With everyone moving their business online, you need to make sure your small business doesn’t get lost in the wave. Using social media outreach can ensure the people who you want to see you can see you. But, there are some key things you can do to make sure your outreach is working properly to support your brand reach online.
What is Social Media Outreach?
Social media outreach is used to raise awareness about your brand and its products or services. It also helps build new relationships; hopefully those relationships become strong advocates of your brand. This outreach helps further your brand’s awareness to another audience outside of your typical sphere.
You want to make sure you do this in the right way. You want to build genuine relationships with your customers, not just something superficial.
Around 70 percent of brand marketers agree influencer-budgets increased in 2018 and are expected to increase in 2019. With so many brands flooding the market, it’s important you don’t spam your customers. You want to start reaching out, not annoying.
You will be surprised at how easy it is to get started.
Why Use Social Media?
So many businesses are already using social media, around 88 percent in fact. You don’t want to be behind the curve for very long.
There is a lot that can be done on social media on a small budget. While the older way of doing marketing can cost a lot of money, social media outreach can cost little to nothing. Since it is pretty low cost and gives you a direct line to your customers, social media is an amazing tool to support your brand awareness goals.
Running a small business means you have to make sure you get as much bang for your buck as you can. Social outreach is the best outlet to do that.
Do You Use a Personal or Business Account?
There are pros and cons to using a personal or business account to do your social media outreach. What you choose will greatly depend on your brand and what your goal is.
If you or your social medial manager use your personal profile to communicate with your connections it could make your outreach feel more personal. Instead of talking to a faceless company they are talking to Jane Smith who works for that company. But, if your posts and communications are salesy in design vs. conversational or informational not only could you allienate your connections quickly, you could put your account in jeopardy of being closed by the platform. You need to know the rules of use and engagement for each social platform to avoid compliance penalties.
On the other hand, if you use a professional account you will seem more official and will potentially be seen by more people since privacy settings are different for those profiles (public vs. private). This is even more true if your brand is already established. Some people feel more comfortable being approached by a company rather than a random person they’ve had no previous connection with. One of the reasons for this is a growing concern about online scams; people believe a company is a lot harder to fake, so there’s a built-in legitimacy there if the business profile is completed correctly and thoroughly.
We suggest if you choose to use a personal profile you make sure it is very clear on both you personal page and the company’s website you, indeed, work for the company and what your position is. A good way of doing this is to have the company mentioned in your personal social profile. Alternatively, you should have an employee page on your website with names and pictures with links to their personal social profiles (this works well for LinkedIn profiles).
Make Your Prospects List
Just like the decision on what type of account to use, how you make your prospects list will depend a lot on your company and brand. Also, how you reach out to them will directly tie in with how you deploy your social outreach.
You want to start to put together your list of prospects based on your target market. If you don’t know who your target market is, this would be the time to fully flush it out. Things like age, location, marital status, and spending habits should all play a roll in who your target market is.
Don’t just go following and friending everyone, it will be hard to track and your engagement rate will suffer from it.
Make Sure All Your Channels Work Together
It’s good to remember not all social media platforms are created equal. Depending on what your business does, some channels will work better for you than others.You should put some effort into multiple outlets so you’re visible where your potential audience lives online, but reserve your efforts to one or two core focus platforms.
To understand which one(s) you should choose as your core, you need to know a little bit about all of them.
With that being said, your website should always be your central hub. All your efforts should be funneled into getting people there for more information about your brand, your mission, your solutions, your geographi-availability, and more. Use the 80/20 rule – Coordinate 80% of your social media outreach to push people backto your website and you can’t go wrong. You should also have your social media in a prominent place on your website, along with a feed so your customers can easily find you find either direction.
Make Sure Your Profiles Are Ready to be Seen
Before you start your social media outreach, you need to make sure your profiles are ready to be seen. Regardless of what type of profile you decide to use, make sure you have a professional photo as your display or profile picture.
Keep in mind these don’t need to be a professionally done headshot but they shouldn’t be out of focus or represent your company in a way you don’t like. For instance, if your company is family friendly, you don’t want the profile photo including someone drinking or smoking. Business profiles would do well to use a brand logo to reinforce this brand when the posts are seen and shared.
If it is a personal page, make sure your company is clearly labeled in the bio as well as on your cover image(s). You also want to make sure all of your profiles link back to your website (and vice versa). After all, the point of social media is to gain more customers.
You don’t want your profile to be dull, because then people will look right past you. The more interesting your profile is the more likely it is people will engage with you. This means you will need a mix of work/product related posts along with fun posts. Remember, just because you’re sharing your business on social media doesn’t mean you need to “sell, sell, sell”. . . it is, afterall, SOCIAL media. You’re there to make aware, engage, and connect.
Bring all Your Efforts Together
Use what we have explained to pull it all together with a complete plan of attack and your social media outreach can’t lose. And remember, when you’re running a small business this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.