Mark Zuckerberg is 30. Facebook has been around for over a decade and the world looks decidedly different. Since 2004 we as Americans have seen our country fight in two separate wars, watched whistleblowers and hackers like Snowden and Assange leak classified information, seen Facebook transform into a social media empire and bore witness to two Superbowl victories by the New York Giants (my Buffalo Bills are still pretty mediocre but I digress). The point is that the world has changed and with any change come certain necessary adaptations, like using social media for small business, which will help build your brand presence and get more people to ditch your competitors and see what you have to offer. Two or three years ago promoting through social media for small business was seen as a luxury, not a necessity. A decade ago it was an afterthought. Today, having a Facebook account, Twitter account or Instagram account could be the difference between life and becoming the second coming of the dodo bird. Those that still believe social media for business is a luxury asset should consider the fact that people are already talking about them on social media (it could be negative, it could be positive). Wouldn’t you want to find out?
Social Media for Small Business Strategies
If you do then here are a few ideas from Kym McNicholas that we believe will help build your initial social media strategy.
- Assess Your Assets: In business your greatest assets are not real estate, inventory or the fancy new computers you just bought; it’s your customers. If you know what they expect of you and what they want to hear for you then you’re ready for step two.
- Sign-up for Social Media: Alright, so there are a lot of social media sites out there but which one is right for you? The vague (and correct) answer is all of them. While not all of your customers may be on every social media site you should be aware that every customer has different social media preferences. Some may like Twitter, some may like Facebook and others might like Instagram, which makes your job a little difficult. You have to cater to everybody and make everyone feel important. Not an easy job for one person, which is why you may want to consider, step three.
- Find a Social Media Manager: There’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Vine and a whole lot more. There’s good news though, with a social media manager app you won’t have to spend all of your time flipping from platform to platform like an Olympic gymnast. Instead, with an app like HootSuite, you can write your message once, schedule it to post and relax (well as much as you can).
- Post Updates: People want to follow businesses that look like they’ve been there for a while. If your social media page has nothing on it your potential customers will likely flock elsewhere in search of information. Before you launch a social media page be sure to populate it with relevant content, pictures, videos, anything that will tell your customers who you are and what you’re about.
- Find Friends and Followers: This can be one of the most difficult steps in building your social media presence. You want to attract followers but you also don’t want to put yourself out there to the point where everybody runs away from you either. McNicholas points out that Twitter and Google+ can simplify things if you’re just starting out. Try searching keywords to start.
- Engage Friends and Followers: At this point you have friends and followers (yay!), now you’ve got to keep them. Not many people want to be friends with someone who’s completely silent (it can get a little creepy). Friendships involve building a relationship and in any relationship communication is key. Build the brand story you want your customers to see and remember this is a relationship and not a sales pitch.
- Stay Current (and relevant): 53 percent of people expect brands to respond to their Tweets in less than an hour. If it takes longer than you might end up with some negative reviews. Get updates to your phone so you can respond swiftly and appropriately.