by Alex Houg
Every day there’s a new tool, a new feature, a new technique to master, yet for us small business owners, budget and staff are not increasing accordingly. The marketing person, customer service department and finance person are probably all you, anyway.
Most social media advice is about telling you to join every social network and spend all day posting, tweeting and pinning. Do this and do that. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Here are the steps, solutions and goals to help you maximize your social media profits. Today we’ll start with how to free up your time and what you need to have in place. Then we’ll go into how to make that multiply your business.
How to free up your time on social media
Cut down to just one or two social media platforms
A friend, who runs social for Microsoft Office, used to cover a few dozen social networks, then cut it to primarily Facebook. Their budget is bigger than yours, but even they acknowledge the need to focus on the basics, so cut back and get Facebook right before attempting other channels. Start with Facebook because their segmentation and ad capabilities are more sophisticated than other channels.
Don't let technology own you—make it work for you
If you find yourself learning stuff like CPM versus CPC bidding or getting bogged down learning a ton of third party tools, stop! Unless you're a software developer, you don't need all that, just what's good enough.
If you're running ads for example, use Facebook's default optimized CPM and stay away from Power Editor. So stop messing with technology—focus on business goals, not reach, pins, or shares.
Get your data together
Start thinking of social networks as what they really are: ad networks. They provide conveniences to users ("free" email and photo sharing) in exchange for all their information.
As a small business owner, you must embrace this fact and know they're providing all this data to you for awesome targeting.
So you need to connect your website and email list (Infusionsoft, MailChimp or whatever you use) to Facebook, Twitter and Google; then you can have all your audiences in one place and start following customers around.
Get your social media "plumbing" in place
Ensuring you have these items in place is necessary to driving your master social media plan forward:
- Google Analytics with conversion tracking in place on whatever leads/sales matter to you.
- A dollar value assigned to leads, sales, or other events. Choose a placeholder value if you're not sure.
- Google AdWords account, so you can run remarketing ads for people who abandon your site.
- Facebook page set up for your business with proper cover image, a video, link to your site and 10 posts.
- Facebook ads account set up so you can boost posts and import audiences.
- Facebook and Twitter conversion tracking on your site in the same places that you have Google conversion tracking.
- Twitter profile for your business, properly completed, so you can check analytics and post/reply to tweets.
- Marketing automation system with at least 1,000 emails in your list-- if you're short, then don't expect high ROI at first.
These items are important to have in place:
- Google Webmaster Tools, so you know what keywords people are searching on.
- YouTube channel for your business with at least one video professionally made with you describing your business.
- Twitter ads account so you can run Twitter remarketing (called tailored audiences).
- LinkedIn company profile (not just your user profile) with ads account set up.
If any of these pieces seem technically daunting, you can hire people to get this set up for you for a couple hundred dollars.
In part two of this guide, coming next Monday, we’ll talk about how to automate and harness social media to let networks do all your work for you.
Alex Houg is the co-founder and CEO of Portage. He is an expert in Facebook advertising, social analytics, content marketing, and search engine optimization. His clients include the Golden State Warriors, Rosetta Stone, and Jack Daniels. He has been called the young Steve Jobs, selling his first business at the age of 15. He loves Infusionsoft, small businesses, and entrepreneurship.
Alex writes for AdWeek, Inside Facebook, and Social Fresh. His textbook, Facebook Nation, is being taught at 469 universities.