As a small business owner, it’s normal for you to compare your business successes to that of your peers both in the same industry and in other industries, and it’s easy to wonder why some of them seem to be doing so much better in certain areas than you are.

You’ve probably checked out their website and you notice they are active in social media, something you have yet to do, or yet to do well. You’ve gotten as far as setting up a profile but you’re not sure you get it yet so you haven’t really been active, and you’ve certainly seen no added value as of yet.

excel at social media by listening to what your customers wantWhat makes social media marketing easier for some than it is for others? It boils down to the desire. If you really want your small business to be active in social media––and you should––you will either learn how to participate, or you will find someone who already knows how and figure out how to integrate their knowledge of social media with your knowledge of your business and target market.

Those small business owners who excel at social media marketing are part of the more than one-third of US small business who owners who say social media helps them get found online. The ones who are most successful have fully bought in to the power social media marketing can have on getting found and growing your business.

Small business owners who use social media marketing successfully do three key things:

They begin with a measurable goal.

Small business owners who use social media marketing have to know what they want to get out of it. Why build a Facebook page? What are you looking to gain by having one? Answer the why and what questions before you begin and you’ll know what success looks like and how to measure it.

They know where to listen and where to find their audience.

You can only engage your audience using social media if you know where they are and you can only engage them effectively if you’ve been listening to what they need. So after setting your social media marketing goals, hangout on the networks you’ve decided to participate on and listen to what your target market is talking about and see how they engage with other brands. After doing so, you may need to tweak some of the goals you’ve set.

They understand how social media plays a role within their larger marketing plan. 

Small business owners who use social media marketing successfully know that social media is part of an overall marketing plan. if one of your overarching goals is to get more brand exposure, social media is a tactic to help you do that; a means to an end. It is not a strategy unto itself no matter how many “gurus” say otherwise.

Have you had social media marketing success? Share some success stories in the comments area.

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