Nowadays when you first start a business – one of the first questions you get asked is “Are you on Facebook or Twitter?” to which most people answer yes because they have just created a fresh Twitter handle or a spanking new Facebook page. The inner shame of not knowing how to use those platforms is usually not mentioned at that point.
However in real business terms – what does that mean? Only being present on social media isn’t enough to get results and increase engagement, if your social media arsenal is ready to go but you only use it every fortnight or don’t really know what to do with it – you will quickly be disheartened.
Adding to the confusion – you discover that it’s not all about Twitter and Facebook – there is also Pinterest, Instagram, Blogging, LinkedIn and another ten that you had never heard of. So your social brain panics and I can hear you say “So where should I be?” or “Who has time for all this?”
Most business owners tend to try to follow what others are doing and adopt all the platforms at once without understanding the purpose and functionality of each of them – this is when they give up and have a ‘social indigestion’.
However if the right fit is achieved for your business – there are tons of results, engagement and abundant effect to be yielded from social media – the number one trick being to speak to your target market and not to the whole world. The likelihood of your target market being online – trying to gather information to form a purchasing decision is very high and one you can’t afford to ignore.
Social media should be viewed as an opportunity to attract customers and grow your new and existing business. Because that’s where more and more consumers are looking – it has to be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Adding to that you will gain the ability to network, collect industry information and get valuable business resources such as recommendations.
Here are my top five tips when it comes to starting on social media:
1. DON’T HAVE AN EMPTY PROFILE
Please take the time to fill in all the areas that you need to fill in for credibility. If you are creating an individual profile on LinkedIn for example always have a photo and not a company logo, people want to see a human face when they are looking to connect. Try to have a good quality photo which represents your business. While filling in your profile, make sure to have great keywords so that people can look you up when searching for services or industry-specific connections.
2. GET YOUR TEAM ON IT
Ask your employees to set up accounts under their names, with your company listed as their place of employment. Explain to them that this is live advertising and that there are certain guidelines to follow. Try to investigate how LinkedIn can be added to the CRM and sales processes of your company such as at the end of a transaction or after exchanging business cards.
Be active and engaging, nothing worse than a dormant profile – include social media in a broader strategy and make sure that it is part of your lead generation efforts. Connect, engage and share. Take the time to focus on the important people in your business activity.
4. WHEN WAS YOUR LAST STATUS UPDATE?
Posting a status update on your page is like putting petrol before turning on your car – a page cannot work if you are not posting regularly. There are tons of programs you can use now like Hootsuite to make this happen with minimal effort so don’t be stingy with your updates and go post one now! Your content strategy should be a good mix of day to day occurrences and more strategic posts as well such as recommendations, industry links and blog entries from your website.
5. DON’T GO IN BLIND – HAVE A GOOD CONTENT STRATEGY.
Quality content is a must – don’t post about your personal life and make it interesting but professional. You need to work on your content strategy every week and check your Facebook Insights to figure out what type of content really works with your audience – is it creative, day to day occurrences, more formal posts? Once you have this worked out you can work on having a solid strategy - find videos, photos, articles and start a library to post on your page.
Bio: Sharon Latour is the founder and Queen Bee of Marketing Bee - a marketing agency specialised in bringing buzz to small and medium businesses. Sharon breathes, thinks and loves marketing. Whether it is social media, planning, design or branding – Sharon is always up for giving measured, professional and effective marketing assistance. Sharon has also worked with public listed companies and coached businesses to get the best out of their social media efforts.
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