Starting Social Media for Your Small Business

Starting Social Media for Your Small Business

Starting Social Media for Your Small Business

Social Media Plans for Small Business

“I’m stuck. I don’t know where to start with social media for my small business.”

 

Does that sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone! Today, social media is one of the biggest challenges many small business owners face. Just this week, a client of mine was stuck on this very issue.

My client, a passionate entrepreneur running a small financial advisory firm, was overwhelmed by the sheer number of social media platforms and the constant need to generate engaging content. She confessed that she didn’t know where to start, so she had avoided it altogether.

When I asked her how she was handling social media, she admitted, “I just don’t do it. I don’t know what to post, and I feel paralyzed by the options.”

Strategy and Planning

The reality is that sometimes you know there are things you need to do to grow your business, but indecision and paralysis stop you from getting there. This usually stems from a lack of strategy and planning. Here’s how we tackled her social media challenge:

Step 1: Define Your Goals

The first step is to identify what you want to achieve with your social media presence. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, or boosting sales, having clear goals will guide the rest of your strategy.

    • Brand Awareness: Are you looking to increase your brand’s visibility and attract more followers?
    • Customer Engagement: Do you want to engage more with your audience and build a community?
    • Lead Generation: Are you aiming to generate more leads and convert them into customers?

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Understanding who your target audience is will help you tailor your content. Create buyer personas to identify their interests, preferences, and behaviors. This makes it easier to create content that specifically speaks to them.

Step 3: Select the Right Platforms

You don’t need to be on every social media platform. Pick the ones that align with your business goals and where your audience spends most of their time. For instance:

  • Instagram: Great for visual content and engaging younger audiences.
  • Facebook: Ideal for community building and sharing a variety of content types.
  • LinkedIn: Perfect for B2B businesses and professional networking.
  • Twitter: Useful for real-time updates and client interaction.

Step 4: Create a Content Calendar

We immediately got to work and created a content calendar. When tackling the challenge of content creation, you really need a plan that outlines what content to post, when to post it, and on which platforms. This removes the guesswork and ensures consistency.

  • Content Mix: Balance promotional content with educational and entertaining posts.
  • Frequency: Determine how often you’ll post on each platform.
  • Themes: Plan out themes for each week or month to keep your content varied and engaging.

Step 5: Leverage Tools and Automation

Setting up a system for social media management helps automate the process, saving time and reducing stress. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Canva can help schedule posts, track performance, and create visually appealing content.

  • Scheduling: Use tools to schedule posts in advance, ensuring a consistent posting schedule.
  • Analytics: Track your performance to see what’s working and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Design: Use graphic design tools to create professional-quality visuals quickly.

Overcoming Indecision and Just Starting

By setting up a system for managing her social media, my client felt like it was doable. The more you can automate your routine, the faster you’ll achieve your desired results. Now, she never gets caught in the indecision and paralysis trap.

Engage and Evaluate

Once you start posting, engage with your audience. Social media is all about building relationships and communication – so make sure to do that – respond back to their comments on your posts. Regularly evaluate your performance and adjust your strategy based on the insights you gather.

Conclusion

Getting started with social media for your small business doesn’t have to be daunting. With clear goals, a well-defined audience, a solid content plan, and the right tools, you can create a powerful social media presence.

Rethinking Marketing | 2022 Survey of Today’s Marketing Department

Rethinking Marketing | 2022 Survey of Today’s Marketing Department

Rethinking Marketing | 2022 Survey of Today’s Marketing Department

Creating-Killer-Content

This survey offers key insights into how today’s marketing departments are handling the current pressures facing the department, from changes due to the pandemic, and where the marketing budget and strategy currently stand.

During the second half of 2020 and throughout 2021, B2B marketing departments across the U.S. had to handle virtual employees, canceled conferences, remote events, and drastically modified business strategies, all under the pressures of limited headcount and severely reduced budgets. 

We wanted to better understand where these pressures were coming from and how marketers were successfully handling the added responsibility. 

Our survey was sent to marketers at all job levels, and we received 71 completed responses. Our demographics are at the end of the survey results. 

    Our results brought some interesting findings to light.


    Marketers are happy.

    Marketers are happy when they are doing what they are supposed to do each day. But they are getting overloaded with work and are not feeling they have the resources to achieve the right results.


    Marketers have too many core jobs.

    Marketers are being asked to do too many core jobs at once, making it difficult to achieve quality consistently. And we found that over 30% were doing roles outside of the marketing department.


    What is the solution?

    I think one of the marketers said it best – “I want the resources and the time to do my job well, so I can feel proud of what I’ve accomplished for the company.”


     

    We’ve all gone through challenging times; we now need to analyze our marketing departments and make sure we are structuring and supporting them for success – for marketers and the company.

     

    Download the Survey's Executive Summary

    Download the Survey’s 8-Key Takeaways in the Executive Summary

    Download the Full 2022 Survey

    Download the Full Survey of Today’s Marketing Department

    About Us

    Jennifer and Sara each has over 25 years of marketing leadership experience, specializing in B2B organizations. They met in 2008 in the marketing department of Grant Thornton LLP and discovered a shared passion for quality campaigns that deliver measurable results.

    This survey was carefully designed to capture the comments they consistently heard from marketing colleagues and identify marketing department trends.

    Jennifer Palmer Farrington

    Jennifer Palmer Farrington
    Chief Executive Officer | Founder
    YourMarketer LLC

    Sara Janjigian Trifiro

    Sara Janjigian Trifiro
    President | Founder
    SJT Marketing LLC

    Marketing Tech and Trends | Accounting & Finance Show Americas 2021

    Marketing Tech and Trends | Accounting & Finance Show Americas 2021

    Marketing Tech and Trends | Accounting & Finance Show Americas 2021

    Creating-Killer-Content

    Marketing tech and trends: How to use marketing to create measurable revenue

    Accounting & Finance Show Americas 2021 | May 18, 2021

    Moderator: Jennifer Palmer Farrington, Founder & CEO, YourMarketer LLC

      • Is your technology talking to each other?
      • How can you adjust your CRM to fluidly inform your sales team?
      • How are you measuring the ROI on your content?
      • Standardizing client NPS to create communication and inform changes

    Nancy Leibig, Director, Brand and Marketing Strategy, Crowe

    Sarah Cirelli, CMO, Grassi

    Bruce Ditman, CMO, Marcum

    Stephanie Koutsares, Sr. Manager, Baker Tilly

      How to Create Killer Content

      How to Create Killer Content

      How To Create Killer Content

      Creating-Killer-Content

      Today, there is a never-ending flow of “content” and “thought leadership” available for B2B companies.

      Thoughtfully created and properly targeted content can be evergreen and attract new clients to your business. Very often, however, content is created just for content’s sake, without a strategy to engage the right audience or track and measure its success. The result is basically noise.

      To cut through all this noise you need to take a few crucial steps that will ensure you are reaching your audience at the right time.

      Your first 2 steps

      The first two things you need to consider in detail are:

        1. Who is your target audience?
        2. How are you going to measure the success of the content you produce for your audience?

      1.  Identifying your audience

      The first step in the content marketing process is taking a moment to figure out who your content is going to target.

      The answer to that question can be more challenging than expected, especially if your company works with a wide range of clients across multiple industries or provides numerous services in specialised fields.

      If this is a piece on a service that crosses multiple industries, start by identifying your best clients. These clients are the ones you are most connected to, the most comfortable with, and the ones most likely to provide you with a referral.

      Even if it is a specific topic, picture a client that fits the criteria and write as if you are speaking directly to them.

      This is a useful starting point because you are at your most comfortable communicating with this audience. Discussions feel natural when you are talking to someone with whom you are at your most comfortable.

      What’s in it for them?

      Once you have that specific audience member in mind, consider how your content topic will benefit them and how it will help their company in the long run.

      I picture sitting down and talking over dinner, where we are relaxed and chatting excitedly about an interesting service and topic that is going to help their company save money or get to the next level. From there, expand this process out to other companies similar to your ideal client to create your target audience.

      Craft the content

      Don’t be afraid to use a ghostwriter to craft the initial draft of the piece. Writing isn’t natural for everyone. In the accounting industry and in other professional service firms, writing isn’t always an inherent talent. Using a professional writer who can sit with someone for an hour on the phone to create an initial draft, helping to get an article started, is money well spent to provide original content.

      Reach Your Audience

      Once your content is created, you need it to reach your target audience.

      Timing: When to publish

      Firstly – and I can’t stress this enough – timing is everything. To reach your audience with content they care about, you need to be strategic in selecting the most optimal time for its release.

      An clear example for my industry is providing our year-end tax tips in December, not in May. That same content−no matter how well made will not perform as well if it’s pushed out at the wrong time of year.

        Channels: Where and how to distribute

        Displaying your content in the right places is just as important. To create the optimal mix, think about where your audience receives their information. Some possibilities to consider include:

          • Associations: If your content is specific to a trade or industry, pushing it with that association is a great way to get it distributed. Associations have a critical mass of large, specialised memberships. Fostering a strong relationship with these groups is extremely helpful. They can push your content to their membership and provide you with speaking opportunities.
          • Website SEO: If you are posting your content to a blog or on your website as an article, you need to use the right keywords to drive traffic to your content. This can get sophisticated with proper coding for increased SEO, but it is well worth the extra time it takes.There are many plug-ins for WordPress and other sites that can assist with SEO and keywords, ensuring you are getting the most out of your content and making it easy for people to find it.
            And everything, please, for the sake of all the time you’ve invested on writing your content, needs a call-to-action, such as a way for visitors to contact you or vice versa. What is the next step that you want them to take? Make it clear what action you want your audience to do or take after consuming your content.
          • Social Media: If you are planning to promote your content through a paid ad strategy, social media can be a great option. Most platforms allow for highly targeted ads at extremely cost-effective pricing levels. Targeting can be broken down based on industry, title, and location, giving your ads a laser focus to reach that food manufacturing business owner in Pennsylvania, for example.
          • External Publications: Marketing and PR departments should look to publish content both internally and externally. You need to get as much amplification for your content as possible, otherwise you are speaking into a vacuum.
          • Public Speaking Opportunities: Look into turning your article into a presentation for a trade or industry association event. Speaking opportunities are incredibly helpful for sharing content. Public speaking opportunities allow you to meet prospects face-to-face. While smaller in scale than a national media campaign, these personal interactions create the strongest relationships, especially for B2B partnerships which are built on trust.
          • Repurposing: If the core criteria of creating meaningful, evergreen content with a purpose and a specific audience is met as outlined above, the content can be reused to have a longer shelf-life. Transcribe a video to create an article. Repost a piece of thought leadership to your blog or website a year later with a new intro paragraph. Convert a case study into an infographic. Good content is good content.
          • Webcasts: Your presentations can also be repurposed as a webcast. Unlike the more personal interactions provided by a public speaking engagement, webcasts offer a larger, national audience. The numbers are also greater, especially if the webcasts are offered on-demand. Offering CPE or CLE professional credits can draw in a bigger audience while remaining targeted to an industry or title.
          • Infographics for Social Media: All audiences want easy digestible and visually appealing content. Infographics accompanying a longer form article or webcast help attract more viewers, increase engagement, and draw leads in the door and are easy to post on social media.
          • Sponsored Content: Earned media gives you a broader reach, and those links can be shared on social channels and your website. Using content for an op-ed before it goes on your website provides a much wider audience and the halo effect of being recognised by a media outlet. If you can’t get your content published for free, sponsored content in a key publication for your audience is a great tool as well.

        2.  Measurement

        Measuring and tracking success is important to understand whether your content campaign should be ramped up, wound down, or repeated in the future.

        Simply put, if you’re not tracking performance, you are missing an opportunity to learn your current efforts and improve your next campaign.

        If your primary goal is to get new visitors to your website, make sure you are leveraging technology to aid tracking. Be sure to review your website analytics and have your web pages fully integrated with your CRM capabilities.

        You should know how many people are clicking across your webpages, which calls-to-action are most successful, how you are acquiring visitors what your top performing webpages are, typical amount of time visitors are on your website, and more.

        While closely monitoring on a weekly basis is important to handle any unforeseen issues, the real measurement of a campaign should come after two months and be repeated every month for at least six months in total. Knowing what topics are “hot” to your audience based on hard metrics can guide your content development for the future.

         

         

        B2BMarketing IgniteUSA 2020 Conference
        May 27, 2020 | 5:15 EST

        Jennifer Palmer Farrington | Founder and Chief Executive Officer, YourMarketer LLC

        PRESENTATION DOCUMENTS:

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        What Characteristics Should I Look for in a Marketing Leader?

        What Characteristics Should I Look for in a Marketing Leader?

        What Characteristics Should I Look for in a Marketing Leader?

        No Goals No Career

        When Hiring a Chief Marketing Officer, Look to Match Their Qualities to Your Business Needs.

         

        Executives understanding of the importance of the marketing function has certainly progressed in the B2B sector as technology tools increased the ability to showcase return on investment and map the client journey.

        Data analytics and artificial intelligence can mine your CRM and lead generation systems, providing a wealth of forward-looking information. Your marketing leader can analyze the data and provide your executive leaders and Board with critical, time-saving information for your business that can be incorporated into your strategy, leading to enhanced market position.

        But when it comes time to hire a Chief Marketing Officer, many companies fail to look for the individual’s attributes that will match the needs of their organization, and instead, include a wish list of everything the company wants to accomplish, leaving the rest of the C-suite to wonder why the person they hired can’t succeed.

        You need to start with creating a clear job description based on your business strategy.

        What strategic aims are trying to accomplish over the next 5 years? Is it brand building? Revenue growth? Expansion of offices? Expansion of existing client services? This determines the type of marketer you hire – you need to couple the Marketing Leader’s capabilities to your organizational strategy and business needs. Trying to ask them to do everything is a recipe for disaster.

        Marketers’ skills are strategic, tactical and creative. Finding a unicorn with all proficiencies is rare. Determine what kind of skills your organization needs – today – in your Marketing Leader.

        For simplicity, I grouped the marketing leaders into four major leadership categories, highlighting a few pros and cons of each.

        The Marketing Strategist

        Marketing-Strategist-LeaderThis leader looks at a business plan and sees where marketing can make the most impact. They provide vision and clarity on how marketing can help improve business today and tomorrow. They can translate this into meaningful numbers for the CEO and provide data analytics to support marketing programs and demonstrate success.

        These strategic thinkers move quickly and aren’t afraid to try new things and will pilot new programs, learning from them and scaling up from there. They believe if you fail, you should fail fast and learn what from it. Don’t fear failure!

        Their biggest strength is flexibility. They can change and modify plans as needed, getting teams engaged and excited to “go with the flow.” They can also be your biggest advocate and brand ambassador, motivating others internally and externally. They view everything through the lens of the client/customer experience. The Strategist wants to improve that experience and keep them engaged.

         

        The Marketing Tactical Expert

        Marketing-Tactical-LeaderThe Tactical leader is an expert in the multiple functional roles of marketing, such as branding, public relations, CRM, email marketing – and was in many of those roles over the years. They mastered many of the skillsets and can still do the work if needed. This is the “roll-up the sleeves” type of person.

        They have a high degree of knowledge which allows them to mentor others and provide training to the whole team. You know that if you give them a project it will get done. They are marketing experts – the implementers and “doers” – and are particularly valuable to smaller firms and start-ups.

         

        The Marketing Operations/Administrator

        Over the course of my career, this is the most frequent type of marketing leader I’ve seen. This individual will structure, organize, put reporting into place, and have the marketing staff shifted to maximize efficiency.

        Marketing-Operations-LeaderHowever, unless they also have Strategic skills and are able to tie their marketing strategy to business goals, they are short-term fixers.

        This isn’t to say that you don’t need a Marketing Operations individual, you do!

        You simply need to find a leader with complementary traits – Operations and Strategy – or hire an additional individual to handle those elements separately.

         

        The Creative Marketer

        Creative-Marketing-LeaderA Creative leader has a mind that sees your target in the marketplace and thinks, “how are we going to grab their attention and turn them into a client?” They are great at putting together impactful campaigns, finding new technology, and diving into digital mediums to target and segment your audience. They will lead your staff into new territory and excite them to work for your company.

        Contrary to popular belief, not every marketer is creative. In fact, I’ve found that unless you are hiring specifically for a creative individual, most are not. So, don’t take it for granted that you will have a Creative marketing leader, and if you do – treasure them!

         


        Now, you may find a marketing leader with both strategic and tactical skills, or strategic and administrative or any of the various couplings. As you interview candidates ask their approach to projects, opportunities and how they lead their team. This will indicate the type of behaviors they have and help you determine if they are the right fit for your business’s needs. Don’t expect to find someone with all attributes – hire for what your specifically need. Unicorns are rare or impossible to find for a reason!

        It is not always easy to find and hire a Chief Marketing Officer. But by determining what your company’s business goals are, you can determine which kind of leader or mix of marketing leadership attributes you need to thrive.

        3-Steps to Take When Hiring a Head of Marketing

        3-Steps to Take When Hiring a Head of Marketing

        3-Steps to Take When Hiring a Head of Marketing

        No Goals No Career

        Choosing a marketing leader is far too important to your business to waste time hiring the wrong one.

         

        Ask 20 CEOs about the responsibilities of a Head of Marketing, and you’ll receive 20 answers, all varying in scope and the position’s ultimate accountability. How is it that, in 2020, one of the most critical functions in an organization, especially for B2B companies, is still so misunderstood?

        Understanding of the importance of marketing has certainly progressed in the B2B sector over the past five years as technology tools have increased the ability to showcase return on investment and the client journey.

        There are three simple steps to take to hire and ensure a new Head of Marketing will be successful in their role:

          1. Match your Marketing Leader’s skillset to your business needs
          2. Look for high Emotional Intelligence
          3. Set clear expectations and timelines

        Building a Foundation for Success

        When companies need to hire a new Head of Marketing, it is crucial to improve executive and Board-level understanding of the essential role marketing plays in the success of B2B firms.

        First, we have to clear up some of the confusion over the role.

        Marketing is the engine for the client’s experience and the unseen passenger that travels with them on their journey.

        Marketing is not a siloed department. It is integrated and embedded within your organization and it provides services that touch every aspect of the client’s journey. From their initial introduction to the company, to the website, to the mission and vision of the firm, and its client survey, to expansion of services and thought leadership tailored to them.

        So why do many B2B companies keep marketing from the table when it is time to talk business strategy?

        After your client service team, your Head of Marketing is the person closest to your clients. It is crucial to include them when defining your business strategy. They have insight to share on what topics and services your clients are most interested in and have the data to back it up.

        Data analytics and artificial intelligence can mine your CRM and lead generation systems, providing a wealth of forward-looking information. Your marketing leader can analyze the data and provide your executive leaders and Board with critical, time-saving information for your business that can be incorporated into your strategy, leading to enhanced market position.

        If you don’t have the technology or a marketing leader that can get you this information, read on.

        Let’s begin with the Three Simple Hiring Steps:

        1.  Marketers’ skills are strategic, tactical and creative. Finding a unicorn with all proficiencies is rare. Determine what kind of skills your organization needs – today – in your Marketing Leader.

        Too often job descriptions for Heads of Marketing include a wish list of everything that a company wants to accomplish, leaving the rest of the C-suite to wonder why the person they hired can’t succeed. You need to start with creating a clear job description based on your business strategy.

        What strategic aims are trying to accomplish over the next 5 years? Is it brand building? Revenue growth? Expansion of offices? Expansion of existing client services? This determines the type of marketer you hire – you need to couple the Marketing Leader’s capabilities to your organizational strategy and business needs. Trying to ask them to do everything is a recipe for disaster.

        For simplicity, I grouped the marketing leaders into four major categories, highlighting a few pros and cons of each type. My next article will dive deeper into each of these categories and the kinds of marketing leaders you will find with traits of each.

        2. Look for high Emotional Intelligence. Find a great marketing leader who can manage up to the executives and down to their team.

        It’s critical that you and your executives “connect” and “speak the same language” as the marketing leader you want to hire and that your overall communication styles match. Make sure everyone involved understands what this role needs to accomplish and how they are going to interact and work with your leaders.

        But, don’t forget about the marketing team itself. No one in your marketing department wants to work for a bully. Have your recruiter talk with people who worked with the marketing leader you are looking to hire.

        Having the respect of those who work for your leader is important to getting the most out of your team members. I once had a boss who was sugar sweet to the executives, and when they left, would start yelling at us. Needless to say, no one wanted to be there, nor did they stay long.

        A great marketing leader knows how to adapt their style to work with executives as well as with their team.

        My mentor told me when I first became a manager, “Treat those you manage well. Teach them, challenge them, care about them as a person. If you do it well, they will work hard for you, make you look good, and not want to disappoint you. In the process, your team, you and the firm will end up doing well.”

        I’ve lived by that. And as a result, had low turnover and have individuals follow me from job to job. Why? I care and I want them to learn how to be better marketers. This is a crucial quality to look for when hiring a marketing leader – if they lead, will anyone follow?

        3.  Choosing the right marketing leader is important. Once you have, agree to a timeframe for implementing the new marketing strategy.

        You hired the right person. Congratulations!

        Now, don’t micromanage them. Let them be the expert you hired them to be. Agree to a marketing strategy that makes sense for your business, let them explain why it will work, and allow time for it to do so, with all stakeholders agreeing to the timeframe.

        A lot of the future success of Marketing depends on the buy-in of the company’s leadership and their own willingness to play their role in being good brand ambassadors and business developers. Make sure you are supporting and backing your Head of Marketing so that they succeed.

         

        It is not always easy to find a Head of Marketing. But by determining what your company’s business goals are, you can determine which kind of leader or mix of marketing leadership skills you need to thrive.