Denver Business Journal Reports on Social Media for Small Businesses

I was delighted to open the Denver Business Journal last week and discover I had been quoted rather extensively in one of their articles (written by reporter Greg Avery):

For Denver companies, making the most of social media takes a lot of time. 

The article cited these interesting statistics, from a survey released in the online journal, eMarketer,

  • Fifty-one percent of U.S. small businesses, meaning those with between 20 and 99 employees, are not using social media at all.
  • Twenty percent are using social-media marketing informally, meaning they post to their Twitter or Facebook accounts, whatever and whenever the muse strikes.
  • And only twenty-five percent of small businesses are currently using social media in a structured way, meaning with a specific marketing plan, content generation plan, or set goals and benchmarks for determining if those goals are being met.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that last bullet point is exactly what I recommend doing!

But one of the main objections I hear over and over from small business owners is that social media takes too much of their time. In case you haven’t seen the article, or cannot access it (DBJ’s website is subscription based), I’d like to recap my suggestions for small businesses:

  1. Devote one whole day each month—the first week of the month is best—to plan out your promotions and social strategies. Put it in your calendar! Give some thought to the content you’d like to put out about your business, the core messages that you’ll post to your blog, your company Facebook page, and any other social media you use.
  2. Use a free automation software, such as Hootsuite, to pre-load a solid month’s worth of posts, pics, promos, etc. These will be sent out all month long, on schedule, without you having to do anything else. But be open to also adding any spur-of-the-moment, fun happenings or relevant messages when and if you can find the time.
  3. Biggest social media marketing mistake: Hiring someone else to handle your social media, and not keeping track of it at all. Don’t wash your hands of it—no matter how good (or bad) the person you hire is, you still must make sure they you are getting messaging that reflects your business, messaging that reaches your core market and engages them. Only you can steer that ship, at least in the beginning. You know your company better than anyone else!
  4. Approach social media marketing with the diligence you use for all your other marketing, be it a direct mail campaign, print or TV ads or whatever.
  5. Give social media marketing a year or more to really get going and produce buzz, referrals, or other results.
  6. Although social sites like FB and Twitter are free, a business should still budget at least as much as they used to on traditional advertising.

Kudos to Greg Avery for this genuinely helpful and well-rounded article. Social media is too important in this day and age for 51% of small businesses to be ignoring it!

Warm Regards,
Heather Lutze
Author, Internet Marketing Speaker, Trainer and Consultant

About Heather:

Heather is the acclaimed speaker, trainer, and consultant who literally wrote the book on search engine marketing. Two books, in fact—The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing and Thumbonomics: The Essential Business Roadmap for Social Media & Mobile Marketing. Her writing and in-demand keynotes are delivered with the same witty, “no-geek-speak” style that has managed to demystify internet marketing for countless business owners. Breaking free of corporate “cubicle” jobs over ten years ago with a dream of entrepreneurship and a computer in the basement, Heather built her business, The Findability Group, into a multimillion dollar company. Today she leads a dedicated and slightly obsessed team of search marketing pros—their mission—to connect clients with their perfect customers online.

photo credit: vincos via photopin cc

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