Social media can be an important tool for small businesses and a way to spread their message about their products and services. But to use social media effectively, you must first understand the rules for success. Social media triumphs depend on so many factors. But there are some “big hairy audacious goals” you can set for yourself.
They do require extra effort – but they will make your social media campaigns shine.
These aren’t quick fixes. But they will move you from a mediocre social presence with few followers and little interaction, to a vibrant network of engaged connections ready to spread your message.
Take the Time to Build a Network
We’re talking a lot of time. For example, author, speaker and networker Chris Brogan has been blogging since 1998 and involved in digital media for 13 years. A look at Brogan’s bio gives an idea of the time he has spent networking with others.
It also gives you a list of his other accomplishments including being the NY Times bestselling author of The Impact Equation and other books, publisher of Owner Magazine, CEO and President at Human Business Works and more.
His social media followers on sites like Twitter and Google Plus are diverse and represent networks that clearly took time and effort to build.
Look for Ways to Make a Difference
UK blogger Sarah Arrow doesn’t just have a strong following on social sites like Twitter. Through her website Sarkemedia.com, Arrow offers advice and services that help others use social media, blogging and even Kindle book promotions to attract more clients.
But Arrow also demonstrates she’s not only about business as head blogger on the women’s business site Birds on the Blog. The site promotes not just the opinions of its guest bloggers, but also efforts to raise the funds for the schooling of two young children in Uganda.
Shine a Light On Others
Don’t make your social media efforts all about you. Try to take some time to shine the light on others.
Here’s a tip: Pick a few people from your followers and connections and highlight them. Share and promote content they’ve shared or just give a shout out.
Leverage trends like Follow Friday on Twitter to send shout outs to those you appreciate – just because.
Be More Social, Have a Conversation
Though your aim when using social media may be marketing your product or promoting your brand, a far better approach is to view social media for what it is.
Listen to the conversations others are having. Answer their questions if you can. Take part in brainstorming sessions when others are seeking ideas. Ask questions of your own. Build connections and trust.
Connecting and showing interest in others on social media will help you build a stronger and more effective network and will help you more effectively spread your message when the time is right.
Gorilla Photo via Shutterstock
Your ideas are genius! Highlighting a customer and joining in your customers’ conversations are two brilliant ideas. The building up of your network should go without saying, but I have seen many new business just jump on into the deep end without doing anything but making a page and they pay for it in the end.
Social media is a good channel to reach out to other, promote your product or just to air complaints about a credit card fraud, like what happened to a friend. With various replies, she finally found a solution and saved hard-earned money from being used by fraudsters.
How relevant is Follow Friday on Twitter now that it has grown up? I don’t see it that often among my tribe, and when it does come up I don’t usually act on it. It used to be that the names suggested were just arbitrary, not selected because they might add value – or else I just looked at the wrong ones.
I am much more likely to follow someone who is recommended in a tweet that also states why I should follow them.
The last thing people want is an inactive social media account that posts nothing but advertisements. If you don’t have the time to engage, then hire someone who can. This way, your followers will know that your account is active and they can ask questions whenever they want.
Aira in the comments above makes a good point, everything that I’ve read about social media points to how it enables people to connect with their customers. If no one is home when they connect it’s not a good thing.