Online marketing for small businesses should involve social media

The internet offers quite a few ways for organizations to market themselves, chief among them search engine optimization. However, SEO is only one piece of the puzzle and the marketing technique to be supplemented with other measures. This is especially important for small businesses that need to increase their levels of customer engagement and involvement. Hence the importance of social media marketing.

There are many issue that one must understand before engaging in a social media branding campaign, but one of the most important is the role that employees play in such a strategy. The increased contact that Facebook and Twitter offer customers means that a great deal of care needs to be exercised by all staff members. Here are some tips for grooming uninitiated employees for work on social media sites representing their employers.

Understanding goals
One of the most important points to engender in the minds of personnel is the objective of using Facebook, Google+ or other online services. Most people are only familiar with social networking on the internet insofar as it allows them to keep in touch with friends and family. While some of the procedures are the same in both the social and commercial realms, there are some important differences.

For example, the emotional relationship that people have with loved ones may allow them to tolerate frequent updates and constant messages. However, the same is not true for commercial entities, no matter how wonderful a consumer's experiences with an organization have been. Don't let workers test the strength of customer relationship bonds – caution them to show restraint and avoid excessive updates or posts.

Clear guidelines
It is very easy for a single errant status update or inappropriate tweet to ruin a company's relationship with many of its most loyal and interested clients. Consequently, employees should be very aware of what is and is not acceptable for use on a social media profile. Guidelines, at the very least, help businesses to create a structure of accountability should something go awry. The bottom line is that workers have no excuse for making certain jokes or comments on social media if they've been told emphatically not to.

Providing resources
It's fair to say that most people are not natural social media marketing gurus. This is especially the case for staff members at a small business that is just beginning to experiment with the advertising and branding possibilities that these platforms offer. While there are plenty of educational resources online for this sort of campaign, the best possible research likely comes from checking out the efforts of other companies.

Find organizations that use a tone and style that is appealing and advise workers to use them for inspiration. Of course, it is important to not let flattery be too close to imitation, but concrete examples of the tone and image that a business should be putting forth will help novice social media gurus immensely.

Make it fun
While there needs to be limitations to any social media campaign, within the confines of hard and fast guidelines employees should be encouraged to have a little bit of fun. Dry and rote promotional messages are going to go over like a lead balloon with social media users who expect some levity from their news feeds and Twitter followers. Within reason, don't be too hard on workers who are responsible for maintaining commercial accounts. A boring social media account will be as ineffective as one that's offensive or nonexistent. 

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