Getting Started with Social Media – A Small Business Checklist

One thing I've learned from my work with clients and my presentations to thousands of audience members in dozens of industries, is that most small business are just getting started with social media.

And their concerns with using it cover a range of challenges, with an equal number of associated emotions.  Mostly, they want to have a simple plan to follow, which is why I have assembled this list.  You can use it to get started, fill in a few gaps, and successfully assemble a team to better manage the skills necessary to succeed.

IStock_000007915073XSmall A Social Media Checklist for Small Businesses

Do This Now

  1. Set up Google Alerts to monitor your personal and business brands.
  2. Claim your personal and business usernames on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Gmail.
  3. Register your business with Google Local.

Getting Started

  1. Build a personal bio with the focus on what you do, who you do it for, and how it benefits them
  2. Set up your personal Google  Profile.  As you add new social media networks, be sure to link them into your profile.
  3. Identify keywords that connect your expertise with current and potential customers.
  4. Complete your personal profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook – and start connecting with friends, colleagues, and clients.
  5. Experiment with this technology and study the environment of the respective networks to determine which are best suited for you and your business.

Build Your Team

  1. Choose a coach to manage the integration of your social media marketing strategy with your company mission, current marketing objectives, and your sales process.  If you are the business owner, this may be you.
  2. Identify a technology expert who can keep everyone current with the new technology tools as they emerge.  Subscribing to this blog will help.
  3. Nominate a representative to be the face of the company.  This person will be a leader in the company, and ideally a leader in your industry and community.

Start Engaging

  1. Launch a company blog that is designed to help the people in your community do more of what they want to do as it relates to your business.  This is where you share tips and advice to build relationships that may lead to doing business with you.
  2. Focus your social media efforts on your blog and no more than two networks.
  3. Practice your message to learn how to best engage with your community members, paying special attention to the key words and content that resonates with them.
  4. Track any results that you can attribute to your social media efforts.  Then use them to better focus your approach.  You have to study, learn and adjust on an ongoing basis.

Use this list as a guide and keep the following in mind:

1.  There are few social media experts. Those of us that are succeeding are continuously studying and making adjustments as we learn more.  You should consider doing the same.

2.  Social media will continue to evolve. This is why you need to establish a foundation and experiment with the technology – while always trusting you gut about what is right for your business.

3.  Socia media personalizes your business. The paradox of social media is that we are using technology to humanize our businesses.   Conduct your activities in order to amplify your personality and that of your business.

Has this been helpful?  Feel free to comment or share it with your community.

Have a great week!  Jeff

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Comments

  1. Nice post Jeff and I really like your informative website! These days there is a temptation to jump right into Facebook. So your checklist is great. I think small businesses should also try to understand who their customers are and how they interact with social networks. These insights will help them choose the right channels.

  2. Thanks Mike. As you suggest, it is indeed all about meeting them where they are – that’s Sales and Marketing 101, isn’t it?

    Jeff

  3. Yes, these are all great tips! If you’ll looking for some info about Social Media Advertising, check out this link: http://advertising.microsoft.com/social-media

    Hope this helps!
    Jodi E.
    Microsoft SMB Outreach Team
    v-jodie@microsoft.com