Often, businesses will start off with the best intentions of maximizing their social media presence but find that it is time consuming and hard to find someone to manage it all.  That is where I come in! Small businesses and non-profits organisations face a different set of circumstances when it comes to social media marketing than their larger for-profit counterparts, namely, smaller budgets, fewer employees and a greater priority on traditional forms of marketing.
For those charged with marketing, the biggest first step toward making social media an integral component of the plan may be convincing your organisation.
Make it a priority to identify goals so you can create the social media strategies for meeting them. That said, circumstances change, not every strategy works, and you need to also be willing and open-minded enough to recognise that it is time to try something new.
Be persistent in implementing your plan and in monitoring whether you’re reaching the objectives that will take you to your goal. 4.) Pay (what you can) – These days, especially on Facebook, it’s a pay-for-play landscape. You can succeed with social media even if your organisation doesn’t have the brand recognition of a multi-million pound corporation.
Register for free here.Somewhere between 87% and 98% of companies now have a presence on social media sites, depending on whose statistics you choose to believe.
Despite widespread use of social networks for personal connections, the leadership of smaller organisations often questions its effectiveness as a marketing tool and whether they’ll see a return on their investment.
Too many non-profits and small businesses dive into social media because they feel that they “have” to and don’t consider a plan of action before they do so. It takes time to develop relationships and establish credibility with your brand and your target audience.
When day-to-day activities seem arduous and, at times, unfulfilling, know that each day gets you closer to your goal. Keep plugging away and give your plan a fair amount of time and analysis before you pull the plug.
If your marketing staff consists of only one or two people, it’s essential that you stay on top of your social media strategy by prioritising your quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily objectives and goals. Cisco created a competition encouraging people from around the world to come up with billion-dollar ideas to their business.
Developing a good social media optimization strategy is crucial to leverage competitive advantage in these times of Internet revolution. Social media extends the reach of your company in an unprecedented way by allowing it to access both global and local markets at any time and from anywhere. As more and more people interact with each other on a certain topic, more quality information is shared. Working jointly on a project is what collaboration is, and social media increases its potential tremendously.
If you know the plan is a good one, it’s not a good idea to panic and change course simply because you’re not seeing results as quickly as you’d like. The results can provide the spark you need to drive a specific campaign or to increase your overall visibility to your target market. Groupon built a multi-billion business by selling daily offers to very large groups of people through social networking websites, at a time of recession. There are 5 key fields in which social media presents substantial business opportunities and upon which your social media optimisation approach should be based. In turn, by accessing and interacting in these, companies can develop a strong market presence and gain competitive advantage over their competitors as a result. It allows communication both within an organisation and between an organisation and other parties of a business by, first, making it possible to communicate even if two parties are countries apart, and second, by allowing communication to take place in different ways through different mediums. Communities are hubs where people interact with each other on topics that they share interest in. Also, because social media has access to virtually anyone and at all times, this means that information being exchanged is very likely to be broad and diverse, compared to information being exchanged between a few people from the same town having dinner for example.
It is very important for a company that is made of different parts in different countries, but also for someone who is looking for the right person to complete a certain task rather than just the ‘easy person’ because he or she works in the same building. By playing on this aspect of social media effectively, companies will increase their SEO potential and rank high on mega search engines like Google, which should be the priority of all those companies looking to grow from their website.
YouTube, for instance, is a huge video-sharing website with apparently more than two million views every single day.

A topic can be on absolutely anything, which means communities are plentiful and very diverse.
This translates into great opportunities for companies as they are, too, able to participate in these discussions, or simply able to take useful information from these online conversations.
For instance, huge freelance platforms exist such as Elance or Fiverr to help you find the ideal person to do the job. In truth, outsourcing can save you valuable time and even money on social media, when you know exactly what you want. But to see social solely for this purpose means missing out on much wider potential benefits.
A virtuous circle is then built: better SEO results reinforce market visibility, which then creates a bigger market, which in turn improves SEO even more and so on and so forth. The offline equivalent to those communities would be clubs, but applied online, clubs have the potential to include many more members across geographical limits.
Wikipedia is perhaps the flagship example of collective intelligence: users contribute to the writing of high quality material about millions of topics, and accessible to all.
Diverse and more effective partnerships can be created in this way, which means companies can increase productivity substantially. Skype, on the other hand, allows another kind of communication by making it possible to set up live video calls, among other features, between two or more users. Twitter, for instance, is a micro-blogging tool through which companies can turn a huge pool of users into followers by sending and receiving short, regular daily feeds about product news, feedback, advice and a range of other subjects.
Another example is Amazon’s recommendation system whereby users can recommend a certain product over another, which means that popular and unpopular choices can be found easily.
Zoho is another collaboration site that provides a range of useful applications for businesses including invoicing, information management, web conferencing and project management tools.
Follow Other People & Follow UpSometimes businesses get so wrapped up in producing their own social media content that they forget they also need to follow others in order to gain notice. Used together, social media, company-managed customer communities, and internal-facing employee social networks can form an integrated social business strategy that turns your company into a true “social business”. Facebook is a very popular social networking tool through which businesses can create a solid community of supporters and customers with a Facebook Fan Page for instance. On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest you should be following your competitors as well as people you want to sell to, for two main reasons. That sometimes sounds like rather vague and unattainable goal, so here are five pragmatic reasons why you need an integrated social business strategy.1.
The fact is, if you don’t use social media, you may find yourself struggling to stay connected to customers, which in turn can lead to declining sales. One, social media networks suggest people for others to follow, and aligning yourself with a common interest increases the chance you’ll come up as one of those suggestions. Create more meaningful customer relationships Public social networks are a great place for making contact with customers. With 200 million users on Twitter and a billion on Facebook, the reach of these services is immense so you would be crazy not to have a presence here. What many small business owners fail to understand is that it’s not the time you put into social media that matters. For example:This example from Maxwell Systems shows how a business can follow-up with unique voice. It provides fast, short answers, but needs to redirect more complex discussions to other channels. Here are some proven social media strategies that will help boost your business without sucking up all your time.1. Go for Quality Over QuantityMaybe your competitor has hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter while you have only a few thousand. They’re even hitting their target customers with fun content, simply by hitting that share button. It’s easy to get discouraged, but don’t do something silly like paying for followers just to keep up. I think a lot of people make social media out to be some complex, tactical battleground when small businesses really just need to focus on being themselves.
Integrating it into a Best Buy-managed customer community would enable deeper engagement, and more meaningful customer relationships.2.

Integrate Social and CRM for more consistent response Customers of many companies have realised that if they complain loudly and publicly on social media they get a faster response. You will reap far more rewards from 20 active followers who retweet your information than 2,000 bot-followers who never interact with you.2. Start up convos, take pictures, and just prove that your business is active on social media (not just a one-way message board).5. Indeed, some companies seem to be proud of their responsiveness on social media compared with traditional CRM, without thinking this through to the logical conclusion. Let People Get to Know YouConsumers follow companies on social media sites not to get the latest deal, though that’s a nice benefit, or hear a load of sales talk. Offer Incentives for FollowingPeople love to win things, and you don’t have to shell out a ton of money on prizes to reap the rewards from this strategy.
Setting up a social media team as a rapid-response CRM team is clearly not sustainable – instead social and CRM need to coherently integrated, giving the same speed and quality of service whichever channel the customers uses.For most companies, the level of integration between their Facebook page and their CRM system is very poor, so is it any wonder that irritated customers hijack the comments threads of the latest faux-cheerful marketing posts to complain? No, their real purpose is to get to know the company and decide if they want to give them their business. It’s perhaps a little unfair to single out any particular example of this when so many companies are guilty of it, but Three UK’s Facebook page provides as good an illustration as any you are likely to find.3.
Make your employees more efficient While you’re establishing a more open, collaborative relationship with your customers, it seems rather unfair if your employees are still stuck with email and old-fashioned intranets as their main communication mechanisms. Unfair, and inefficient; the McKinsey report mentioned earlier estimates that use of social technologies inside the company can increase productivity of knowledge workers by 20-25% by reducing the time spent handling emails and searching for information. Join More Social NetworksYou most likely already have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.
Indeed, McKinsey estimate that potential value of social inside the company is double that of the external value.4. But it’s worth expanding beyond these sites to newer, more experimental social networks that may be niche to your company. Learn how to be social Employee social networks not only make the workforce more productive, they teach employees how to work in an online social environment. The list of social media disasters caused by inappropriate messages from employees grows ever-longer by the day, and while it’s easy to blame employee incompetence for this, the truth is that if you don’t regularly work in a online social environment, it can be easy to misjudge the tone or content of messages you send. Using a social network for communication with your colleagues gives invaluable experience that makes you a better communicator with customers.5. Connect your supply chain Perhaps the least explored area of social business is in connecting the company’s network of supplier and partner organizations. You should be holding monthly goal reassessment sessions, even if they’re only five minutes long, to make sure you know what that end is.
Very few businesses are entirely self-sufficient, so communication with other companies is essential. Perhaps you want to grow sales of a particular product or you’re looking to increase your Twitter followers to spread the word about an upcoming trade show. Yet business-to-business social networking is still in its infancy, with email still used as the lowest common denominator for communication.
Whatever your aim, make sure that you are furthering your goals through your social media strategies instead of simply tweeting or Facebooking without a purpose. Establishing cross-company, private social networks can apply the productivity benefits noted by McKinsey to the wider supply chain. She has worked for the past 8 years in marketing and event management for high profile UK companies. With a passion for digital marketing and visual social media and, when she isn’t running our international events, makes jewellery and writes a food blog. I work in the area of online marketing and there’s one story that has recently caught my attention about a guy called Lorne Marr whose business became successful thanks to a perfect job done by a little company he hired. The popularity of his website grew when the full power of social media was yet to be discovered but as he says it’s the use of social media tools that keep his business competitive even today. Web design.Interested in social advertising but can't make this date?Leave your details and we'll keep you updated about this and future courses (we only email very occasionally).

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