This September we spoke a lot about social media. And we had our first experience using Blab.im, a really nice tool for live conversations. To be specific, Blab is a live streaming platform that enables a public video chat between two, three, or four participants at a time. Viewers can watch the live stream and participate by leaving comments. If one of the four seats is vacant, a viewer can request to join the chat.
Olga Andrienko, the Head of Social Media at SEMrush, hosted her first chat. We are glad to introduce you our Blab chat participants.
It was definitely a productive talk! Participants discussed several issues concerning social media and how small businesses can use it to promote their products and services. Marketing experts shared their experience and useful tips that can help small and medium-sized companies compete in the big business world.
Social media can be a powerful tool even for small and local companies. But it is important to use it correctly and fine-tune your strategies and techniques.
Let’s dive into this topic!
First Steps for Launching Social Media for Small Businesses
Martin: There are a lot of social networks, and it can be really hard for local businesses craving more customers to orient themselves. Positive reviews and having a presence in your field are most important for local companies. It is good for your company to be mentioned on review sites, like Yelp and Google Reviews. People pay more attention to reviews today.
Sam: Also, there are review stars that appear under your PPC Ads.
Lukasz: Trustpilot is good for any business, because the outcome of using it is tremendous. Thirty reviews gained in three months will allow you to use these stars organically.
Martin: In addition, another important aspect of success on the web is trust, and also social.
Despite the fact that it can be tough for small businesses to compete in the modern world of social media, you can take the first steps for social media. It is important to assert yourself and get more reviews on the Internet, including Google Reviews and popular websites, such as Yelp.
How Can Small Businesses Integrate Social Media into Their Marketing Strategies?
Sam: First of all, you should understand which social media platforms meet your needs better than the others. There is no point in being on 10 different platforms. Just see which platforms are doing well, and where your clients are. Concentrate on just two or three of them; this especially applies to small businesses. For example, it might be Twitter that you should start with. Also, find out what bigger brands are doing. You can watch their campaigns and scale them down. You don’t have to spend the same budget as they do. And another thing — if you want to promote your content, make sure that it is easy to share on the web. And make it easy to follow you on social media as well.
Lukasz: Facebook is definitely the best platform to start with. The way it allows you to narrow your audience is unique. No other social media network provides this feature.
If you run a local business, you should see which social media platforms suit you best. Track your targeted audience and choose two or three networks to begin with. For small businesses, Facebook and Twitter are good platforms to start with. And don’t forget to pay attention to the examples of bigger companies.
How Much of a Company’s PPC and Social Media Spend Can Work Hand in Hand?
Lukasz: These days it is risky to rely solely on organic traffic. However, it can be fantastic as an additional source of assistance. If you can make PPC work for a positive ROI, this is a win-win situation. From that point, you can start spending on your social media and other activities, because you are safe with your traffic. You always have PPC to pay your bills.
Starting a company that will be based only on organic traffic is risky. Optimize your spending and combine different strategies.
Small Businesses’ Social Media Mistakes
Sam: One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is too much self-promotion. The whole point of social media is to help people. So, 80 percent of your content should be focused on that. Another thing is that some businesses don’t accurately measure how well their social media is doing. Use the UTM tracking in your links to see which posts are performing the best. And don’t create the same content on every single platform, because it can be boring for your readers.
Martin: Another mistake is that people expect this year to be the same as the previous one. The way people contact each other is constantly changing. Things are moving, and you should move with them. You should stay on top of them. You have to take advice, especially if you are a small business.
Sam: By the way, in Google Analytics, you can see if people who visit your website came from social media first and then left and came back from PPC. You can see if social media took part in the conversion.
When promoting your content, make sure that it helps people. Don’t try to promote yourself only. Another big mistake is staying the same. You should develop constantly and learn to listen to advice. Also, measuring and analytics are crucial.
The Relationship Between Social Media and SEO
Lukasz: Today we can’t separate these entities. Social media, SEO, and PPC specialists are all in sync right now. And the SEO discipline is in the middle of everything now: more or less it attracts every area in a company. If you want to build a relationship with another website, attract link building, and get better content; the best example to consider is SEMrush. They’re doing a great job on social media. They are building relations: participating in online conversations like this one, attending conferences, etc. Still, there is the question of resources. Not every company can afford to do this kind of work, because some lack resources. This is the downside of this strategy.
Sam: Still, small companies, for example, a local flower shop, can build an Instagram community and get everyone in their community on social media.
Lukasz: Exactly! Even Twitter can be a really great source for building this kind of a community.
Today, building a community on social media is crucial. Even a small company can do this, working with Instagram or Twitter first.
Social Media Tools
Lukasz: One of the tools I use is ViralContentBuzz. It is not so popular, but it is a big thing that has the viral element. You give a piece of information that could be shared by your community, which is around ViralContentBuzz. Another one I use is Sniply. If you share a lot of content from different resources, this tool is essential for you. Paperli is also great. It is generally about building websites from an RSS and other sources. So, if you don’t have time for your own website, you can use an RSS to build one. It costs $9 per month, and you can put this on your main domain.
Martin: One of our Twitter Chat participants recommends Buzzsumo. I love this tool. You can find a lot of great content with it. And there are great features in Buzzumo’s Pro plan.
Olga: In the last episode of our Social Media Examiner podcast, @Mike_Stelzner recommended SumoMe. It is sounded like an awesome suggestion. A Pro plan is only $20. You can integrate UTM tracking into your links and track your referral traffic that comes from social shares and estimate it effect.
Sam: There are two more tools I’d like to add: Start A FIRE and Tweet Jukebox. The first one is similar to Sniply, and it is completely free at the moment. If you share another person’s content on social media, and someone clicks on that link, at the bottom of the screen it will say, for example, “Martin Shervington shared this.” And there will be a link to your page. It can bring visitors to your website from the content you shared. And Tweet Jukebox automatically thanks your top engagers on Twitter.
It is always worth trying and testing different social media tools. Some of them will meet to your needs better than others. You can also use the recommendations mentioned above by our chat participants.
What is the Number One Social Media Issue Businesses Face Today?
Sam: For small business owners, it’s measuring progress.
Martin: So, you should understand how you are going to measure your success?
Sam: Exactly. And also, you should understand whether or not your progress aligns with your business goals. If you are doing social media, ask yourself: How does this align with what the whole business is trying to achieve?”
Martin: By trying to be everywhere, we can actually appear to be nowhere. Do your research, find where your audience is, find good ways to build a community, and create good content. Speaking of content, it’s not just about broadcasting, but also about communication. Trust can be built between you and real people. When you find your audience, you should start a conversation.
Evangelos: Most of us try to build trust with social media. It’s the reason why we are here—to connect. When it comes to social media struggles, people often make the following mistake. They are only product oriented, and products do not resonate with everyone. Building trust is very important. Face recognition is also trust. Still, it definitely depends on the information you provide.
First of all, set your business goals and decide how you will measure your success. If you are going to use social media channels, you should understand whether or not your activities correlate with your business goals. And start communicating with your audience. Today, building trust is crucial for your business. And social media can be a real help when you are trying to do this.
Sam: Our company is creating content to share on social media for our clients, because it is important to have some good blog content on your website to start with.
Martin: We can see how SEMrush has become a part of the blogging community. It publishes four unique posts on its blog daily, and it connects with other bloggers. That is why they are doing so well.
Casey: I am also following SEMrush Blog and I have noticed that it has friends among other bloggers. And this is great. My specialty is SEO, and I can say that content has become one of the key parts of SEO. Building relationships with webmasters is also important. What we can do is build a community between SEO specialists and content writers. Also, today, people pay more attention to life streaming. For example, they are using Blab and other websites. And there we try to connect with industry experts.
Today, content plays a major role for everyone who owns a website and deals with SEO. As a result, we should pay more attention to it. Quality content is a must. And again, it is important to stay active on social media and build relationships with other bloggers, webmasters, SEO specialists and content writers.
As an extra bonus, we were lucky enough to have a chance to speak with an expert from another industry. Mitch Jackson is a lawyer and an active user of social networks. He shared his experience with social media.
Mitch: It is a game-changing time right now. And one of the most beautiful things I enjoy about social media is that it can show the human side of lawyers. It shows the human side of what we do. Actually, every business can do that. Reviews, recommendations, and testimonials are crucial things. Social credibility validates you for someone who has decided to stop by your site.
During the conversation, we discussed several important social media and business issues.
- The first steps small businesses can take with social media
- Several ways that companies can integrate social media into their marketing strategies
- PPC and social media budgeting
- Social media mistakes businesses can make
- The relationship between social media and SEO
- Social media tools
- Important social media issues people face today
- Several content marketing issues
Thanks again to everyone for their invaluable tips!