Social Media 101 for Small Businesses

Posted on 10/2/2014.

Are you using social media to promote your business?

If not, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table. According to Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, more than half of marketers who had been using social media for at least a year said they were generating leads on their social platforms.

The report also revealed that 84% of participants got more website traffic, and 58% of those who had been using social media for a year or longer had improved their search engine rankings.

Social media can also be a huge help when it comes to boosting your direct mail response. Here are some tips for effectively integrating social media into your marketing mix:

Encourage customers to “like” you

No, not you personally, though that helps too. What we’re talking about here, though, is encouraging your direct mail recipients to “like” your Facebook page (or follow you on Twitter and/or your other social networks).

Social media is a great way to interact with customers, run contests and promotions, and build buzz for your brand — but only if they’re following you. One simple way of gaining these follows is to provide an incentive for that like or share, such as a coupon or other special offer.

Harness the QR code

Another way to entice more visitors to your social networks is to use a QR code on your direct mail piece. When scanned with a smartphone, this code can send the recipient directly to your social page.

You can also add a different QR code to each new mailing, so you can increase exposure for a different network or your own website.

Post regularly

Now that you’ve got your customers on your social media page, what do they see? A fun, thriving page with lots of activity and interaction with you and other customers? Or an abandoned space where the last post was six months ago and customer questions go unanswered?

The number one rule for social media marketing is to stay active on the platforms you choose. You’ll need to post regularly, be responsive to customer comments and questions, and make sure your page is an engaging place for customers to visit. Otherwise, they’ll have no reason to follow you.

Integrate direct mail and social media messaging

Got a new direct mail piece going out soon with an enticing offer? Be sure to tease it on your social media profiles!

You don’t want to reveal the details of the offer, but announcing that there’s going to be a sweet deal inside will build anticipation — and boost the number of direct mail pieces that actually get read.

According to Pew Internet, 74% of online adults were using social networking sites as of January 2014. With so many people frequenting social networks, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to embrace social media. Adding a social component to your direct mail campaign is a great way to do that — and a great way to improve your success rates on both channels.