I don’t know about you but marketing in small organisations is not like it used to be. When we first started out (15 years ago) there was no such thing as social media. And we could simply stick an advert in our local paper and hey presto, people would call & buy our stuff…
For the last 15 years we’ve been trying to build & grow a small organisation ourselves. And 1 of the biggest challenges we face is trying to get a grip on how to use social media as a business tool to help us grow.
Recently I wrote an article that detailed all the marketing channels now available to small organisations. And the confusion many small organisations face when trying to decide which 1 is right for them. You can read it here.
Well, we received a lot of feedback around social media. And that social media channels are causing small organisations the most confusion. To the point where many small organisations are just not sure what to do.
About 12 months ago we applied for some European funding money to help us get a grip on how social media could help our business. And we carried out a social media strategy workshop with Richard Singleton from whY-us.
The workshop was invaluable & Richard helped us to identify which social media channels we needed to bin, and those we need to embrace for each of our products. Unfortunately, it’s not a 1 size fits all. It really depends on the target audience you identify for each of your products, which then determines the social media channel you use to promote each product.
But there’s much more to it than just this. At the end of the social media strategy workshop Richard provided us with a strategy document, which details the social media channels we use for each product, the tone & content of our articles and the frequency with which we communicate on each social media channel.
It’s been invaluable to us. And we would recommend that every small organisation to go through a similar exercise. But we also believe that the experience we have gained over the last 12 months will help small organisations too.
Always wanting to help our fellow small organisations we have listed below the social media channels we use & detailed how we use them, including the frequency we communicate through them. And we hope it helps you.
We have built & operate 4 websites in an umbrella structure. The structure is headed by our corporate website with the other 4 branching off it. details below…
MY Total Office Solutions is our corporate website. And show cases a cross section of our customers through case studies & testimonials. To show how the breadth of our products can help small organisations & individuals. As well as detailing who we are, what we stand for and our products. Customers can order through the website or book a free (no obligation) assessment.
Articles are posted on this website weekly, usually on a Wednesday. And content will be generally geared to help all types of organisations save & make money or improve their operations. Occasionally we’ll also include special offers.
MY Print Service is our affordable small organisation managed print service, which we have specifically developed for micro & small organisations. The website showcases how customers benefit through MY Print Service, which is detailed in case studies and testimonials. And explains what the service includes, who we are & that MY Print Service is a product supplied & supported by MY Total Office Solutions. Customers can also order through the website.
Articles are posted on this website weekly, usually on a Tuesday. And content will be generally geared to help micro & small organisations save & make money or improve their operations. Occasionally it will also include other industry news that is relevant to micro & small organisations.
MY Total Copier Solutions details our new & refurbished photocopier & floor standing multi-function devices (MFD). We are an accredited Konica Minolta partner & target small & medium organisations though this website. The website showcases how customers have saved money & improved their operations with new or refurbished photocopier / MFD technology, which is detailed in the form of case studies. And explains how the service works, who we are & that MY Total Copier Solutions is a product supplied & supported by MY Total Office Solutions. Customers can book a free (no obligation) assessment through the website.
Articles are posted on this website weekly, usually on a Thursday. And content will be generally geared to help small & medium organisations save & make money or improve their operations. Occasionally it will also include other industry news that is relevant to small & medium organisations.
Never Buy Ink Again is our Infinity branded affordable home printing service, which has been developed for families & home workers. The website showcases how customers benefit through fantastic service & being able to budget with a low fixed monthly fee, which is detailed in their testimonials. And explains what the service includes, who we are & that Infinity is a product supplied & supported by MY Total Office Solutions. Customers can also order through the website.
Articles are posted on this website weekly, usually on a Monday. And content will be generally geared to consumers, and will be about saving money and other new consumer products that may make their life easier.
Our Facebook page is used to post all our company wide articles & promotions with link backs to the relevant website. Although we see it mainly as consumer focused, their are also a lot of business owners who use it and a lot of small organisations promoting themselves through it. We have also joined a large number of local Facebook groups covering both consumers & business, and our articles are also shared to the appropriate groups.
On occasions we will boost posts & promotions to targeted audiences. Facebook is great for this. You can really drill down to your targeted demographic, things such as postcode, town, age, sex & profession.
Articles are posted 4 times a week. And as already detailed will cover all our activities, with link backs to the relevant website. Which will then also be shared with the appropriate Facebook group.
Just like Facebook Twitter is used to post snippets of all our articles, which are written in a way to entice people to click the website link & read the whole article. As part of the tweet we will also tag network member groups like Shout and industry experts in the hope they will retweet our message, which happens quite a lot. Tip: If you include a graphic (photo) with your tweet it will allow you to tag up to 10 other twitter handles.
The other side to twitter is the ability to promote other businesses (& yourself) by retweeting their tweets. But our advice would be to always retweet with comment to add some context & shape the message you want to provide. We’re always on the look out for opportunities to retweet any tweets (with comment) relevant to our audience. And it’s highly likely the businesses you retweet may return the retweet in the future.
As a general rule we treat 4 times a week. But if an occasion presents itself we will also random tweet too. I’ve just done a random 1 today as West Riding Hyundai let me use 1 of their sales desks to work on. So I took a picture of me working & tweeted it saying ‘celebrity service’ and tagged Geoff Ramm (celebrity service specialist). We’ll random tweet & retweet with comment when every viable opportunity presents itself.
This is a big 1 for us. I have my own profile & each of our team also have their own too (you can’t make them, it has to be their choice), which are all backed up with our own company page. But it’s important that every profile you have linked to your organisation is on brand, up to date, professionally looking and pretty complete.
As a general rule I will release an article on LinkedIn 4 times a week and then cut this down into a post with a link back to the main article. The post (with link back) will then go on the main feed, our company page and into a number of relevant LinkedIn member groups (just like Facebook has). My team (sometimes) will then also share the article with a comment (context is important) onto the main feed too.
This is the important bit. The articles I release on LinkedIn are designed to help small organisations, not to directly sell to them. Yes they may & can have a link back to your own organisation or product, but this has to be used in the right context.
LinkedIn for me is a place to share knowledge to help others & a place to gain knowledge to help your yourself or your own organisation. And if any extra engagement (in the form of business) comes after this, it’s a bonus.
You also have an opportunity to add value to other organisations who post or write articles on LinkedIn, by liking, commenting or even sharing their stuff. When you do this it’s important to use the right context that both helps the post or article gain traction and attracts the right profile of individual to see your comment (or even like or comment on it). Yes, people can even comment on your comment.
You could go as far as creating your own group too. This requires a lot more effort and thought on your part though. But it does allow you to invite and build your own tribe. At this stage I’m not an expert at this by any means and we are only in the very early stages of developing & testing ours. But you can have a look at it here.
Google My Business
I can’t give you a link to this for you to look. But if you open Google and put in MY Total Office Solutions, when it loads it should display our Google My Business information (on the right side of the page on desktop/laptop & top of the page on mobile). Please have a look at it, as I believe this is not currently used to it’s maximum by many organisations.
If you haven’t already created an account, our advice is to jump straight on it. As the stats Google provide us show we are showing up all over the place and we get many people contacting us through this channel.
But it’s vitally important that you fully populate your profile, otherwise it makes you look second rate. And to get the most traction you must post short articles regularly. We post around 4 times a week, always with a link back to 1 of our websites. Be warned only your 3 latest post will show on your Google page profile & if you leave it too long without a new post, they will disappear completely.
Social Media Conclusion
It may seem a lot of work to you, but for us it’s starting to work. It’s does take a lot of time and effort. But you must understand marketing for small organisations has changed. On the upside most of this stuff is free for you to use & do. But on the downside it takes time. About 3 hours a day for me.
Yes, you can pay a social media specialist to it for you and that’s a choice you’ve got to make yourself. For us though, we feel it’s best dealt with ourselves, as it allows us to control the messaging and the frequency. But most importantly, we can also make sure our posts & articles provide a high level of value to our audience.
Oh. One last thing. If you want a copy of our social media strategy document we created with Richard’s help, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org & I’ll attach it to my reply.