Social media – full of chatty consumers begging for fresh content, while also poised to critique any undeserving ideas – can be a challenging and overwhelming realm to step into. As a small to medium business owner, you’re likely putting social media on the back-burner because you’re strapped for time, money, or even manpower. But contrary to popular belief, this medium allows you to do it all on your own, without a single dollar bill out of your pocket – as long as you have a handy game plan.
So, let’s tackle this charge step-by-step.
The biggest mistake most first-time social media explorers make is trying to immerse their brand in every social channel at once. While the eagerness is admirable, don’t overwhelm yourself. Start out slow and build your presence as you go. If you’re unsure of what networks are right for you, read along to find out what will work best for your audience.
Facebook – With nearly 2 billion daily active users, Facebook is one of the few networking platforms that is a must for businesses of all sizes. In the 13 years since its launch, Facebook has blossomed into the biggest social platform where friends, families, celebrities, and businesses can connect and interact with their main audience. You can use Facebook to share pictures, videos, company announcements, new releases, and virtually anything you can dream of with your followers.
Promo inspiration: With so many people checking their Facebook page on the daily, you have the perfect opportunity to get to know your customers. From enticing your readers with the latest trends in the industry to sharing your favorite promotional products of the season, the options are endless.
Take a look at how The POP Shop promoted their products by using appropriate hashtags and key descriptors.
Instagram – This Facebook-owned, visually oriented network has more than 700 million active users and consists entirely of photo and video posts. You know what they say – a picture is worth a thousand words. Many people use this platform to post pictures of travel, food, art, and fashion. From a business standpoint, Instagram opens the door for creativity and allows you to interact with your customers in a vivid way.
Promo inspiration: Instagram lets you capture your clever personality with beautiful, visually pleasing pictures. And it just so happens that our industry is home to the most innovative promotional products out there that can appeal to a wide audience if you shine a light on its true assets.
Here’s how Mavich Branding Group advertises their catalogs with a personal, high-definition photo:
Twitter – As the name denotes, Twitter is the fastest spreading online news and social media networking service, where users post their ideas in condensed 140-character “tweets.” With its wide audience reach, Twitter is prominent in all crevices of the world and allows you to quickly connect with people by mentioning their username in your posts. It’s also the home of the hashtag, a label for content that helps people find information on a certain topic.
Promo inspiration: The hashtag opened the gates to an information flood of content that is convenient and relevant. Take #promotionalproducts for example. It’s the poster-child hashtag for anyone involved in the promotional products industry, as well as an easy way for marketing specialists to search for campaigns using promo products.
Here’s PPAI’s take on delivering relevant insight to our community on Twitter:
LinkedIn – This platform is particularly great for B2B businesses interacting with their target audience. Use LinkedIn to share insight and increase your company’s visibility through original and thought-provoking posts. Incidentally, LinkedIn attracts many CFO’s and CEO’s with decision-making capabilities, making it a great sales medium for acquiring new leads.
Promo inspiration: On the topic of connecting with the powerful C-suite, you can use LinkedIn to connect with individuals that may be looking for promotional products ideas. Once you’ve gotten in touch with one person from an organization, you can build your trust with the rest of the company, import your contacts into your CRM, and start working on those relationships!
If you’re looking for a warm way to introduce yourself to a prospect, reach out to a mutual connection and use this template to start the conversation:
YouTube – It’s no surprise why many companies choose to advertise and build their customer following on YouTube. Being the number one video sharing website that can be accessed anytime and anywhere, it allows you to tell a thousand stories about your business with video content that can go viral at any moment.
Promo inspiration: Even though social media networks may be very active and alive, they’re still lightyears away from resembling genuine, face-to-face interaction. YouTube is the closest medium we have to show the world our true colors. You may not have the funds to put together an award-winning movie, but you can always pull off a company overview video to let your customers see you and your team in action.
Here’s all of us from SAGE doing what we love and having a blast:
Snapchat – Snapchat has a bit of a learning curve when trying to explain its functionality in layman’s business terms. Essentially, this is a fun platform that allows brands to share their message in short bursts of videos. Because 69% of Snapchat users in the U.S. are under the age of 24, this platform is ideal for businesses looking to target millennials.
Promo inspiration: Snapchat allows users to share photos and videos with followers that disappear after 24 hours. This creates a wonderful opportunity for you to promote your next initiative without overselling.
Check out how Taco Bell uses a Snapchat story to connect with their audience.
Social media has taken networking to a scale of global proportions and is changing the communication game on the daily, giving you an entire suitcase full of opportunities to promote your business. So, make sure to not spread yourself too thin, pick the top performing platforms for your business, and start interacting with your followers! Remember, social media is a way for you to bring some personality into your company and ultimately convert casual customers into your brand loyalists.
How do you use social media for your promotional products business? Share your ideas in the comments below!