If social media isn’t yet one of the pillars of your marketing strategy, it’s time to make sure you incorporate it in 2014. Why? Because social media is here to stay and has become a marketing/communications mainstay for businesses large and small, in every sector.
For small businesses, social media marketing offers some distinct advantages. It’s no- (or low-) cost. In most cases, it’s easy. It allows you to connect with customers in ways you never could before. It’s interactive, giving you customer research you’ve never had before. For all these reasons, it’s helped level the playing field between big companies and small businesses. It allows you to compete in ways you never could before.
In the last year or two, small businesses have flocked to social media marketing in droves. Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube are favorites among small business owners, but Instagram and Pinterest have gained serious ground among the small business crowd. And location-based channels like FourSquare and Yelp have become staples for legions of small businesses.
But as social media channels and apps proliferate, how can you make sure that 2014’s strategy is moving you forward? There are ways to up your social media game, says contributor Elizabeth Kent on Social Media Today. She outlines four ways to improve your social media marketing strategy in 2014 based on trends that emerged over the course of 2013:
- Diversify your social media presence.
Keep the tried and true but find out where your customers are and bulk up your strategy with new social media alternatives like Vine and Snapchat.
- Share photo & video content.
Kent suggests a one-two punch: Increasing the amount of interactive content you’re sharing across networks plus building your presence on photo and video-specific networks. One prediction for next year: Micro-video in particular is here to stay, which means focusing on Instagram and Vine.
- Revamp your content marketing strategy.
Kent says that even with the explosion of photo and video sharing, content marketing is still big and should get even bigger in 2014. She cites studies that say that businesses with blogs generate nearly 70 percent more leads than those who don’t! The name of the game is useful, engaging information that is relevant to your audience(s).
- Focus on local & mobile advertising..
Mobile and mobile advertising have been growing exponentially, and 2013 was no exception! Location-based advertising is naturally linked with mobile. It’s now a given that you must be able to engage with customers and prospects in real time, and location-based advertising through mobile is just the ticket you need to do this.
Social Media Examiner (SME) calls itself “your guide to the social media jungle.” And a jungle it’s truly becoming, for sure, with so many new and different options. After all, SME says, big companies have teams of people to figure out this social media marketing stuff! Small businesses, on the other hand, need to master tools and shortcuts to be able to navigate the choices and to leverage social media to its full effectiveness.
To that end, contributor Ian Cleary offers 45 social media tools and tips to improve your marketing. Admittedly, the list is a little overwhelming at first glance. But as Cleary says, using some of these tips to strategically choose your tools will help you get the most out of your social media marketing. So pour yourself a cup of coffee, and take your time going through this list. It’s well worth your time, and will help you launch 2014 with a bang!
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