Small Business Online in 2013 - Case Study: Jonathan Gatz Fitness
Over the past 5 years, most companies have become comfortable in maintaining a Facebook page and ensuring that their website updates, photos and little status updates were kept up-to-date here. Facebook has morphed and evolved over the years, and is now a tried and true success story in how companies can best promote and market themselves online. The trick here for maximizing any social media marketing outreach is a combination of "reach" and "engagement", getting the message out to a decent number of fans/followers and developing messaging that these folks will want to share, comment, like or ReTweet... all part of an "engagement" strategy that allows businesses to speak "with" their constituents and interact with them in ways that are unrivaled in the history of business marketing outreach (and customer service, but that's another story topic).
For most companies, the formula is:
- Post updates, links (to your company's info and info that is related to your company's industry), photos and videos on Facebook and ensure they are all connected and tagged properly (using the @ symbol).
- Post these updates to Twitter, either automated by connecting accounts at www.facebook.com/twitter, using a service such as HootSuite.com or TwitterFeed.com or posting manually. Note that it's important to ensure your social media content goes into Twitter... everything from social media monitoring services, programs that measure "trends" in your industry, as well as Google Search, use Twitter as their #1 source of content to analyze.
- Ensure some of your posts are also included on LinkedIn Groups related to your industry, as well as your personal and/or business Google+ Profile. Note that LinkedIn and Google Plus, as well as Twitter, all use the @ symbol when connecting updates to actual member profiles... a very powerful social media feature.
Outside of Facebook, content should be posted using some of the following social media resources:
- Photos on Instagram, tagged both by traditional photo tagging (connecting photo faces to actual user profiles, just like in Facebook), as well as #hashtags, fast becoming one of the most powerful means of ensuring your content is discovered, viewed and measured online.
- Videos on YouTube and Vine. Note that these are two distinct styles of video services... Vine is a new program, very similar to Instagram, which allows for 6-second videos to be taken, shared, tagged and hashtagged. Vine is part of Twitter now, and integrates quite nicely... in today's fast-paced world, a quick-loading 6-second video will get noticed and watched, increasing your company's overall outreach and exposure.
- Written content in blog format - if your company puts out some really good articles, reviews, etc., using a blog for this content simple ensures it spreads as far and wide as possible. Blogs go hand-in-hand with social media marketing and can be tagged for improved content discoverability and search as well. Free blog software is provided by Blogger.com and Tumblr.com.
- Content curation and bookmarking - if you're out there daily, staying on top of trends, articles and videos related to your industry, and you like to share these finds with others, both as a way of "giving back" to the community, as well as enhancing your position in your industry as a leader, influencer and trend setter, then these services are for you. Social bookmarking is best done using Delicious.com, while content curation, compiling some of the best articles you read into a theme others can view, is best done using Flipboard.com and Scoop.it.
The areas that have improved tremendously in 2013 include the empowerment of user-generated content for your business OUTSIDE of Facebook. This includes the social media sharing programs that also use hashtag technology, such as Instagram, Vine and Tumblr. It also includes various ways for you as a business to display this content, measure it and analyze it in order to make your online marketing outreach the best it can be.
Let's start with RebelMouse.com. This is an incredible piece of online software which compiles all of your social media outreach into one screen, organized chronologically and displayed in Pinterest-style tile format, as seen below. Monitoring this account daily, as well as sharing with your online fans/followers/customers, will allow you to both see in one quick, easy-to-read format what is happening in your business's world online, as well as monitor what others are saying and sharing with you as well.