September 17, 2014

Social Media Tips for Small Business

You’ve recently setup the obligatory Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profile pages for your small business and you’re asking yourself, “Now what?”

social network

If you’re new to the game and wondering what to do next, below are 5 social media tips to send you and your small business off in the right direction to achieve social media success:

1) Develop a Strategy

I’ve seen many companies make the mistake of approaching social media without a strategy. First, decide which social networks make most sense for your company. You may not have a product that will translate to Pinterest or Instagram. It’s better to have a limited, strategic presence on social media than to be everywhere without purpose.

Once you have selected the social networks that best suit your company, you can then align your strategy to meet your desired goals. For example, do you have the goal of growing your Facebook community? If so, you should be brainstorming content, promotions, and posts that will attract your target customer.

2) Respond

Assigning an intern to manage the social media channels a few hours per week is simply not enough anymore. Your online community expects to receive responses to inquiries in a timely manner (typical accepted response time is within 24 hours). If you aren’t willing to invest the time and money it takes to respond to your online followers, then you probably shouldn’t be on social media.

Customers want to know someone is listening. The simple task of responding speaks volumes to your customer service. If you don’t have the answer and need some time to find it, let that person know that you have seen their question and you are working to get the answer for them.

3) It’s All About the Content

Don’t just broadcast anything to make it look like you’re active on social media. There are too many companies out there bombarding their followers with the social media equivalent of spam. If you want to build a following, create content that makes you a leader in your industry.

If you don’t have enough time to regularly produce original quality content, share the good content that’s already out there or approach the experts to create content for you. Your online community will thank you for helping them find the good stuff.

4) Don’t Duplicate

Posting the same thing to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like is redundant and will cause you to lose followers. Tailor the content for each network and audience. LinkedIn is a professional network so this serves as a great place for thought leadership. Make use of photos and other rich media content to tell a visual story using Facebook Timeline.

People join social networks for different reasons and you best serve your online community when you know who they are and what they want to see. Take the time to do the research and post what is best suited to each medium.

5) Self Promotion is Anti-Social

In real life, when you’re trying to make friends, talking about yourself won’t get you far. It’s the same with social media. Your participation in the space should foster conversation. It’s okay to tell your online community about a new product or promotion, as long as that’s not all you’re doing.

Make it easy for your community, customers, and industry leaders to share content on your social pages. Be an active listener to better understand what your community wants. If they’re following you, they already think you’re great, you don’t need to constantly remind them.

How do you use social media for your small business?  Share your social media tips with us.

Social Network Photo via Shutterstock

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Ilana Bercovitz


Ilana Bercovitz Ilana Bercovitz is a social media and marketing professional at ReTargeter, a full-service display advertising solution specializing in retargeting. Ilana has served as a featured contributor and online content editor for CloudShare, Dream of a Nation and many others.

25 Reactions

  1. I would add that you need to become proficient in story telling, especially your company’s story of how you started, why you’re in the industry, and stories of how you’ve helped customers. People relate to stories and they’re inherently social.

    • That’s a very good point. Whether it’s about your company or your product, you must be telling a story your customers will relate to.

  2. Lack of strategy is the biggest mistake SMEs make when it comes to social media engaging. Good advice.
    Ben

  3. Good tip about not posting same content to every network. Tends to be what most people do but I can see the advatages of tailoring.

    • Thanks for reading, Steve. I see too many people replicating so I’m glad you agree that there is value in tailoring for each social network.

  4. As you say, responding to customers is key. If they talk to you then you must listen and reply in a timely way. More and more people are now looking to the social networks to resolve service issues.

    • That’s so true, Claire. I regularly see people turn to social networks first for service issues/complaints. Thanks for reading!

  5. Helpful tips. Just as in the brick and mortar world, respect and appreciate the individual. Toss in relevant and helpful content and soon there’s a degree of trust. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your comment, Dan. You bring up an excellent point. Just because we can’t see the customers in person, we should still approach them the way we would in the brick and mortar world. Something many people forget.

  6. Thanks for being one of those “numbered posts” that’s actually useful. I’m struggling for some good content, even though I’m a journalist by training. Very encouraging post. I really need to focus on just a couple of social media outlets for a while until my business really gets on the ground.

    • Willi, thank you for your support and I’m so glad you found the post useful. Best of luck to you as you get started with social media!

  7. I never thought about using the different social networking in different ways to help promote my business. This article has given me some real food for thought on how to better grow my social media presence.

  8. This is wonderful advice. It’s also good to keep in mind that it’s crucial for your business’s social media presence to be USEFUL. People aren’t necessarily reading your tweets or posts because they are researching your service. They may be researching to learn something about your industry. Only if you become and valuable resource to them will they consider exploring that relationship with investment. Great post, you’ve made a reader out of me!

    • That’s a great point. What you’re publishing should definitely be useful, even if it’s not promoting your company directly. Thanks for reading!

  9. Great advice! I think the greatest tip is to be unique and be different. I follow a lot of companies on various social media outlets. The ones that I like best are the ones that interact with their customers, post pictures, anecdotes, provide feedback. Also, taking the extra step to value each customer. I tweeted about a restaurant after having dinner one night. They responded, thanked me for visiting, and offered me a coupon for my next visit. It touched me and I was happy to visit again.

    • That’s such a great example of a company using social media to provide the best customer service. It’s nice to know they’re listening, right? Thank you for reading.

  10. I agree Ilana. Having a strategy is key. I’m surprised at how many of my clients haven’t mapped out a plan of attack for their social media marketing. My response is nearly always, “How can you get to where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re at?”

    And most often, these are the same business owners who hadn’t thought to create a business plan for their companies either, yet expect quick success. Go figure.

    • Rayna, thanks for your comment and for reading! You’re so right to ask your clients that question. I think it helps companies develop their strategy if they first decide what they want the end result to look like.

  11. The thing is to engage with yor prospects, get a conversation going.

  12. interesting article. I think i have to watch the one on “duplicating content on social channels” although i really do not have a clear idea of how to stop doing this yet. thanks.

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