A new year is always a fresh start. Even if you don’t specifically lay out BIG ideas that you plan to implement in the new year or BIG changes you plan to make in the new year, most everyone comes off the holidays with a refreshed vision and some amount of goals for improvement.
We work almost exclusively with small businesses and independent professionals. We fully believe and recommend to all our clients to “do more with less”. None of our clients have departments full of people to complete all the necessary tasks that are involved in running and growing a business, so we think it’s important to be realistic in what we recommend for their online marketing.
Trying to do too many things stretches you and your other resources too thin, doesn’t present your business or brand in an optimal light, and ultimately won’t end up being effective for you.
So while it’s important to stay on top of best practices for all your online marketing efforts, it’s really more about doing the best job with what you already have and are already doing. Taking small steps to improve your current marketing and social media efforts are what you’ll be successful with because they will be easier to implement.
Here are 9 ways to improve online marketing for your small business in 2017.
9 Ways to Improve your Small Business Online Marketing in 2017
- Review your Social Media Bios Are your social media bios still current? When is the last time you updated your cover photo? Rearranged your Pinterest boards? Checked for new followers? Made sure any 3rd party apps or tools were functioning correctly? Spend a little bit of time to do a once over on all your social media profile pages.
- Review your Website About page Your business evolves over time, so should your website content. Even simple things like the number of years you have been in business or working in a certain industry change by 1 each year. You might read through your About page and feel good about it, and then you can know that you have that checked off your To Do list.
- Review your Analytics This could be your website analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter analytics, or anything other type of data you have been gathering. Review the past month and the past year. Heck, take a peek at all of 2016 compared to 2015. Look how far you’ve come and grown, and feel proud of what you’ve accomplished. Analytics can become very overwhelming due to the depth of data. But usually you don’t have to look too far nor dig too deep to notice some important trends or what’s working and what could be improved.
- Review your Social Media Content You can’t be all promotional all of the time, so you definitely need other types of content, too. When’s the last time you reviewed what that content mix is and where you source that content from? Are there better ways to curate that content to make things easier on you? Are there other topics you’ve come to learn are relevant to your ideal customer so you should add them to your content mix?
- Review your Automation Automation has its good and bads. Too much – if not balanced with real, live interaction and engagement – makes your accounts look robotic and unmanaged. Too little, and you might be doing more work on a daily basis than you need to be. First, check to make sure everything you already have set up is still firing as it should. Also consider if you could use automation processes (like social media posting tools) to make your life easier. For example, can you utilize Buffer to share those industry articles you read over to your Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ accounts?
- Review Where you Spend your Time Platforms change how they work. Heck, Facebook’s algorithm is in constant flux. And both Instagram and Pinterest have added algorithms in the past couple years. Also, if you’ve made changes to your business and website, it could be better for you to shift around where and much time you are spending. Added a blog? Added an online store? If so, you now have a bunch of new links and opportunities that you didn’t have before. Try to briefly take a step back and do a quick mental review of where you are, what’s changed for your business, and if you need to adjust your online marketing as a result.
- Review how Often you’ve been Blogging Remember, consistency is key, and aiming for consistency might be your best blogging goal. If you were able to find time to publish 12 blog posts last year, for example, but 8 of those 12 were published in the first 3 months of the year when you had big goals for your business blog, aim to publish 12 more posts this year but more evenly spread out. Utilize blog scheduling tools to write ahead and publish consistently. It’s OK if you only publish 1 new blog post a month, and remember it’s better to go slow and consistently publish one a month instead of having an erratic schedule.
- Review how Frequently you Send Out Email Newsletters Did you aim to have monthly emails last year but they ended up to be quarterly? That’s fine! If a quarterly email schedule is more realistic for you, then just plan for that.
- Review your Ad Spend and Consider If and How that Needs Adjusting One of the best things about Facebook ads is their low cost. If you didn’t spend any money on social media ads in 2016, then consider adding in a small budget for them in 2017. And if you did buy ads in 2016, take a look on your total ad spend and what it was on. Make sure your ad spend aligns with your other online marketing goals.
It’s challenging to always feel like you are behind or not achieving enough of the goals you have set out. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to choose to not set brand new, overly-ambitious (read: unachievable) goals at the beginning of the year, but rather spend a little bit of time reviewing all that you have accomplished and making smaller adjustments to ensure you are making the most of the time and money you have to dedicate to your online marketing.