A Beginner’s Social Media Guide for Small Businesses

social media how to Are you ready to connect with a wider audience?

Want to know the best ways to leverage social media for your small business?

If you haven’t used social media to market your products and services, you’re going to love how easy it is to get started.

In this article, I’ll show you seven steps you can take to make social media marketing work for you.

Why Social Media for Small Businesses?

As a startup or small business owner, you know there’s a lot to accomplish with limited resources.

Traditional marketing can be a drain on your funds. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is pretty low-cost and gives you a direct line to current and prospective customers.

istock keyboard image

Social media offers small businesses a cost-effective way to reach their customers. Image source: iStockPhoto.com.

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3 Strategies for Finding Customers With Social Media

social media how toDo you need a strategy to reach your ideal prospects with social media?

Are you overwhelmed by all the social media options?

If so, you’re not alone. Social media overwhelm is one of the biggest challenges businesses face.

In this article, I’m going to show you three social media strategies so you can focus your efforts on the channels that best align with your business objective and target audience.

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30 Social Media Predictions for 2012 From the Pros

social media viewpointsHow will social media impact businesses in 2012?

We sought expert opinions from a wide range of pros you’re likely familiar with.

We are grateful for the dozens of social media professionals who have written over 600 articles for us since we started Social Media Examiner in October 2009.

To give you a glimpse of what we can expect in the next 12 months, we decided to tap their knowledge and expertise. Here are their predictions of where social media is headed in the next 12 months.

#1: Businesses consolidate social media activities

Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner @mike_stelzner

As the social media landscape becomes more crowded in 2012, businesses will pick their battles and dig in. What used to be simply Facebook and Twitter is now Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (and who knows what’s next). On top of this, you have many specialty networks like Foursquare, Yelp and Instagram.

The old mantra of “be everywhere” will quickly be replaced with “be where it matters to our business.”

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7 Steps For a Successful Social Media Strategy

social media how toAccording to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Report , 67% of marketers plan to increase their use of social media channels including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.

As more companies integrate social media into their marketing and communications plans, emphasis needs to be on creating a social media strategy.  Without a strategy, you’ll undoubtedly be sucked into a social media time sink.

So how exactly do you develop this strategy?

It’s easy.  Here’s a practical approach to developing a social media strategy for your business.

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4 Ways to Measure Social Media and Its Impact on Your Brand

social media how toDo you know how social media is helping your business? Want to find out how Twitter, Facebook and other sites are impacting your brand awareness?

The good news is social media has finally made it to the grand stage of “accountability.” A place where there are lots of people who want to measure it. The bad news is there isn’t a single clear-cut answer.

However, with a few simple steps, you can build a measurement strategy that accomplishes your goals.

Defining Terms

To start, let’s agree that brand awareness is a measure of how recognizable your brand is to your target audience. For those looking to get ahead of the curve on social media measurement, the first step is to align your social media metrics with metrics your company is already comfortable with.

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10 Ways to Cut Through the Social Media Noise and Be Heard

social media how to

Once you find time for social media and move from social chatter to using social media for a purpose, you’ll see firsthand how difficult it can be to get noticed.

You might be using social media for marketing, campaigning or bringing attention to a worthy cause, but you’ll be battling against every other person who has the same intention or is just there for a fun time.

How do you cut through all the social media noise and get people to notice what you have to say?

Fact is, it’s not always easy.  To help you, here are 10 ways to make your message more likely to get noticed

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9 Ways to Enhance Your Facebook Fan Page

social media how toFacebook fan pages number among the few social media channels that allow page customization for users. Instead of a mediocre interface, business owners and professionals can now apply HTML code to enhance their Facebook fan page presence to promote and build business branding.

Rich content creates a memorable interface that gets people talking, lets a special announcement or contest go viral, improves fans’ engagement and so much more.

To create an important hub to reach out to millions of potential supporters, you need to up your game and optimize your fan page to meet its ultimate purpose.

(Important Update: Facebook no longer supports FBML. Please refer to the articles on Facebook iFrame.) Everything is possible, thanks to the powerful Facebook application known as Static FBML. Many people may be unaware of the advanced functionality FBML gives a fan page, such as creating and naming your tabs or boxes freely. For those who are curious just how powerful Static FBML can get, we’re going to inspect it all here:

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Social Media Integration Big Theme for 2010

social media researchSocial media integration is becoming a big buzzword this year.  As social media marketing matures and starts playing a bigger role within marketing campaigns, businesses are beginning to see that social media can be integrated into many channels.

Here are two current studies that show how the integration of social media marketing is changing the way marketers connect and engage with their audiences—online and offline.

#1:  Marketers Ditch Silo Campaigns and Report Social Media as “Critical for Success” (Alterian)

As digital and social media marketing mature, the demand for greater integration is evident. Marketers are quickly realizing that operating in a one-way marketing tunnel makes success impossible in this social media–saturated world.

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