Six social media marketing tactics for small businesses in 2011

Try and get some sort of perspective on social media marketing as a small business and you’re overwhelmed with advice, most of it unstructured and amateur. So many experts: so little expertise!

Here are six tactics to put into action quickly, improve your digital footprint and get results. You can safely delegate an intern, or find a part-time resource, to get this moving immediately.

  1. Produce interesting content in multimedia: videos are relatively easy to produce and use via YouTube. Rather than just write blogs (although, remember that a blog is the heart of a social media campaign), put some thoughts down on video. Editing tools are ubiquitous and adding music and titles is simple.
  2. Message integration: your enterprise’s ‘story’ should already exist and it will tell your key communities just how your enterprise brightens their lives or solves a headache. Retell that story in several forms, illustrate it with metaphors and use it across Yellow Pages, offline PR, ads in your industry handbook and…social media. Keep telling that story in different ways and use your keyword list to stay digitally on message.
  3. Make your blog professional: don’t just play at blogging. Plan an editorial schedule three months ahead and designate writers. Conform to your keyword list and hold a brainstorming session to find ways of telling the enterprise story in different metaphorical settings.

    Social media brainstorm meeting

    Collaboration is important for generating social media content

  4. Hyperlocal marketing: if your enterprise is geographically critical, social media marketing works brilliantly at a local level. Use Google’s free Local Business Centre, register on Google Maps and ensure you are listed on Facebook Places, Gowalla and Foursquare. Encourage customers to checkin with point-of-sales requests or discounts.
  5. Digital PR: social media marketing is digital public relations, with one important difference. It is very much a multi-directional conversation and your influence has to be subtle to influence people to talk about your enterprise.  But this is not a reason to avoid planning resources, activity and content. Plan social media marketing like a PR campaign.
  6. LinkedIn as a sales pipeline: if you are in a business-to-business enterprise, use LinkedIn as a sales pipeline (from your point of view!). LinkedIn now has profiling and listing tools, so go to it! From your communities’ point of view, you will be an interesting company that is helpful and full of resources and ideas.