The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Social Media Marketing Partners: Use affinity programs and groups – Part 4

Find unexpected partners to help promote your business – part four.

Social Media Marketing PartnersIn this final installment about social media marketing partners, we look at merchant programs, business to business blogging, and place branding programs. Each of these topics represents opportunities for small businesses to partner for social media success.  (Click to start at the first article in this series.)

Merchant programs

American Express created Small Business Saturday in 2010. After more than $5.5 billion dollars in small business sales, the one day event has turned into a national phenomenon and social media marketing success story. And get this – you don’t even need to accept American Express – really its okay. American Express provides online resources, including sample Facebook, Twitter, and Email templates. There’s even a Shop Small portal to register your business or neighborhood.

Using the Twitter hashtag #ShopSmall, Small Business Saturday is really any day you engage your customers in a conversation about the value of small business to our economy, neighborhoods, and quality of life.

Other vendors that you do business with may also offer ways to support your business as a social media marketing partner. Who are you writing checks to? Those businesses need you to succeed in order to realize their own success. And they may be much bigger businesses with marketing departments and a sales force. Find out what they are doing on social media and see how it might benefit your business and your own social media marketing efforts.

Business to business blogs

Check out blogs that your vendors may offer, even those that you might not think of as obvious sources for social media marketing tips. Take Inuit for instance. Chances are you are already using QuickBooks, the leading small business bookkeeping software. But have you read the Intuit Small Business Blog? Lot’s of great business advice throughout this online resource, especially in the area of marketing and you can drill down to some great social media marketing specifics. Recent articles include:

There are countless other Business to Business (B2B) blogs out there. In fact, most B2B marketers rank blogging as a top marketing strategy. By helping you with insightful social media marketing tips, your social media marketing partners invest in your success as well as their own.

Place branding programs

Government, yes, the government, also has an interest in small business success. Small businesses create jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the quality of life. For those reasons and more, local, regional, and state governments often have programs to promote commodities, products, services, and experiences that originate in their area. Think Idaho potatoes, wines from Napa Valley, vacations in Las Vegas, or watches from Switzerland. You have top of mind impressions about each of these, not attached to a specific company, but because the place of origin is a brand in and of itself. This is referred to as place branding.

There are lots of variations on place branding, but the short story is you want to associate your business with a broader brand identity. You sign-up, sometimes there is a small licensing fee, and you use the place brand on your product, packaging, advertising, and so on. These place branding programs also have well-developed social media marketing strategies to promote the place brand itself as well as products, businesses, and services.

Pure Michigan is the place brand of the State of Michigan. The brand started as a travel promotion, but was so successful it has been extended to a broader marketing strategy for manufacturing, business attraction, and more. Pure Michigan’s social media marketing strategy uses Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare, Flickr, Pinterest, and WordPress to promote the brand and participating businesses. The brand is so popular that an online store was established to sell Pure Michigan merchandise. With that kind of marketing horsepower, it’s worth the time to check out what your city, region, or state might be doing with place branding. Contact the department of commerce to find out about place of origin or place branding efforts in your state.

Social Media Marketing Partners help you grow your business

As a small business owner, you can’t do it all. But you can find social media marketing partners that can help you get started, help you grow, and can serve as a constant cheerleader along the way.

Throughout this four-part series, we’ve looked at ways that small businesses can get started with social media marketing. Whether is promotions like National Small Business Week, leveraging your membership in your local chamber of commerce, or getting a boost from a vendor’s merchant support program, there are other businesses and organizations interested in your success. Social media marketing is a mutually beneficial way to engage this interest and grow your business. Reach out and find your social media marketing partners today.

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Category: Advanced Tactics