Social Media Marketing 101

Don't worry, we're not going to bore you with our selfies or cat videos. This article is intended to help you market your business online through social media. Combining marketing services with our own social media usage has given us insights into effective social media marketing for small businesses and investment firms. Here's our list of social media suggestions for each type of organization:

B2C (Business-to-Consumer Company)

If you're marketing directly to consumers, you'll find that many of your customers and potential customers enjoy connecting with your business on social media. Facebook, Twitter and possibly Instagram will be the most important platforms for your type of company. We recommend one Facebook post a day and two or three tweets per day to maximize your reach without annoying your audience. (Nobody wants you to fill up their social media feeds 24/7.) Remember the 80/20 rule, too: Let 80% of your tweets and posts comprise indirect sales messages and other general content with the remaining 20% serving as direct marketing.

If your business has products or services that lend themselves to visual representation, you should add an Instagram profile. Use the free Instagram app for your smartphone to snap cool photo of your business and its offerings. Every Instagram post must have an image, so make the pictures interesting! Don't limit your use of visuals to Instagram, though. Tweets and Facebook posts with graphics or photos receive much greater attention and response than those with just text. Add an image and a hashtag (such as #July4th2015) for maximum engagement!


B2B (Business-to-Business Company)

For companies that sell to other firms, your social media presence must begin on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the key digital community for professionals and boasts around 200 million global users. A classy LinkedIn company page will generate sales opportunities, especially if you also maintain a current LinkedIn personal profile. (Hint: Connect your own profile to your company's page for maximum benefit!) One fresh LinkedIn post per weekday is sufficient, especially if you share quality information. Please do remember that LinkedIn isn't used like Facebook, and random people will poke fun at you/your business if you're not posting professional content. (Don't ever post your favorite Taylor Swift song on LinkedIn!)

Here's a great social media post from our friends at HubSpot

Twitter is the second social media website your B2B firm needs to use. Not only can you engage potential customers on Twitter, you can use it to get help from business partners and your own vendors. Tweet your airline, bank or website host for fast service or answers to your questions! Let your clients make inquiries via Twitter, too, because there is no better way to market your business than to demonstrate quick responses to current customers.

Investment Firms

Investment businesses should be using...

...as long as you're archiving posts for compliance purposes. Registered advisors should always have an outside firm save social media posts, but please remember to never offer specific advice online! Watch what you post online to prevent those bad SEC visits. (You know the ones.)

If you're solely an investment research provider, social media archival isn't required. (Forward View falls into this category.) Such firms can also benefit from the current proliferation of crowd-sourced research websites. We love Seeking Alpha, StockViews, Estimize, Harvest Exchange and, if you're very tough, StockTwits. (When you use StockTwits, somebody will rip you apart just for fun!) We suggest posting samples of your research in order to demonstrate your quality analysis without eliminating the need to pay you! Tease potential clients and make them want more of your research.

Summary

We suggest all business owners and organization managers use Hootsuite to manage their social media accounts. Scheduling messages on all your social media accounts from one platform is very handy. Creating a content calendar of posts for upcoming days and weeks through Hootsuite is easy and also serves as an effective time-management tool. For us, social media marketing without Hootsuite would be like digging for gold without a shovel!

Social media is a great opportunity for all businesses in the 21st century. You can market your organization without spending a dime through the effective use of tweets, posts and pics! Forward View reaches tens of thousands of people each month through social media, and your company can enjoy similar success. Please feel free to contact us with any digital marketing questions!

Nathan Yates

Forward View Consulting, 288 Crack Rock Road, Clintwood, VA 24228, USA

Nathan Yates has been fascinated by technology and finance since he was young. He was the kid devouring the business section of the newspaper (remember those?) while others read everything else. Nathan believes that the American economy is built from the bottom-up, meaning that small businesses and local nonprofits are the foundation of our nation's success. These organizations are the lifeblood of towns and cities across the U.S. Unfortunately, most consulting firms overlook companies or organizations that don't have eight-figure budgets. Nathan thought Forward View Consulting should be different. And we are. As Lead Consultant, Nathan works with each client to deliver only the best financial and/or website development services. Nathan's years of web design experience and his business degrees ensure that professional expertise is brought to each project. Our network of contacts can offer additional specialized guidance if needed. Before creating Forward View Consulting, Nathan worked for an independent equity research firm as a Research Associate covering the industrial and energy sectors. This work involved preparing quarterly 15-40 page reports on multi-billion dollar corporations along with timely analysis of M&A activity and industry-wide news. He also managed research distribution and the company's online presence. Nathan also spent a summer serving as a local financial adviser's Research Intern. Nathan earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Finance from Southern New Hampshire University, graduating summa cum laude. He then earned a Master's degree in Finance from Southern New Hampshire University, where he was named the Outstanding Student in his particular concentration. Now, Nathan is an adjunct professor teaching economics and finance for his alma mater. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys fishing, reading, time with family and serving as a volunteer webmaster for the Clintwood United Methodist Church.