Professional Social Media Optimizations for Small Business
Small businesses have big marketing potential when it comes to professional social media use. Social media marketing is more than using the tech tools, it’s how the tools are used strategically that makes marketing magic. Here are some professional social media marketing ideas and optimizations (for what you may already have) that can be put to work quickly and easily for branding, building, and boosting your business.
To get the most mileage from your Twitter account as a business-boosting tool, be sure that your profile clearly says who you are, what you do and links to your website or blog. Take the time to write your profile so it is marketing-ready. That small profile character count can make a large impact to increase searches within Twitter and secure followers. Example: Realtor Stephanie Young’s profile on Twitter shows her authentic personality but also her profession and reads: “Wife, Mom, Realtor — in that order :)”
You can also optimize the background design of your Twitter page so that it is customized to your business. The design can include important marketing points like your logo, business phone number, website and email. Integrate your Twitter design with your brand to boost business actions. Look at other businesses on Twitter to get ideas, then optimize the background design so your Twitter page is on brand and on purpose.
If you blog, your blog can automatically (or as I like to say, autoMAGICally!) feed into Twitter with easy-to-use free tools like www.TwitterFeed.com. And be sure to tap your inner “web gemologist” and share tweets that are “gems” of information. People want relevant, valuable, and entertaining content on Twitter — not a bunch of sales content. If you are an active Twitter user, make sure there is a visible Twitter widget on your website and/or blog. Last Twitter professional optimization tip: don’t discount the value of a nice, smiling profile picture. This warmth can help you attract customers. A photo can be taken by a friend or with a photographer, whatever works best for your budget.
LinkedIn can be more than just a professional networking opportunity; it can also be a piece of marketing collateral to build visibility and credibility for your business. First things first, start by making sure your personal profile is complete. Most of us set our LinkedIn profiles then forgot about them. Go back to the “Edit Profile” feature and make sure it is up to date! Take advantage of all the new profile features, they are added all the time.
Are you using descriptive words that people might be searching on that communicate your products or services? The more you accurately communicate what you do professionally with descriptive phrases, the more likely you are to get searched and found by prospective clients or other professionals who can support your business. Take time to include a robust summary that puts your best foot forward.
Make sure your profile links to your website(s) and blog (if you have one) and links to your Twitter account as well. Your blog can also automatically feed into your profile, you just go into the “Add Sections” area when you are under the “Edit Profile” setting and under Applications you can add a blog feed. Look for this on your profile to get started.
Once your professional profile is updated, be sure to take advantage of the Company page profile option on LinkedIn. You can get more visibility for your company when you set up your LinkedIn company page by visiting http://learn.linkedin.com/company-pages/#setup. You will want your company description to be rich with words that you want to be searched and found on (just like your personal profile).
If you already have a company page, you can optimize it by adding to the new Services tab (see below) and expand more on what you do. You can link your blog to your company page and even embed videos to your company page.
If you would like to connect more with customers and partners on LinkedIn, add a simple widget on your website or blog.
Having a company page on LinkedIn also helps people who see your employees’ personal pages see more about your company, because their personal profiles will connect to your company profile all through the automatic syncing LinkedIn offers.
Facebook can be more than just sharing photos and socializing with friends; it can be a great hub for business communications. A Facebook business page can help funnel customers to a place where they can communicate, collaborate, and you can offer customer service.
With tools like Networked Blogs, you can automatically sync your blog to feed into your Facebook business page.
Effective March 30th, 2012, all tabs on side of the page (see the example to your right) will no longer be available in Facebook business pages. They are turning to the Timeline layout, so be prepared for this change. To be ready for the new design and layout, decide on a graphic (851 x 315 pixels) which can display logos, products, people, etc.
Buying ads on Facebook may also be worth exploring if you want to gain more professional awareness to your website or get people onto your Facebook page. You can explore the targeting options before you buy by playing with the “Create an Ad” feature on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ads/create/.
YouTube can be a great vehicle to share your videos, but remember that it is also the #2 search engine on the Internet, so your videos can multi-task to help pull searches. Just like meta tags on web pages can be optimized to boost search engine visibility, your video titles, descriptions, and tags can be “peppered” with search phrases that help educate the search engines and your prospective customers what each video is about. If you already have a YouTube channel, go back and make sure your titles, descriptions and tags are key phrase rich. In this example, Santa Barbara jeweler Calla Gold has a video of her speech in New York labeled with the search phrase “santa barbara jeweler” in the title to be search-ready.
To give your YouTube channel more professional polish, you can optimize it with a custom background design. Like Twitter, you can have a background that had your logo, business description and images. When you are logged into your YouTube channel, visit the “Edit my channel” and under “Appearance” you will see a background image area to add the artwork to. Below is an example of a customer YouTube background design.
YouTube has changed its channels to offer owners more features. So be sure to login to your account and make sure it has a good name and description, since potential subscribers will see this when previewing your channel. You can also add links to websites or other social media accounts, so take advantage of that to help integrate your social media marketing.
Google+ for Business
The newest social media professional option for small business is Google+. Google+ business pages can be a new social media avenue to help you connect with customers. Like other social media marketing, Google+ for business allows you to share content, links, photos and promotions. Reviews can be posted on Google+ and you can create circles that allow you to share the right things with the right types of customers for more meaningful marketing messaging. The “hangouts” feature where you can do video conversations is a strong distinction compared to the other social media channels.
To start with Google + for Business, visit http://www.google.com/+/business/ to watch the video. You can optimize your profile to have a feed from your blog, photos, videos, and a robust “about page” description. Your “about page” description can also have links back to your website which is valuable to boost website traffic. Here is an example of my company’s Google + page. We just got set up on Google+ and love it!
Link, Sync, and Think
There are so many wonderful social media marketing options that professionals can leverage to brand, build, and boost business. Before you move onto new channels, optimize the channels you already have with the tips above, then branch out. The name of the social media marketing game is to:
Link your social media to each other when you can. Have widgets on your website and blog to help give your customers choices on how to engage with your company. Make sure all the social media channels you use link back and forth to each other whenever possible. Here is an example of a blog that has links to its social media channels like Facebook, Google +, Twitter, YouTube, and back to its website.
Sync your social media when you can. Take advantage of syncing tools, such as automatically syncing your blog to LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. YouTube videos can sync up with your Facebook page and LinkedIn company page.
Think about creative ways you can use social media’s marketing power for the good of your business. Oh, you already did that by reading this article! Nice work!
Enjoy your professional social media marketing process. Small steps can make a big difference, so take these ideas and implement what you can over time.