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Leveraging Social Media

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Many small business owners are naturally wondering, “How can I leverage social media better?” Right from the beginning, it’s important to remember to keep it simple; don’t go over the top with your social media efforts, but rather take a smart, planned approach that gets the biggest bang for your buck. Specifically, a lot of business owners struggle with determining who to go after—who their targets are on social media. The key is to determine a target persona, identifying your optimal customer to buy what you’re selling—otherwise, you’re wasting time and money.

Don’t just throw your social media efforts out into the wind; knock on doors with a targeted approach. A straight-forward way to identify your target personas and leverage social media most effectively is to ask yourself the classic “W” questions.

Who?
First up is identifying who your prospect is. There are all kinds of characteristics you might look at:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Career
  • Interests
  • Political Views
  • Likes/Dislikes

Believe it or not, a lot of this information is not only easily found, but it’s free, too. Beyond simple brainstorming about your likely customers, you can do research using various analytic tools online. That might include Facebook Insights, which provide information about the people who like your page, giving you a feel for what people are most interested in your business.

What?
Once you know who you are targeting, what do you want them to do? Do you want them to read a blog post? Visit your website? Buy a product? Visit a partner or affiliate page? There are all kinds of options for what you want people to do as a result of your social media involvement—but you have to tell them. Use clear, concise calls to action that tell people exactly what you want them to do. You may know what you want, but unless you spell it out for other people, they might not do what you’re expecting.

Where?
You can’t be everything to everybody—and this is where a lot of small business owners get in trouble on social media. There are so many options out there, and you might try to be doing everything on all of them. But if you are going everywhere, then you’re probably not effective anywhere. Instead, ask yourself where your targets are—what networks do they use? You don’t necessarily need to be on every social network; pick the two or three best for your purpose and go there. That will help you concentrate your efforts so that you are generating higher quality content but also reaching more people more efficiently. Also understand yourself—what kind of content you are producing.

When?
You might not think about it, but it makes a big difference when you engage on social media. When are your targets online? Publish your content when the most people in your target groups will be online and active. For example, you’ll want to reach business people either early in the morning, at lunch time, or late at night. Retirees, on the other hand, might be active throughout the day and early evening. You’ll get a better feel for when the best time to post is by experimenting. Post similar content at different times of the day—and on different days of the week. Then compare to see what gets the best results. But make sure that you are really using similar content for your tests. You can’t compare the results of a video versus a blog post, to test your “when?” because all that might tell you is that people prefer one form of content over another, not what time frame works most effectively.

Published: June 25, 2013
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Business Coaching On Demand was formed out of the need to provide small business with expedited results in today's competitive marketplace. We recognize that sometimes small business is overlooked and when services are available, they are generally priced too high to be implemented immediately. We also realize that many small business people have no idea where to go for the help and support they need.

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