Even though social media plays such a large role in our lives, many small business owners are unclear about how to use social media to benefit their business.
But if you’re going to “do” Facebook or Twitter, you want to make sure you do it right. It definitely reflects more poorly on your brand than a mismanaged or abandoned social media presence.
If you’re just starting to develop a social media strategy, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Your business is small. If you’re looking to major corporations for insight on how to do your social media, you’re looking at it from the wrong angle. For example, a brand like Starbucks can offer up a big flashy prize in a Facebook giveaway. You might look at this and feel pressured to offer a similar prize for your fans.
But you’re not Starbucks. Your followers know you’re not Starbucks. Nobody is expecting you to give away a tropical vacation or a Macbook. If you’re an ice cream shop, give away pints of ice cream. A technology consulting firm? An hour or two of your consulting services. Work with what you have.
It’s not all about you, you, you.
Your customers are on social media sites for a variety of reasons. Some use Facebook to stay in touch with relatives. Others follow journalists on Twitter to keep up with breaking news. But there’s one thing you’ll probably never hear a social media user say: “I’m here for the marketing. Market at me.”
In other words, if social media is a place for friends, your overt marketing turns you into the loudmouth friend who tells the same story so many times that everyone else can recite it word for word. Don’t be that friend.
Hootsuite, a social media management platform, advocates that 80 percent of your content “be about your customers—engaging with them and sharing relevant content that they will find valuable.”
Just because it exists doesn’t mean you have to use it.
So everyone’s been talking about Instagram, and you’re not 100 percent sure what it is…but it exists, so you’re going to go ahead and start posting on it. That’s a good plan, right?
Social media sites aren’t a “one size fits all” kind of thing. As a small business owner, the available resources you would devote to social media are most likely limited. Bigger companies have the time and manpower to try out every new social media tool that pops up. We suggest sticking with one or two sites to really target your approach (sorry Google+ users).
As point seven in this Forbes article advocates, find the one platform that the majority of your target audience uses, and make that platform your priority.
Social media can work for your small business — you can build your brand, find new customers, and promote your product. These three points will help you get started. Watch our blog posts for further tips and advice for small business owners. Or, if you need direct help getting started with social media or help managing your profiles, come to us! We take on clients for social media posting and marketing, and we focus on automating the process while keeping it personal, relevant, and effective.