After years of avoiding social media, small businesses are starting to embrace it – but are they really reaping the benefits?
Not according to Business Network International (BNI), whose latest survey found 75% of business owners have been "put off" a particular company due to their poor use of social media.
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
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.
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. Sendible’s social media dashboard with features like work flow approval and assigning tasks to team members should help you manage this effectively.
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.