10 Social Media Tips for Small Business
Social networking platforms build buzz, boost business and serve small businesses as low-cost/no-cost marketing tools. Small business owners need to understand how these tools strategically serve and support small business first so they best implement social media strategies to sell products and/or services.
1 – Start Small – You don’t need to create an account on every social media site at once. Think about the sites your customers use that also fit your business. Foursquare is great for destinations, Twitter can help quickly get news and updates out to your followers, Facebook is wonderful for building community and sharing tips and advice. Pick the one that aligns with your business and start with that. Later, you can add more accounts and link them together to expand your presence.
2 – Listen- There are a lot of conversations going on out there. Some of them may be about your company, your industry or other topics that affect you. Take the time to listen to what is being said before deciding how to respond or add to it. You’ll learn more about what is important to your target market when you put your ear to the ground.
3 – Participate- By becoming part of these conversations, you show that you’re interested in what people have to say. This is also your opportunity to show how much you know about your topic, which helps to establish your authority. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, encourage debate and even stir up a little controversy now and then. It gets people talking and gives you more information you can use to connect with them.
4 – Be Relevant – If you have some good tips that are related to your business, share them. Having a sale? Let everyone know. You might even want to have special offers or incentives for your followers. Not sure what to post? Think about what interests your customers. They don’t want to be bombarded with promotional messages, but useful info is always appreciated. If you’re a pet sitter, you could provide suggestions on how to keep pets happy and healthy while their owners are away. A dry cleaner? Try stain removal tricks.
5 – Keep it Brief – You don’t need to write a novel to be successful with social media. If you message is short and to the point, it will be read. One useful trick when drafting a message is to write what you want to say, then go back through your draft an cut words you don’t really need. Any fluff and filler words should go, making your message more concise and powerful.
6 – Get Personal – People like to know there’s a human heart behind the companies they do business with. This is especially important with local businesses. If you’ve ever used the line, “I know the owner... ” you know what I mean! Showing your personality in your posts makes them more interesting to read, and more compelling for customers. This doesn’t mean to share everything, but a conversational tone with a few interesting tidbits about your hobbies, pets, likes and dislikes makes you – and your business – more approachable.
7 – Use Humor – Using humor will let people know that you’re approachable. By being approachable people will feel comfortable interacting with your brand and they’ll ask questions when they need something. Humor also implies that you’re not a selling machine and that you don’t take yourself too seriously. People also want to do business with people that are fun; fun people make us feel good and feeling good can lead to a purchase decision. So be sure to work a little humor into your voice.
8 – Look at the big picture- Think of social media as a community rather than a place to sell your products and services. People on these sites, just like the Internet in general, are not necessarily looking to buy something. Most of the time, they want information they can use, and they want to connect with the sources of that information. Make sure your efforts keep this in mind. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re here to talk to people, invite them to join you, offer them your expertise, etc. Design each individual post to make an overall impression that, over time, reflects your business objectives.
9 – Call to Action – Your social media voice should contain a call to action. This does not mean that it needs to be over the top and salesy. Just make sure that you’re asking people to do something when you interact with them. Whether it’s contacting Customer Service or sharing a story with you about their experience or even downloading a coupon; work a solid call to action note into your social media communication strategy.
10 – Refresh & Recall – Point out older blog posts or content that support your current initiative. This will demonstrate consistency of your brand vision and commitment to sustaining it. Refresh your audiences memory about what you’re trying to achieve and point to anything you have available to support your effort. Recalling past client experiences or sharing testimonials can also be powerful in demonstrating not only credibility but transparency.