All Articles Marketing Brands & Campaigns Getting your small business started with social media

Getting your small business started with social media

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Brands & Campaigns

John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award-winning social media publisher and author of “Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide” He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing small-business marketing system and Duct Tape Marketing Authorized Coach Network. SmartBrief on Social Media Lead Editor Jesse Stanchak caught up with John to talk about some of the challenges small businesses face in getting their social presence off the ground.

How soon should a young company start thinking about social marketing?

Well, the answer to that depends on business and marketing objectives. Developing a strategy that incorporates any form of social media rests on what you’re trying to do, but I think more small businesses need to look at social media not solely as a set of tactics and perhaps more of a behavior. Your entire universe of prospects, customers, suppliers, advisers, partners and competitors can be served employing social media behavior.

Does a small company really need a dedicated social media employee? Should it fall in with the rest of the communication departments’ duties? Should it be everyone’s job?

Social media participation, when viewed as described above, should be orchestrated, but integrated throughout. Every employee should learn and teach social media practices and I would certainly include past social media participation in the hiring process.

Scalability is one of the biggest challenges facing a small business that’s figured out how to build a social media following. What advice do you have for socially savvy companies that want to avoid becoming victims of their own success?

Create systems and processes for all social media activity, just like you would for any function. Don’t hang out on twitter, check in. Create real benchmarks and goals to analyze ROI.

A lot of small businesses feel pressured to maintain a presence across several different networks, even if they’re a little short staffed. Is is it better to have a light presence in several networks or invest heavily in one?

I think there is a balance. Part of what’s accomplished by creating brand optimized profiles on lots of networks is a real estate play where you control all the content. Search engines seem to like social media content so it’s a good idea to give them lots of it.

On the other hand, it’s also a good idea to pick one or two network and go much deeper so you can create some real momentum and real engagement.

Do small business-to-business companies need to use social networks differently than small consumer-focused businesses? Is it a strategic or a tactical difference? How so?

Sure, just like traditional marketing strategies and tactics differ for those types of organizations. Social media is a tool to help meet objectives and the two kinds of businesses certainly have different objectives.

A typical B2B company might want to use social media primarily as a way to demonstrate expertise and create awareness for content that might start sales conversations.

A consumer business might want to focus on networks and platforms that can create word of mouth buzz for various product launches or campaigns.