How I Use Social Media to Promote My Business

Are you still struggling with how to begin your social media campaign?

After my recent post, “Small Business Social Media & Online Marketing Plan,” I received numerous emails from folks saying that they were still a little confused and seeking further clarification.

Please remember, this online strategy is not about blogging for money or affiliate marketing (for that topic see ProBlogger or CopyBlogger), but using the free resources that are available on the Internet to help promote YOUR business.

My Primary Social Media Tools

The free online tools that I use to promote the Palmetto Guesthouse are as follows:

  • Website (built using WordPress)
  • Blog (WordPress)
  • FLICKR
  • YouTube
  • Forums
  • Google Alerts (sends you a notification anytime someone mentions your pre-selected key words or phrases
  • Twitter and Twitter Search (I primarily use Twitter as a learning tool, a listening device, and for networking.)

As way to help further clarify the Small Business Social Media & Online Marketing Plan I thought that I would present to you a “day in the life” and highlight what I do and the tools I use to promote my business. I can’t really place specific times on my activities because my days are fairly fluid and depend largely on what our guests need:

5:30a.m. to 6:30a.m. -- Wake up and check my email, Twitter stream, Twitter Search (for various terms),  Google alerts, and read through HARO requests. If I find any Google alerts or HARO inquiries that are relevant to my business then I will comment or respond accordingly.

 Google Alters

6:30a.m. to 7:00a.m. - read various forums that are related to my business and comment on posts if I can be helpful. (Note: if you own a small business there are most certainly forums related to your venture and these online communities are a great way to get started with social media.)

7:00a.m. to 8:00a.m. -- Read a few select blogs: Jarkko Laine, Technotheory, Small Biz Survival, Seth Godin, Zen Habits, Beth Kanter, Communicatrix, Duct Tape Marketing, Jonathan Fields, Sean Bohan, Chris Brogan and MANY more (plus quite a few Pro Triathlete blogs).

8:30a.m. to 6:30p.m. -- It is all about the guests and focusing on customer service. Some days I do have a little down time when everyone is at the beach, or off exploring, and that is when I attempt to shoot video for YouTube or take pictures for FLICKR.

Recently I had a request for some video of Zoni Beach from a future guest, so I went and shot a little today.

7:00pm -- until… -- Later on in the evening my social media activities resume. I pretty much repeat everything above and I also try to join a couple of conversations on Twitter. Additionally, this is when I will write posts for Mark-Hayward, my targeted niche site CulebraBlog, and work on Train for Humanity.

How this process can work for you!

You might be thinking, “Well….it’s easy for you! Travel related social media work can be done by any moron with a computer.” Perhaps, you are correct?

But, I say, if a gourmet bistro and Zappos (major online shoe retailer) can use social media to reach more customers then YOU can too. I will leave you with this thought:

As a biz owner I always try to remember that social media is revolutionary, but it can’t scrub toilets and customer service is still king!

 I would really like to hear about your schedule and how YOU use social media to promote your business. Please let me know in the comments.

(Please note: If you would like to continue the discussion, feel free to follow @mark_hayward  on Twitter, and don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS Feed)

38 Responses to How I Use Social Media to Promote My Business

  1. Jarkko Laine says:

    Hey Mark! Thanks for sharing this overview on your day filled with social media and other business activities. You work hard, and put yourself out there. And it’s clearly making a difference!

    I had no idea of a service like HARO before, got to check that out! Sounds like a great idea.

  2. Suzanne says:

    Mark,
    Thanks for sharing this. I’m new to all of this and am trying to work it in to my day. It sure helped to read about your routine. I guess the early bird really does get the worm!

  3. Jarkko Laine says:

    I forgot to put in my schedule, so here we go:

    5:00 AM – 6:00 AM: I try to use my first morning hour effectively working on stuff that I really need to get done, so no Twitter, email or IM at that hour. Or that’s the goal – I still often slip and check my streams first thing in the morning. This first hour can be used for blogging if that’s on the list of most important tasks for the day.

    6:00 AM – 6:15 AM: After a productive hour, I go through my email, Twitter and RSS feeds.

    6:15 AM – 7:00 AM Back to some of the day’s most important tasks (or on a normal day, still reading blogs — this one, for example)

    Then it’s time to go to the day job. I work from 8-4 so I’m back home around 5 PM. While at work, I try to focus in work stuff, but quite often find myself Tweeting and checking blogs in every spare moment ;)

    5:00 PM – 8:00 PM Spending time with wife and kid. My laptop stays off.

    8:00 PM – 9:00 PM Most days (5 days / week) this is when I go for my evening run. On the days when I’m not running, I use the time for some research on projects I want to work on, email, Twitter, and reading. I don’t get much of the productive stuff done in the evening, which is why I try to do that in the morning.

    10:00 PM Sleep :)

  4. Dale Bohman says:

    I enjoyed this post. I’m new to the blogging and social media and I liked the “Day in the Life” Approach. I need to find a rythm like that.

  5. Paula G says:

    I like how you segment and when you look at the big picture the social media is just one nugget of what you do. It is easy to get sucked into the black hole of surfing, reading, connecting online, but that is not productive & core to the identity of your business. Good job illustrating that & that the core of your business is still the bulk of your day.

  6. Yemoonyah says:

    Well I just wrote a post about that same topic yesterday :-)
    I also included some tips on how to make all these social media activities manageable for all those that feel overwhelmed by trying to keep up: http://kabai33.com/2009/01/27/keeping-up-with-social-media/

  7. Nice post, Mark. Other than getting up and shutting down about the same time you do, my days are very randomly scheduled. But, that’s all right. I make sure to get done what I need to get done without making myself more nuts than I already am. What’s most important (for me) is to make sure I notice/feel what I’m doing as I’m doing it and avoid having time rip by with no sense of where it went.

  8. Bruce Elkin says:

    Thanks, Mark (and Yemoonya, and the Duct Tape guy).
    In 10 minutes, I got three views of systems apps to Soc Mktng. Just what I need, just what I was looking for, but didn’t know it. Now I do. So thanks.
    Much appreciated. It helps a lot!
    Cheers!

  9. Joel Brown says:

    Thanks Mark, for the sneak peek into your way of doing things. My day appears much like yours i spend some time reading blogs (doesn’t appear to be as many as you) checking twitter, and reading forums. Some of it is really still haphazard at the moment, however social media is absolutely helping to grow my websites. My visitor counts dropped the last two month but up shot up by over 50% month to date with a few days to go. So Social media is one thing i am not going to drop.

  10. Now the 64K question. How do you equate a return on your investment, be it time money, or other investment into social media. How does it change the bottom line? This is a question I have to answer daily. i wold love to hear it from a person practicing it.

  11. Mark says:

    @Jim – thanks for the 64k question and the idea for my next blog post. What industry/business do you work in?

  12. Actually Mark I am a social media consultant helping companies ease into the options available to them. That question is one of the more difficult I have to explain. I applaud your efforts and love to see someone swimming at the deep end of the pool. Also you might address the amount of time you have been doing it. I implement a plan of attack and 2 weeks in they want to know why they don’t see money flowing into their bank account. How long have you been working on this? Is it gaining traction?

    I do a show on Tuesday nights at 5PM PST and would love to have you on as a guest. We could do a case study show. Let me know your thoughts. We can plug your company and talk more in depth.

  13. [...] How I use Social Media to Promote My Business – Social Media and Time Management an issue? Mark Haward shows you how he fits it into a busy day. [...]

  14. maria says:

    Very informative post! I look forward to implementing some of these tips in my daily marketing schedule.

  15. [...] more on my specific social media plan have a look at the post How I Use Social Media to Promote My Business or have a look at John’s [...]

  16. Thanks for sharing this. Interesting article. These days with all the social networking online and offline, it is hard to keep up with some sort of schedule.

  17. [...] How I Use Social Media to Promote My Business — Mark Hayward Are you still struggling with how to begin your social media campaign? (tags: socialmedia marketing web2.0 Social business twitter promotion blog smallbusiness) [...]

  18. Susie Cheng says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this information with us. It is very informative article. Great tips!

    Thanks and best regards,

    Susie Cheng
    http://www.twitter.com/susiecheng

  19. [...] build a distributed social media footprint for your business. Do NOT rely solely on Twitter as your social media business promotion [...]

  20. [...] build a distributed social media footprint for your business. Do NOT rely solely on Twitter as your social media business promotion [...]

  21. [...] The purpose of this post is to help small business owners who might be struggling with their search engine rankings, which is part of an effective overall social media plan. [...]

  22. [...] looking beyond personal uses for social media should read this post by Mark Hayward. He details a ten-minute daily guide for using social media to promote small [...]

  23. [...] for his small business using nothing but social media. He tries to help beginners make sense of social media and how they can use it for business promotion. You can follow him on Twitter [...]

  24. Anatoly says:

    Thank you so much, Mark!
    It’s interesting information.
    But how to implement this general introduction into the real business?

  25. GreenDriv says:

    Thanks for your information here.

    I am trying to use social media for business too.

  26. Great job Mark. Someone just tweeted this out today and I’m glad they did. I’d love to see an update: “One year later…” I’d also like to hear about your appearance on the show with Jim (above). Practical insights into using Social Media tools is a great help. My company defined Social Media strategy and then implements the strategy for our clients. Kudos to you for making it happen.

    http://www.Twitter.com/victorcanada

  27. [...] for his small business using nothing but social media. He tries to help beginners make sense of social media and how they can use it for business promotion. You can follow him on Twitter [...]

  28. Tatsiana says:

    Mark, thanks for sharing useful thoughts about social media tools :)
    I guess it contributed a bit more into my knowledge about social media in general. If you’re interested, there’s my webcast onSocial Media Use in business. I shared my insight on social media and would be grateful to see some thoughts and comments on the issue.

  29. Very insightful post Mark! It helps me that you’ve laid out a timeline of the events that you do. This helps me greatly!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    PS: I just found your sight through your awesome guest post at ProBlogger!

  30. Mark says:

    Hey Jarrod – glad you found the article useful! :-)

  31. [...] a distributed social media footprint for your business. Do NOT rely solely on Twitter as your social media business promotion [...]

  32. James says:

    This is good info. I especially like the Haro idea as I feel I have a lot to offer in regards to property etc. Many people are not social media aware and its a good thing to get into now before all your competitors.

    Thanks again

  33. Thanks for the ideas and run down of your day. Ill try something like that, 5:30? :0
    I shoot videos for businesses, for advertising on the web. Now a days with the economy, people want ROI, before they’ll spend $$ on something they’re not sure about. My approach was ” it brings your business to life”, “looks impressive” “better than print” “can put on your website”. But it’s still not convincing enough. So now people are asking about social media advertising. So it made me think, to try a different approach to selling a video. For example, doing a “how to” video of how to check your dogs teeth for a grooming shop, just to get their face out there, and create a buzz, bring them to their business. That sounds more convincing I think. Like the video is actually doing something, than just sitting on their website, no one knows about. You mentioned you doing videos for YouTube,what do you do, and what was that video of the beach for? Just getting ideas. I guess, I’m more into making a biz of social networking for other businesses to succeed. Thank you for your time
    Sergio

  34. Casey says:

    It was good to learn through your write-up. I actually liked the short while i spent looking at it and wanted to leave a comment to state that….Regards