the new trend in developing a brand’s digital presence. You gotta have a Facebook page and a Twitter account at least, and if you really want to be hip to the social marketing game, you’ll have Instagram and Pinterest and maybe even Vine. While all of these networks can certainly boost your brand’s exposure, to make the most of them, remember these key tips:

1. Identify Home Base

If you are running a small business, it’s possible that the main place people can go to learn more about your company is your Facebook page. A Facebook page is a great thing to have, but if you don’t have a website or blog to drive traffic back to, get one ASAP. Believe it or not, not everyone is on Facebook, so you could be missing out on a lot of potential customers. You’ll have a much stronger online presence if you maintain ownership of your own content on your own website and then share that content out to the social networks. You’ll have much more control of your brand experience and it will enable you to monetize the content on your site rather than letting Facebook and Twitter take all of the ad revenue.

2. Choose the Best Networks for Your Brand

You could create an account on every social network to try to gain the most possible exposure for your brand. It is likely though, as a small business owner, that you don’t have the manpower (or womanpower :P) or stamina yourself to keep up with all of them. You might be better off choosing a few networks you can be really strong in. If you sell physical goods and you can create compelling photos of them, then Instagram or Pinterest might be a good choice. If you have a blog, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great places to share articles. If you operate from a physical location, Google Business pages can help you get found. Think about your brand and try to choose a few channels through which your brand voice will shine the most.

3. Define & Monitor Success

Clearly define what success from your online marketing strategy looks like. Are you trying to increase sales revenue? Do you want to get more newsletter subscribers? Whatever it is that you are striving for, you should have a clear idea of what success means to you so that you can start working towards an achievable goal. Once you know what you want to achieve, you’ll need a way to know whether you are being successful. Sometimes this is as simple as putting a ‘How did you hear about us?’ select box on your registration page. This can help identify which of your online efforts are driving the most success. If that doesn’t work for you, just Google, ‘social monitoring’. You’ll find a variety of tools that can help you monitor the growth of your networks, identify your most engaging content, help you schedule that content, and more.

The main thing I’m trying to get at here, is that social media is a great tool for boosting online reach, but don’t let it be your only online presence. I always imagine I’ve got that cheesy cereal commercial voice when I say this but, ‘Remember kids, social media is part of a complete marketing strategy!’ Have fun everybody!

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