For small business owners, social media is a great way to connect with customers, potential customers, build brand awareness and spread news quickly. You can easily capitalize on the marketing potential of social media even with limited resources. With 9 million pages for small businesses, Facebook is the most popular platform among small business owners.  And for a good reason – Facebook is the place their customers are most likely to be.
Small business owners should spend the majority of time and money on designing a Facebook fan page.
Use Name Vine to check domain names, Facebook and Twitter extensions in a matter of seconds to see if your desired vanity URL is available. Facebook Social Media Plug-Ins let you see what your friends have liked, commented on or shared on sites across the Web.
To effectively narrow your social media focus, determine which social networks your customers frequent.
Once this is figured out, maintain a consistent brand identity by matching your company’s designs, graphics and logos across all platforms. After setting up your social media accounts, it’s time to determine how to interact with your customers and how often to do so.
It is recommended that businesses post one to four times a day on Facebook and five to ten times a day on Twitter. To further save yourself time, push content to all of your social channels at once by using a tool like HootSuite. In addition to scheduled posts, make an effort to respond to customers’ posts on your pages.
Social media might seem intimidating for the overworked and underfunded small business owner, but with the right tools and strategies, social media can be an easy and effective way to reach your customers.
Founded in 2003, Small Business Trends is an award-winning online publication for small business owners, entrepreneurs and the people who interact with them.
Together with hundreds of expert contributors, Small Business Trends brings you the news, advice and resources you need. When using social media, like other forms of marketing, small businesses must allocate their scarce resources, namely budget and employees, to ensure they’re attracting a steady flow of new prospects, keeping existing customers satisfied, and driving profitable sales. Since small businesses have limited resources with which to test optimal marketing strategies, it’s useful to understand what’s currently working for others in terms of social media. Here are the major take-aways for small businesses from Ascend2’s research along with actionable social media tactics.
Over half of small businesses rated social media “somewhat effective” to achieve their goals. Actionable Small Business Social Media Tactic: Incorporate social media into your business mix to level the playing field with larger competitors.
Actionable Small Business Social Media Tactic: Pull readers in by providing quality content that answers their questions. About a third of small businesses create video or audio content to expand their media offering.
Actionable Small Business Social Media Tactic: Improve content effectiveness by formatting it for consumption since many readers decide whether to consume your content before they read the first word!

Executing social media is difficult for small businesses because it involves specialized content creation resources, often not a small business competency. About a third of small businesses think writing blog posts and articles is difficult. While useful for generating leads and sales, many people are nervous about showing their writing publically.
Two out of five small businesses feel the budget and time needed for social media is an issue. Since these are scarce resources, small businesses, must be smart about using social media to yield measurable results. About 30% of small businesses lack of a social media strategy. This is understandable since many small businessmen assume they can build a social media strategy the same way they use these platforms personally.
One in five small businesses lacks the social media know-how to implement a strategy on their own. Since small businesses are focused on keeping their business going, they don’t have the time to keep up with the latest social media trends. Actionable Small Business Social Media Tactic: Create a social media strategy aligned with your business objectives. Based on Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley. The most important thing is control of your own company, you don’t need a middle man to take all the weight and profit. Couldn't make it to Social Media Marketing World 2016?Get all the sessions with the SMMW16 Virtual Pass. The Actionable Marketing Guide participates in the following affiliate marketing programs to bring you great products and services. According to the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 86% of marketers report that social media is important to their businesses. A recent survey by Zoomerang states that 59% of small businesses spend less than $100 on social media (42% spend nothing), and 74% don’t employ anyone to manage their social media. Make it visually dynamic with quality graphics and photos, which humanize your brand image by spotlighting the people in your business and giving customers a glimpse into your business’s inner-workings. If you try to maintain a presence on too many sites, you may find yourself overwhelmed and unable to keep up.  Outdated and abandoned social media accounts can hurt your brand image.
One recent study found that the average social media user has accounts on only two social media sites and many users have narrowed their usage down to one site.
Most small business owners don’t have the time to spend hours posting on Twitter and scrolling through Facebook comments. These posts should occur during business hours (8 AM to 8 PM) as this is when most people visit social media sites.
Take your Facebook page, Twitter feed and any other social channel you have and publish to all of them at once from a single interface. Considering that the highest percentage of customers prefer to receive special offers and discounts (see infographic image, top of page), use social media as a platform for publicizing discounts. Founded in 1996, Journyx automates payroll, billing and cost accounting while easing management of employee time and expenses, and provides confidence that all resources are utilized correctly and completely. So many businesses have been blinded by social media that they think that they have to be present in everything. Social, on the web is simply providing the interactions that we’re all used to and presenting them on new platforms. Having a student manage a social media account would save them the headache having to deal with that type of marketing.

I have been a social media director for quite some time and even I gained some new perspective here. Ascend2 partnered with Research Underwriters to survey and interview 687 global business leaders, marketing executives and practitioners in February 2013. In part this is attributable to the ease of measuring customer interactions through likes and similar metrics. Focus each piece of content on a separate keyword phrase, write a killer headline to grab attention, and use eye-catching images. Also expand your reach with social sharing icons and optimize each piece of content for search.
With limited resources, small businesses can develop blog content by answering customers’ questions. Further, with limited resources, you must plan your activity to ensure it supports your marketing. Get help creating a social media plan you can maintain time efficiently on your own with limited if any help. Then develop an editorial calendar plan of useful content to attract prospects while maximizing the utility of each piece of content marketing.
I've just returned from San Diego where I presented a workshop session on Blogging at Social Media Marketing World 2016.
Below are some tips on how to focus your social media efforts in a way that will resonate most with your customers. According to the aforementioned industry report, 23% of Facebook’s users check their account five or more times every day.
When you fail to respond to customers’ comments and inquiries on these sites, they will think that you don’t care about their input. Fortunately, you don’t have to post constantly to reach a large audience; there are many ways to tailor your posts for optimal reach and engagement.
It may be difficult for small business owners to post this frequently, but fortunately, Facebook allows you to schedule posts to be published at a later date. Social media was more efficient at meeting small business’ objectives than those of their larger peers. From a business perspective, social media engagement builds brands and supports sales by responding to customer service inquiries, building email lists for future marketing, extending content reach, providing reviews, and distributing time-sensitive information during emergencies. The use of other media aids search results but associate text with these formats to ensure findability.
That said, small businesses like their larger peers face challenges in terms of having sufficient resources and associating measurable results with their investment.

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