Keokuk County Business Network, Social Media Marketing


I had the opportunity to talk about social media and social networking for small businesses today, for the Keokuk County Small Business Network, a monthly event put on by the Sigourney Area Development Corporation (SADC).

Sigourney and Keokuk County Attendees

Attendees included Doug Glandon, Mayor of the City of Sigourney, Angela Clark, City Clerk of the City of Sigourney, and small-business owners and others including Barn Wired, H&M Hardware, Iowa Rehabilitative Services, Smiles Dentistry, Sinclair Tractor and more.

Below are some of the highlights!

Who am I?

  • Board of Directors, Sigourney Area Development Corporation
  • Business Analyst, CaseWorthy
  • Former Director of Online Support & Communications for Distress Centre Durham

What is Social Media?

  • Websites and apps that allow people to share information and interact with each together
  • Networking or being able to connect with other users over common topics is so common that many people refer to social media as “social networks”
  • Social media is wider than social networks in that it covers blogs, video-sharing websites, social bookmarking and other “one-way” communications

Examples of Social Media Websites

  • Blogger
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • WhatsApp

How Social Networks Are Used

  • Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat: Talking about your business, providing a “look behind the curtain” and helping people learn about what you do
  • Twitter: For public relations and customer service – people often tweet businesses when they’re upset “in the moment”
  • LinkedIn: Finding new employees, learning how to be a better leader, and building your business skills
  • YouTube: Teaching, training, and longer videos about your industry
  • Pinterest: Inspiring visual/creative customers, showing off completed work

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing (SMM) is using social media in a way that helps grow awareness of your business Helps you increase visits to your website, Increase calls from potential customers, Increase sales of your product

Why Use Social Media?

  • Social media helps you expand your reach
  • By helping people understand what you do, you’ll increase your chances of them buying from you, or selecting you as a vendo
  • Online shopping/comparisons are becoming the norm – if people can’t find you online they will not choose to buy from you at all
  • For local sellers, social media marketing helps you compete with Amazon and other online retailers

Basic Social Media Marketing Plan

  • Identify your goals for using social media
  • Identify who your customers are
  • Choose which social media network(s) to use
  • Set a time frame
  • Begin producing content
  • Measure progress toward goals

Goals for Using Social Media

  • Improve local sales
  • Build awareness of your product
  • Sell products online
  • Become a “thought leader”
  • Make money from your content (AdSense, etc.)
  • Educate customers
  • Market research

Identify who your customers are

  • Who is currently buying from you?
  • What is their age range?
  • Gender?
  • Spending power? Are they students? Parents? Retirees?

Who lives in Sigourney? (2010 Census Data)

  • 2000+ population
  • 1000+ households
  • Median age ~48
  • Median household income $46,518
  • 11% poverty rate
  • 169 veterans

Knowing Your Market

  • First step in social media marketing is to know where you want to market
  • If you don’t understand who is on your social network, you can’t market to them
  • Worse, if the people who would want to visit your business aren’t on there, they’ll never see your message!


  • If you don’t have any social media, Facebook is the place to start
  • You can have a Facebook account for yourself and a Facebook Page for your business
  • Facebook Pages rank highly in Google
  • With no Facebook account, visitors can still see limited information

Google Pages

  • Not a social network on its own
  • Allows you (and other people!) to post information about your business
  • Get a star ranking, see photos
  • “Social proof” of rankings and reviews helps people know you’re a good business to visit

Social Media Use by Age

Insights on Social Media Use by Age

  • YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter are most popular with 18-24 year olds
  • Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn are most popular with 25-29 year olds
  • WhatsApp is most popular with 30-49 year olds
  • YouTube is the most popular social network overall
  • Facebook is the second most popular
  • Instagram and Snapchat are extremely popular among 18-24 year olds
  • Seniors (65+) are the fastest growing group of new social media users and they tend to open Facebook accounts

Social Media Use by Income

Insights on Social Media Use by Income

  • All social media platform use increases by income, except Snapchat
  • Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are widely used by all incomes
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn are much more popular among the 75K+ group

Set a Timeframe

  • You need to use your social media consistently
  • For this reason it’s helpful to make a plan that covers 6 or 12 months at a time
  • Stay on track so that your content stays at the top of people’s profiles

Social Media Content

  • Once you get beyond basic information about your business, you can choose to post other content
  • This is the “social” part of social media
  • Many businesses will post useful hints and tricks, or general “shareable” content (cute puppies or uplifting messages)
  • The more value your posts provide, the more likely customers will interact with it – this influences the algorithms to show your posts more frequently. Asking questions can be very helpful with this

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • When you write content, consider using keywords that your customers would be searching for
  • This is called “search engine optimization” or SEO
  • Some social networks let you use hashtags for this, but all let you search by key word
  • For example, keywords in a Sinclair Tractor post are bolded:
  • Visit Sinclair Tractor at 1407 200th Ave., Sigourney, IA for new           and used John Deere equipment. Contact our parts department           to check inventory or place an order. Contact our service            department to schedule service

Social Media Post Ideas

  • Information about your products or services
  • Sales going on
  • Photos of your products
  • Products available for sale
  • Long-form content about your industry (become a thought leader)
  • Guides and information
  • Questions for your customers for market research

Social Media Strategy

  • A good social media strategy will include a mix of “evergreen” content and recent updates, photos and text
  • What works best for your specific business will depend on the local market conditions – this is where trial and error and looking at the analytics comes in
  • Some businesses will find that people respond most to their informational posts, while others find that asking customers questions or posting about their products leads to the greatest engagement

Begin Making Posts

  • Once you’ve opened up a Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., page for your business you need to begin posting to it
  • A lot of data has been collected on optimal post amount
    • LinkedIn: ~1-2x per week
    • Facebook: 3-5x per week
    • Snapchat: 4-7x per week
    • Instagram: 4-7x per week
    • Twitter: 5-10x per week
  • Facebook and LinkedIn are “slower paced” networks
  • Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter are faster paced, requiring more posts

Building a Social Media Calendar

  • You can start by adding posts for major holidays
  • If there are major days relevant to your business, you can special posts for those
  • Restaurants will probably want to make special posts for Valentine’s Day
  • Tradespeople may want to make posts in advance of Thanksgiving or Christmas reminding people to get work done before family arrives
  • Tax preparers will want to be posting more before April 15th
  • From here, posts will depend how often you have news to share. Weekly specials? Completed a job and want to share about it? Attended a conference or event? Make a social media post

Scheduling Tools

  • HootSuite, Buffer, Postcron
  • These tools let you schedule posts that will go out at regular intervals
  • They have paid and free options
  • By scheduling posts, your social media will continue to be active even when you’re busy doing other things to grow your business

Social Listening

  • HootSuite allows you to set social media alerts with its Social Listening function
  • If someone mentions your business or town on Twitter or Facebook you’ll get an immediate alert and can respond to them
  • It’s important to reply to those who engage on your tweets to keep up the engagement

Producing Value

  • The goal of social media posts is to produce value for your customer
  • You can produce value by:
    • Teaching your customer something new
    • Inspiring them with your product
    • Helping them to connect to others in their community
    • No matter what your business is, social media can help your name stick in your customer’s brain
  • Rule of 7: You need to see a message (a brand name, a slogan) 7 times before you begin to notice it and it “sinks in”

Going Viral

  • Viral content is content that is shared a lot because it is interesting or provokes an emotion (happiness, sadness, anger)
  • Stories go viral, not facts
  • Happy content is more likely to go viral
  • Lists and infographics go viral more than paragraph content

Measuring Effectiveness

  • Once you’ve got a social media plan in place, you need to tell if it’s working
  • Each social network provides tools to help you understand how effective your posts are to help you understand your platform
  • Snapchat only opens their tool to those with large follower counts, the rest provide it to everyone
  • Best to evaluate on a monthly basis so you can tweak as you go

Facebook Insights

  • Lets you see how many people liked your page
  • How many people saw your posts
  • How many people interacted with those posts (hit “Like”, “Share” or commented)
  • Can also promote posts for greater visibility

  • All social networks allow you to buy advertising or “promote posts”
  • This is generally not useful for a small business with a limited geographical reach
  • Advertising costs differ depending on area, industry, and demand, but here are some numbers to give you an idea:
    • Facebook advertising costs about $0.27 per click
    • Twitter advertising costs about $1.35 per click
    • Instagram advertising costs about $0.75 per click

In Summary

  • If you don’t have a Facebook Page and Google Business Profile, you should start one
  • If you do have these but you’re not posting at least once a week, you should start!
  • If you are posting at least once a week, take a look at your Analytics to see which posts are performing best and use that data to focus on the types of posts that perform the best
  • If you’re a visual business (restaurant, photography, etc.) consider Pinterest or Instagram in addition to Facebook
  • Remember the Rule of 7! A customer need to see your brand, slogan or message 7 times before it sticks in their mind
  • Use a mix of photos and written content to capture people who prefer to consume information differently
  • If you’re targeting those 18-24 you should be on Snapchat or Instagram in addition to Facebook
  • If you’re targeting the highest earners you should be on Pinterest or LinkedIn in addition to Facebook
  • If you produce a visual or creative product you should be on Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat
  • Finally, consider use of tools like HootSuite to automate some of your social media and to perform social listening

How can local businesses help each other?

  • Review businesses in town on social media – these reviews help increase your rankings and make it easier for customers to find you and want to buy from you
  • Refer customers to your fellow businesses (and vice versa)
  • Consider use of video, especially video testimonials from customers, these are far more powerful than written ones in building brand loyalty

How can Sigourney Area Development Corporation (SADC) help you?

  • SADC provides pages on the SADC website to help increase your internet presence
  • SADC members receive promotion on our social media, at events and through other marketing channels
  • Looking to host a big sale, an open house or another event? Talk to us about how we can make it a success

For More Information

  • Talk to Amber Kephart, SADC Executive Director
  • Talk to a SADC Board Member
  • Email

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