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ONLINE MARKETING

Secrets to a Successful Social Media Strategy

The secret to successful social media marketing is to use what you've already got. Don't think you have anything? Think again.

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If you're like most busy business owners, you're probably thinking to yourself, "I barely have enough time to run my company, now I have to worry about social media?"

Social media can seem overwhelming and daunting, but if you break it down into tiny little pieces, it's actually quite doable. And with new, affordable management tools on the market every day, the process can be more than worth it to your bottom line.

I just hosted 15 customers at our VerticalResponse offices and talked to them about this very subject. One woman, who sells her goods on eBay, posts to Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter every hour. But another woman doesn't because she doesn't really know where to begin or what to say.

This is what we say to people: You've got a ton of great content at your fingertips that you might not think is interesting, but I'll tell you, your followers do! Your followers follow or like you for a reason. Keeping in front of them could get them talking about you to their friends, and guess what? If they're a customer, their friends are probably a lot like them, which means potential customers for you.

Share Great Content

1. Pictures and Videos

If you sell goods, you've got pictures. Got employees? Take pictures of them! Going to an event for business? Snap away! Research has shown that pictures or videos posted to social networks get the highest degree of engagement. The more people like, comment or retweet your pictures, the more new eyeballs your business might get exposed to.

2. Press

If you've got a press release about a new product, service or an award you've won, post it! Same goes for any news articles or mentions in the media.

3. Sales

I've seen some really great companies give interesting discounts to social media followers only. So why not publish a discount, free shipping or a free gift with purchase every Thursday? That'll definitely keep things interesting.

4. Cool Articles

You're consuming articles and interesting things on your own social networks or publications you like. It's overly acceptable to post that information. If you think it's worth reading, chances are your followers will, too.

Save Time by Pre-Scheduling Posts

If you can't remember to post something interesting to your social networks when it happens, no problem! I suggest you reserve about 20 minutes per month to pre-schedule tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts. This way you'll know that if you forget that moment or are having a super busy day, you're still sharing content with your followers. (You still want to publish spur-of-the-moment posts, of course.) There are several low-cost social media management tools out there, like Sprout Social, HootSuite or my company's VerticalResponse Social tool. It's sure saved me a ton of time and still lets my company remain relevant in the social sphere.

Social media can boost your business if you let it, and it doesn't take a lot to get out there and begin. Use what you've got and post away!

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

IMAGE: Flickr
Last updated: Aug 31, 2012

JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000.
@janinepopick




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