By now, every small business owner knows that smart use of social media can bring business in the door. In many situations these channels can even offer more business bang for your marketing buck.  It’s likely that your 2012 marketing plan has specific social media marketing activities planned alongside the traditional marketing activities and bigger campaigns.

While planning your use of social media is one of the foundations to using is wisely to boost your business, it can also hinder your ability to really make use of this dynamic platform.  To address this, add a sprinkle of spontaneity to your plan and make the most of social media marketing by using some of these quick and easy ways to use social media to market your business.

1.       Engage with Events

Invite engagement by using current events that impact your industry or impact your customer base.   Start by linking to a news story or video about the current event.  Ask your customers for their opinions, reactions, or experiences.  Write a blog post about the event that shows why it is relevant to your business or to explain your company’s stand on the issue at hand.  Post links to your blog on all your social media outlets and encourage customers, fans, and followers to comment, respond, and interact.

2.       Value Video

Looking for a quick way to spark some interest?  Don’t underestimate the value of video in generating buzz and inviting engagement.  Use videos to promote new products, provide visual product demonstrations, or to offer an inside look at your business operations.  Video is a great way to help your customers and potential customers connect to your company and see the people behind the product.  Have a customer that just loves what you offer?  Ask them to be the star of your next promotional video and let them tell the world why doing business with you is so great.  And here’s a secret:  “there’s money in funny.”  Just check out You Tube’s Top Ad Spots of 2011.  Incorporate humor into your campaigns and see how far it rolls.

3.       Revisit and Reintroduce

Keep your new and existing customers thinking about the full suite of your products and services by running mini-campaigns that reintroduce your tried and true offerings.  Many businesses only focus on what’s new, but by spreading the spotlight around, you ensure your fans and followers don’t miss out on one of your best sellers.  Revisit these oldies but goodies by posting product information videos, “Did you know” blog posts, and sale details.

4.       Appreciate Customers

One of the quickest ways to engage customers is to feature them.  Have a great customer that you love doing business with?  Make them the customer of the month and feature them in your posts, tweets, and blogs.  Host a virtual customer appreciation event that offers a special discount to fans and followers.

5.       Feature a Freebie

Stir up your social media by offering something free like a white paper, mini visit, cup of coffee, or product sample.  Limit the number that can be claimed to build excitement and a sense of urgency.  Make the most of these opportunities by featuring something that will really attract the kind of customers you want.

6.       Create a Contest

Everyone loves to win.  Use that fact to your business’ benefit and host a quick contest for the best picture of a customer with your product or the most comments on a customer post.  The best contests get your fans to spread the word and invite their fans, friends, and followers to help them win.

 

Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to know which quick campaigns will go viral and which will fail to generate the buzz you were banking on.  The key is to remember that these quick hits are the spontaneity and spice you are sprinkling across your marketing strategy and plan.  They are quick and don’t require a big investment of time or resources.  This means that if they fizzle fast, it doesn’t really matter.  Just make a note and move on to the next idea.  This will keep your interaction fresh and inviting and help keep your business moving at the speed of social media.