The issue with Social Media Marketing is that there are so many social networks that could drive sales, how do you know which ones will work for you? … And, how do you find the time to do it effectively?

smThe Social Media world is dominated by a few, very large properties … and then there are all the small, niche ones. For the average small business, you will need to pick and choose where you spend your efforts, time and money, and it only makes sense to fish in the largest ponds, but it doesn’t hurt to throw a line into the smaller ones in your spare time.

The Players

  • Facebook – The largest audience participation, but best suited for B2C.
  • LinkedIn – The next largest audience and best suited for B2B.
  • Google+ – Google’s attempt to force people into their social sphere, but there is little participation.
  • Twitter – although very large, still only a small percentage of the population use it with any regularity.
  • All the others – There are many others that have been around for years and each offer something unique and many are niche.

Small and medium sized businesses will have a very difficult time justifying paying a large sum of money to someone to run or manage social media campaigns on an ongoing basis due to the fact that it’s difficult to track your dollars spent to sales. There are a large number of social media marketing companies that can justify their time spent on your behalf posting and commenting and liking and sharing and advertising for those things. I don’t doubt that they are very effective in those things. My issue is that those things don’t lead to sales quickly, and after 6 months or so, most business owners become unhappy and will cancel their participation and will write it all off as unproductive. And in one sense they are correct, but that’s because it’s very likely that their expectations were set too high and the amount of activity they paid for could have been much less and possibly just as effective in reaching potential customers and clients.

So, let’s go back to the beginning of the Internet and how things have always worked … and still do today … and then apply those principals with a few small added tasks, and your participation in Social Media will likely pay off in large sums – but it will take time for it to happen.

The original concept of websites were to build out content that the search engines would gobble up, and if it was done correctly, you would show up in searches and people would find your website and that would lead to phone calls, leads, and sales. The secret here was to continue to add more content on an ongoing basis for the search engines, and people to find. The concept of Blogging was born, and it provided the opportunity for everyone to write new pages of information in a way that was natural for your personal and company websites.

Also the concept of links hit. The more places you put links to your website, the more opportunity people have of finding you. The more links you had to your website, the higher up in the search engines your website would rise. But as with all things, many of those linking strategies that were developed have fallen by the wayside due to changes in the search engines and people’s behavior. But something took the place of all those linking directories and web linking farms, as they were called. It’s called social linking, and it’s actually much more natural and better for everyone because anyone can play.

There is an old saying about SEO, the search engines, and linking. Pretend that the search engines do not exist. If Google didn’t exist, then you would be forced to go out and put links to your website’s content for others to find. If you take this approach, you will win because you are not depending on the search results of Google or Bing to drive traffic to your website.

Today, this is easily accomplished with free or inexpensive software that anyone can afford.

This is how you do it.

  • Build your website with WordPress – Content Management System. Almost any functionality you need is free to build with plugins.
  • Commit to blogging. At a minimum, twice a month, although it should be once a week, if not more.
  • With a plugin called SNAP – Social Networks Auto Poster, you can connect your blog entry to 17 different social networks. Every time you create and publish a blog, a link will be created at any of the 17 social networks instantaneously. At a minimum, connect to the top 3-4. This will place your content in front of new audiences, regardless of what Google does with their next algo update.
  • Take 5-10 minutes a day to monitor any potential conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
  • Consider paying $5 a day to buy impressions for your Facebook business page to build up your number of likes.
  • Continue to do this as long as you are in business, and you will reap rewards long term.

I am only talking about 30 minutes for each blog entry and 10 minutes a day to monitor your social networking. Everyone can do this.

There are some other things you can do, like auto posting from a pre-made list of informational tidbits, as I call them, to a single network. This is easily done on Twitter and Facebook. You only have to take the time to create them or pay someone to create them for you. These types of things can be used over and over again.