Social media was once considered an amusing pastime for gossipy teens and adults looking to reconnect with people from yesteryear. Now social media has become a powerful tool for promoting businesses of all types and sizes. Recent research conducted by VerticalResponse revealed the current ways small business owners are using social media. It also shows small businesses could be taking greater advantage of the affordable promotional opportunities offered by leading social media. Discover how you can use social media to benefit your small business.
How Other Small Businesses Use Social Media
More than 60 percent of small businesses spend less than six hours weekly on social media. When you consider how long it takes to read the status reports on your personal Facebook page, six hours is not a lot of time. About 35 percent of small businesses are taking advantage of YouTube to promote various products and services. Over 12 percent of small businesses are using the review site Yelp to spread the word about what they do. While this is a start, there are countless other ways small businesses could be using social media to promote themselves. Often small businesses are overwhelmed with responsibilities and figure social media is a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Sharing Is Caring
This mantra from three decades ago is appearing again on a variety of blogs and websites. The catchy saying is meant to encourage visitors to share content on social media. Make this easier for your readers by including share buttons to leading social media websites including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as Google+ and Pinterest. Visitors can just click the button and share your content in seconds. This encourages more people to visit your websites and share its content. Post compelling content with a significant message to get people to share it. You can also include a line in some of your blog entries asking your reader to share content they enjoy.
Create Business Profiles on Social Media Sites
While you might have personal social media accounts, your business should have its own distinctive presence on social media. Create a social media profile for your business as well as any special products, published books or proprietary material you create. Share your latest content on your business social media profiles. Every few days, check in to read comments and reply to them. It is important to be interactive on social media rather than use it as a platform for your own ongoing monologue. You can also post surveys and questions to find out more about what your customers want.
Create Personal Profiles on Social Media Sites
Though a personal profile is never a substitute for a business one, it also makes a difference to be personally present on social media sites. While your friends and family will not want to read every update about your business, you can occasionally share news about new products or services as well as times when you business receives awards or special kudos. This lets people know about your business and encourages them to share important news about your enterprise. Avoid overwhelming your personal connections with info about your business or you may find they disconnect from you. However, it can be quite productive to share business updates every few weeks.
An Image Is Worth a Thousand Words
Sometimes you feel like you have nothing left to say. Instead of saying something boring or irrelevant, post an updated image related to your business operations. Make it personal by posting a picture of your team at work. Show off a new product through eye-catching images. Often an image is worth a thousand words, especially if you are wracking your brain to come up with fresh content. Find opportunities to take photos of your business then share them with customers. You can also encourage customers to submit photos showing their experiences with your products or services. Share these testimonials on social media to spread the word.
Steer Clear Of Drama
Much like a big party, social media can be a source of major drama. Never engage in banter with social media connections. If necessary, report harassers rather than engage in any type of conversation with them. Often when you ignore these snarky people, they move on to someone else. If your business issues any type of immature or inappropriate statements, it can have a negative impact on your image. Be mature, use social media for positive purposes and soon you’ll see measurable returns!
[box type=”shadow”]Main Takeaway: Social media is more than a playground for teens and bored adults. Leading social media sites are a viable platform for small businesses to brand themselves, spread the word about their offerings and interact with customers. Learn how to use social media to your advantage and avoid certain pitfalls that can have a negative impact on your image.[/box]