Columnist Alison Zeringue details the most common questions she heard as a social media panelist for Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program and shares the key takeaways for marketers and growing companies. In July, I had the privilege of serving as a social media panelist for the New Orleans cohort of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program. The 10,000 Small Businesses program is a Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs Foundation investment to create jobs and economic opportunities across the country. This is the 11th cohort of the program here in New Orleans, and the scholars were about halfway through their program at the time of the social media panel. The questions we fielded ranged from beginner-level (How do I know what platforms my business should be on?) to more advanced (Do posts on Instagram get more engagement when shared from a personal or company profile?). Below, I’ve provided a sampling of the questions we were asked and the advice I think is vital for growing businesses to heed.
Those are common words we throw around inside the industry, but to some business owners it sounds like gibberish. It’s all about getting people in the online community to see your business as a trusted provider of goods or services and making information about your business easily accessible online. Exceptions would include utilizing call-tracking numbers to measure your success in certain media, but be careful about hard-coding call-tracking numbers on your site and social media platforms. When done well, social and online marketing can turn good customers into brand ambassadors. There’s no point in using social media for marketing your business if you don’t know who you’re trying to connect with and what will resonate with them. The beautiful thing about social media is the rich information users provide (both knowingly and unknowingly) about themselves, which can give marketers insight into how to connect with them best. Many businesses historically succeeded without a need for social media or heavy advertising.
For Generation Y (also often referred to as Millennials), social media equals word of mouth.
According to Pew Research, in 2014, half of all adult Facebook users had more than 200 friends on the site. In short, social media is imperative for businesses that want to grow, scale and sustain themselves in the economy of tomorrow. Q: How should a business use social media in comparison with traditional advertising, shows, events and more? Social media platforms like Facebook hold billions of pieces of data about their users’ likes, dislikes, location, friends, family, purchases, reviews and much more. The fact that marketers and advertisers can leverage such rich data is what sets social media and online marketing apart from traditional types of advertising. In addition, the detailed analytics and insights into user behavior and interaction with the business are unmatched when compared with those from traditional media like television or billboards. Q: Can you give some examples of what worked and did not work in your business or for your clients?
While I’m sure everyone on the panel could talk about this for hours, in short, what works best for our customers is to have a wholesome presence on whichever social media outlets are right for them and their audience. Resource allocation to social media truly depends on the business’s goals, the intended audience and the type of industry or product they are promoting. This is where consulting with an expert is crucial, as they can advise you on the appropriate budget to allocate to these efforts based on a little research and projection.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Alison Zeringue is Partner Accounts Team Manager at Search Influence, a national online marketing firm dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses compete online. MarTech: The Marketing Tech Conference is for marketers responsible for selecting marketing technologies and developing marketing technologists.
SMX Advanced, the only conference designed for experienced search marketers, returns to Seattle June 22-23. Here is everything you’ll need to promote crowdDJ in your venue on Australia Day and get the crowds rolling in. Once you have pasted the link into your post, Facebook will automatically create a hyperlink to our crowdDJ page and a thumbnail preview image will appear.
You can now remove the pasted link by backspacing the text and the thumbnail and link will remain. Make sure everyone who visits your Facebook page knows that they can pick their fave songs at your venue this Australia Day.
To reach a wider audience and draw more people into your venue on Australia Day you can BOOST the post – this means you will reach people who aren’t currently following your page but are probably very interested in what you have to say.
Social media may have started as a personal communication tool, but today it’s an integral part of most businesses’ marketing strategies — and B2B organizations are no exception. So, how can you make sure your employees’ social media usage doesn’t negatively affect your company?
Too often businesses create social media policies after an unfortunate incident occurred—such as an employee mistakenly Tweeting from the company account instead of their personal account. The first decision you’ll need to make when it comes to creating a social media policy is the approach. Choosing the latter is definitely the least time intensive of the two, but it also leaves room for potential problems. Although your marketing and customer support departments are responsible for the bulk of your company’s outgoing messages, social media is for everyone.
You’ll want to be sure to identify who the social media policy applies to within your policy. There are a lot of great social media policies to review from other companies, but keep in mind that your policy should be unique to your company.
Remind employees that claiming or implying to speak on behalf of the company is not allowed—unless their job description states otherwise.
Most of employees will take a step back and let those with the proper training, such as community managers, social media managers and public relations teams, take over.
Depending on the industry you’re in, you might have governing principles or regulatory bodies to follow. If employees are using branded social media profiles, you’ll need to ensure workers understand the various rules and regulations associated with your industry.

Employees should also be expected to adhere to general laws and regulations, such as those related to copyright, data protection, financial reporting and so on. Make it clear that your company doesn’t endorse people, products, services and organizations. Social media is a business tool, but it’s also an opportunity to show the lighter side of your company. One last thing before you start drafting your social media policy: The suggestions mentioned above are just that, suggestions. Sprout Social is an advanced, collaborative social media management platform for teams of all sizes. It isn’t about not planning rather it is about planning for the right things at the right time. Useless Social Media Plans: Wasted time and productivity is a pathway to failure, both short and long term. Useless Social Media Plans via The Relationship Economy – Most corporation are obsessed with having a plan. Could Twitter have done a worse job of corrupting the fundamentals of thier service in the name of selling more crappy 140 character ads? Along with two other online marketing professionals from the area, I was to host an interactive session with the business owners and entrepreneurs about leveraging social media for their businesses.
The program provides entrepreneurs with better access to support services, education and capital via 20 locations and 100 partners in the US.
As a young professional, sitting down with this room full of folks who’ve built businesses and successful ventures was quite the experience! It really demonstrated for me the wide range of social media knowledge out there among business owners. In reality, all of those things total up to online public relations, reputation building and management. Be sure that your content strategy is not only constant but also effective in reaching your audience. Remember, the social media networks are businesses, too, and they need to make money just like the rest of us. When considering using social media for a small business, I recommend the first step should be sitting down and defining your target audience. Today, the number of companies that will be able to sustain success without online marketing is declining at the speed with which the online landscape is changing.
My best friend’s father runs a local plumbing company, and he’s never touched social media, yet he continues to stay in business.
Social media is where they consume news, entertainment, information about products, trends and businesses, and of course, the opinions of their friends and acquaintances.
While younger users tend to have the largest friend networks, those users won’t stay young forever and someday will become a prospective customer for you or your competitor. If the general public is going to be talking about you anyway, wouldn’t it be better to be there, engaging and capitalizing, than ignoring it? With a bit of a time investment, you can even be successful on social media without much of a budget, though I wouldn’t recommend it without some practice, professional advice and constant learning. Users and consumers of social media provide information by filling out their profiles and simply engaging with others on the platforms. We have clients who are successful on social media that spend a few hundred dollars per month and big regional brands that are selling tickets online and spending thousands per month.
There is a lot of information and research out there about the best time of day to post, the perfect type of content, how to get the most engagement, and the list goes on. Only through trial and error can you determine the most effective way for your business to utilize social media for marketing. Alison’s focus is on white label online marketing products for publishers and media partners serving SMBs. The nation is currently voting on the hottest tracks of last year for Triple J’s countdown, so why not let your followers know that they can also listen to these plus all of their fave Aussie artists in your venue.
When multiple thumbnail images appear, ensure that under the ‘Available images’ section at the bottom of the post only the Australia Day image is selected. We have put together a few sample suggestions for your post but of course, feel free to use your own wording to promote your Australia Day party. Your post’s ‘reach’, or effectiveness, is determined by the amount of money you dedicate to boosting the post; however a small amount can go a long way.
Social media permeates every aspect of your business, whether it’s across departments or your rank. A social media policy is a code of conduct that provides guidelines for employees who post content online either as part of their job description or personal brand. Creating a policy early on will help you to proactively avoid these situations in the first place.
Some companies write one complete social media policy that addresses all currently available social platforms, while others compose policies as they need them.
For example, if a policy can’t be created before your marketing team adopts a new social platform, it could lead to some confusion about what’s acceptable and what’s not. That means anyone from the CEO to the marketing manager to the quality control intern is using social media, and chances are they’re using it while at work. It’s important that everyone within your company is clear on the communication guidelines and principles. For example, some employees have separate Twitter handles for business communications, while others rely on their personal accounts for everything. Adding a disclaimer helps your employees’ followers decipher between official company statements and general opinion.
But in the event of a social media crisis, you want to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible, and that means knowing who is in charge of what and when. In your social media policy, explain how you’d like your team to react during a crisis situation. Whether they’re using a branded social media account or a personal one, proper action should be taken to prevent breaches. For example, federal government, alcohol and health care employees face tough regulatory challenges regarding social media engagement.

Your social media policy is a good place to introduce employees to the different compliance issues.
You’ll want to avoid using too much legal jargon because some employees might not understand it while others could avoid reading it all together. Nordstrom did an excellent job of conveying critical communication procedures to its employees. If you have a very active employee advocacy initiative, it’s best to design your policy around what your employees can do rather than what they cannot. From tweets to Facebook posts and loads of photos streaming on Instagram, the Super Bowl will be the most discussed topic on social media today. The plan is supposed to explain strategies, initiatives and actions that produce a desired result. Once completed metrics are usually established to measure whether the collective actions of the organization are in fact creating the desired results predicted in the “plan. Since it was incremental change was predictable and thus it was anticipated in the planning process. Instead of thinking about what you’ve been doing your plan must be grounded in a philosophy that matches the behavior of the market in real-time. Beliefs are reflected by communications, data and collaboration.  collected, created, analyzed and driven by human beings, one to one to your entire audience. Another inbox so businesses can put more of their half-assed press releases and marketing bullshit into our inboxes.
They employ algorithms to ensure their advertisers get the most traction, while businesses using social media organically (non-paid) have more work to do in order to be seen. Businesses should be present so they can hear first-hand what consumers are saying about them or their products, but they also need to engage those customers. Those essential home services-style businesses will always have the word-of-mouth referral factor.
The below social post will link your followers to the crowdDJ app download page so that they are armed and ready to go as soon as they walk through your doors on Australia Day. Today 74% of online adults use social networking sites, yet 73% of companies of companies lack social media policies.
If you currently lack a social media policy, this guide will help walk you through the creation process.
A strong social media policy will empower your team to take action and make educated decisions while representing your brand online. In the event of the latter, employees should clearly state that they work for the company—especially if they’re discussing business, product or competitor-related matters.
You don’t have to go into a lot of detail here, but you should have procedures laid out in another document. This means using secure passwords, logging out of accounts while on public computers and using common sense when creating new profiles and customizing settings. Employees should use sound judgment before posting or commenting online, and always defer to a professional language and behavior.
In fact, 76% of Instagram users believe that receiving likes encourages them to publish more, and 65% said they feel flattered when a brand likes their post.
When using a personal social media account, employees should be careful not to imply endorsement on behalf of the company. You also want to call attention to critical elements with bullet points or some other formatting technique. We recommend talking this through with leaders from each department, as well as your legal team to ensure that objectives are being met and nothing gets left out. Millions of people will watch the Ravens take on the 49ers as well as tune in to watch Beyonce at the half-time show and those unforgettable commercials. However, disruptive and chaotic change is not predictable thus trying to plan for it specifically is a waste of time and productivity. Analyst and politicians are changing their stories, their spin and their ultimate justifications constantly because everything seems unpredictable. Throw out the high gloss thick plans and tell people to think and create one page short term plans that reflect what the market of people believe in. But that once private interaction is now taking place on a public stage where you and your competitors can join in.
If you already have one, it’s best to use this as an opportunity to review your social media policy and make sure everything is accurate and up to date. Our Social Media Crisis Management Guide can help you get started if you haven’t already. Should an employee’s account become compromised, make sure he or she knows the next steps to take. That being said, your social media policy should clearly define rules regarding brand endorsements and how your employees can avoid confusion.
With so much going on, there will sure to be opinions, opinions, and more opinions shared on social media. Yet consumers, business markets and governments seem to ignore the constant state of flux we’re in and instead of simply accepting it they make yet another plan, another prediction and spin out the latest and greatest insights, their new plan. For those of you who will watch the big game with one hand on your laptop or smart phone, below is a handy guide to help you stay connected during the Super Bowl.
Here is a clue, the change behind all the change reflects a new philosophy which is grounded in different beliefs. Do everything you can to make it easy for your team to read, understand and adopt what’s stated within the policy. Because people believe that  media that steals their time, productivity and attention is a waste.

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