Three Steps to make an impact using Social Media
It would seem that the entire world has now hooked up on social media of some type. What was once only the realm of teenagers and “yuppies” has become part of our everyday lives. We have so many choices as to how we connect to others in our social networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, just to name a few – there are literally hundreds of options to choose from.
With so many choices, as a small business owner, you are faced with a conundrum. Which social media platforms are going to give you the best “bang for your buck” and expose your business to its ideal customers?
Obviously, you cannot hope to cover every single one. Even with a full-time social media employee on staff, the task would be impossible. A selection of platforms needs to be made from the multitude to ensure that the best ones are chosen for your business.
However, even once the selection has been made, it isn’t all going to be plain sailing. The small business owner still has some questions to answer – who is going to take charge of the social media aspect of the business and what are they going to post online to create a social community around your business?
To help your business on its way to Social Media nirvana, here’s three tips to get you underway:
#1 – What platforms are best for your business?
The big players in the social media game are the ones we use in our everyday lives– Facebook, Twitter and maybe LinkedIn for business. It could be tempting to simply go with these however it needs to be remembered that not all social platforms will suit all businesses. You need to select, at most, three platforms that you will be able to use effectively to engage your customers in “conversations”.
If you are considering the big three, here’s what they are good for:
– Facebook is great for generating a community around your business if your target audience consists of everyday people. It allows moderated conversation to occur around your brand and its services / products. More than that, it is fantastic for creating connections and generating emotion if used effectively.
– Twitter is perfect for broadcasting quick announcements about your business. Use it to put out special offers, announce new products or services and respond to community trends. If you can say it in 140 characters, get your message out on Twitter. Be sure to use hashtags to “hook” into relevant topics that are trending your industry.
– LinkedIn is the ideal platform for business to business discussions. Create mutually beneficial relationships with other businesses that use your services/products. Key to success on LinkedIn is getting those all-important connections happening but once you get a few in the bag, they will start to “snowball” into a larger network.
#2 – Get social on a regular basis.
Now that you have selected the platforms that are going to work for you, it’s time to get busy! A good social media strategy starts with a calendar – when are you going to post new items onto your feed or create new tweets? This requires commitment. If you are only posting once a month onto your social media, you will be barely noticed by your followers, posts will lost in the multitude of feeds and it will be hard for your presence to gain traction. On the other, if you post too frequently, you may annoy those following you, they will “disengage” and you will lose those followers very quickly.
Aim for a couple of Facebook updates a week, a few tweets a day and maybe a picture a day on Instagram. You will need to work out the balance yourself or, better yet, find out from your followers what they think is a reasonable amount. While you are at it, why not ask them what they expect you to post online – tips, freebies, videos, pics, etc. What better way to shape your strategy than to ask the people who will access it?
#3 – Be real and show personality
Often, when businesses update their social media platforms, they tend to fall into the trap of using corporate speak and going for the hard sell. You mustn’t look at your Facebook or Twitter account as a way to sell services and products – people are not following you for that reason. They may want your products or services but they definitely don’t need to be pushed into sales with every post.
Instead, take your followers on a trip “behind the scenes” and introduce them to your business. If you have an Instagram account, show images of your staff trying out the latest merchandise after-hours. On your Twitter account, send out tweets that link back to your staff pages and introduce the people that make your business special.
At all times, remember that you are on SOCIAL media – so try to be social. It’s a perfect way to show your customers that there is actually real people behind your brand – people who care about the services and products they provide. Be real, show respect and most important of all, be yourself.
Then, watch as your actions on social media boost your small business up to the next level.