Social media. You know your business should have social media accounts, but building that presence as a small business owner may seem like big time commitment. And on top of that, you may be unsure of the reward you’ll get for your time investment.
As with creating an SMS text strategy, there are many fears when developing a social media campaign, but the benefits can be well worth it. So in honor of Social Media Day on June 30th, we’re talking through the value of social media for small business, and helping you get started.
Social media profiles not only allow you to share your brand message with the public, they help you better understand your customers. By listening to what they’re saying about you and observing what their interests are, you can find your brand advocates and even potential customers. Social media can allow you to deepen your existing relationships with your customers and improve your chances of being found on-the-go.
Whether you’re looking to start utilizing social media or re-vamp existing profiles we’ve got some tips to get you going:
There are many different social media networks you can use for your business. The “big four,” comprised of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, are the most well-known. But other sites are popular in their respective niches, such as Pinterest among women and Google+ in the business sector and male population.
The best way to begin to evaluate all of these options is to take a minute to define your best customer then determine which social media network(s) they are most likely to be on. Next, evaluate your own resources. How much time do you have to spend on social media? Do you have any employees who can shoulder some of the responsibility? The answers to these questions will help you in the next step.
Before you being posting content and engaging with a community online you need to formulate a strategy. After you’ve determined which profiles to develop and who will manage them, you can create a schedule to maximize your available resources.
Unsure of what to post? Your best bet is to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content should be from outside sources that your followers will find interesting or useful. The remaining 20% can be focused on your business, including original content like new product offers, your community activity, news about your business or, if you have a blog, your most recently written posts!
Don’t overthink your plan. Determine your focus – what are a few things you want to be good at – and then take the plunge. Create your social media profiles and implement your schedule for posting.
For example, if you are using Twitter, begin by “following” any relevant business connections, industry contacts and clients to keep up your business relationships online as well. If you are on Facebook, be sure to “like” the pages of other local businesses, your Chamber of Commerce, and charities or non-profits nearby.
Once you begin posting regularly, you can start participating in the conversation already going on. You can reply to tweets, join in on LinkedIn discussions, and respond to Facebook comments. Once you’ve built a proactive foundation (consistent posts and interactions,) people will reciprocate.
When people mention you on Twitter, send you a question or post thoughtful comments, make sure to respond within a reasonable amount of time (a day or two). Responding to negative reviews can be tricky, but they should be handled in the same amount of time or less.
As you continue to post, you’ll soon figure out your own “sweet spot” – how frequently to post, what topics get the best results, and other details of your business’ online personality. Post enough to be active but not so much that you overload your followers feeds. Above all, put your personality into your posts.
Don’t forget to be creative and embrace flexibility; after all, social media is always changing. And while you’re thinking about social media, check out our list of 11 things you need to do on social media today to grow your business!
What questions do you have about getting your business started using social media? What is the biggest challenge you are facing with starting your social media campaign?