When social media was introduced a few years ago, people wondered whether it was here to stay. Grandparents were using social media to see photos of their families and kids were posting about their latest social antics. Now social media has grown up and is clearly part of everyone’s lives. Small businesses are harnessing the power of social media to connect with customers, gather statistics and build a strong brand. Consider the basics about social media and how to get started.
Don’t Make It Personal
Your business social media accounts should be separate from your personal profile. Few people can resist posting cute sayings or photos of themselves doing something silly. These might appeal to your friends and family but they are inappropriate for your business. Creating social media accounts for your business also helps promote your brand. Your business becomes an active member of social networking. You can connect with individuals and other businesses. It is an opportunity for you to reach out to more people and broaden your horizons. These connections can lead to future sales and business opportunities.
Have a Distinctive Voice
Avoid a monotone or mundane approach often associated with business content. Social media is dynamic and gives you a chance to develop a distinctive voice. You might not want to adopt an informal tone in webinars or whitepapers but you can do it on social media. Let customers and associates know something about your company and its overall approach. Post updates and ask questions. Take surveys and share your latest offerings. Infuse a touch of humor, philosophy or whatever reflects your business vision. People will know your business by the statements it makes and the questions it asks.
Never Bash Anyone
Social media becomes a gossip zone for many people and companies. Resist the temptation to be negative. Never chime in on rants about the competition or post any of your own. Steer clear of connections that thrive on controversy. Before you connect with anyone, briefly peruse their profile. If they seem to use social media as a platform to insult others, you might want to avoid these type of connections. Ultimately, they are likely to direct their venom at you. While some negativity from others is often inevitable, try to avoid it when possible. The idea is to do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.
Listen to Conversations
Social media gives many the urge to continue to post their own thoughts. It becomes a one-sided relationship and you start to lose connections. Go beyond random posting and personal promotion. Listen to conversations and become engaged with your connections. The idea of social media is to socialize. Interact with others and they are sure to visit your social media pages more often.
Get The Team Involved
Whether you work alone or with a team of a dozen people, get everyone involved. Encourage everyone who works with you to participate in business social media pages. Encourage them to start their own personal accounts to share business-related links. The most exposure your business gets on social media, the better. Of course all team members should be connected with the business social media accounts.
Use Social Media to Do Research
What is everyone in your line of work talking about? Are customers looking for certain goods or services? Do social media searches to find out the latest buzz. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the latest trends helps to keep your approach fresh and relevant. Social media can provide invaluable details about the current market so you can tailor your business offerings accordingly. You can also post surveys to interact with your visitors and find out more about what they need from you.
Social media is supposed to be fun and interesting. Posting text and links is great but can become boring for your followers. Mix it up by posting videos and images. Add a personal touch with photos of your team members at a holiday party. Show you are real people as well as a responsible business. Of course, the phones should not show anyone acting foolish!
Take Advantage of the Social Media Moguls
There are countless social media accounts available today. Start with the big guys then consider whether other types of social media would be an advantage for your business. Establish business accounts with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as LinkedIn. You might want to open an account with Pinterest if your business focuses on images, such as a fashion designer or photographer.
[box type=”shadow”]Main Takeaway: The effective use of social media can be a major advantage for your business. Start by opening social media accounts with leaders such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Add images, videos and surveys to your social media postings to generate more interest. Use social media to research your field and learn more about what customers want. Develop a voice and interact with others but always keep your approach professional. [/box]