Social Media – Getting Started For Small Businesses

One way or another it is constantly being proved that social media is here to stay and small businesses who are not proactively engaged in at least three of the main platforms are going to be left behind by the competition.  Once you establish your social media presence keeping it going need not take up hours and hours but it does need to be regularly maintained.

REMEMBER: your customers are doing social media and you need to be there to get your slice of the cake and your competitors will be doing exactly that.

Getting started with social media can be off-putting for the small business person – partly because it can be time consuming to keep up but also partly because small businesses often do not have the time to even learn the basics themselves.  Decisions need to be made from the beginning – Which social media platforms are right for your business and you personally?  How often should you do it?  How do you get your brand awareness out there?

Does that mean small businesses do not get to play the game?  No it does not.

Cost effective and practical assistance is available but it does help to have some idea of what is involved before searching for this type of business support:

1. Understand your audience

You are wasting your time writing blogs for the sake of writing.  Some background knowledge and general research is crucial.  This allows you to better target your content to suit what is currently trending within your niche market.

2. Understand NEED –v- WANT

Getting quality fans or followers is something all businesses aim for.  However, every business needs engagement to encourage discussion and credibility.  It should be remembered that gaining fans and followers for your social media platform is merely a want.  It is more important to focus on creating the right level of interaction to develop a good social media profile.

3. Take advice – don’t take offence!

Inevitably when you interact with your audience on sites such as Facebook or Twitter you will come across some negative comments at some time.  Such comments should be carefully considered as negative comments can also be positively motivated and the truly negative comments should be viewed as an opportunity to show you care about your customers.  To avoid alienating your customers a carefully thought through response is therefore required.

People who make comments on posts can offer some constructive criticisms and businesses who deal with this in the wrong way can lose out big time.  Always remember that social media is an easy means of venting dissatisfaction and how businesses respond to this is important.

4. Once you have a live Facebook page or Twitter account – use it!

It is pointless and counter-productive to create a Facebook page or other social media account and leave it inactive.  Decide which platforms best suit your goals and once started aim to post regularly across your various social media pages.  It is better to have just one or two social media platforms which are regularly up-dated than to have 10 social media accounts which are neglected.  Social media users read and take note of blogs and posts that show up on their feed so you need to get your message out their regularly.

5. Don’t direct sell

Social media is all about interaction with your audience and encouraging two way discussion.  It is a turn off and considered bad social media etiquette to direct sell.  Your posts must be opportunities for real discussions.  They must add value, entertain, contain a personal as well as a business personality and have a variety of links. Adding a photograph can also engage your audience.

In short encourage your audience to get to know you.  Once you have achieved that level of engagement they will automatically want to dig deeper and find out what you do and visit your website.  They will also want to share your posts with their audience too.  When that happens you have the opportunity to “go viral”.

If you need help in getting your business started on social media or need to improve what you have give us a call.

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