Using social media for small business should be a part of any business owner’s marketing plans. The important thing to keep in mind is that social media tools are simply communication tools. You can use social media tools to build relationships with people, share content and product information, respond to customer service questions and issues and much more.
Once you start communicating with these tools, people may read your blog, visit your website and share your content with other potential customers and followers. Keep in mind that social media tools really aren’t meant to be platforms for you to direct market your products and services. Use them to interact with people and build trust. If you use them right, people will find their way back to your home base, website or blog where your products and services are offered.
Here are 10 tips to effectively use social media to market your small business on all major social media platforms such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.
Social Media for Small Business Tips
1. Share blog posts and company updates
Blogging is where social media begins for businesses. Most businesses have blogs and if you don’t, you’re missing out on building relationships with existing customers as well as attracting new customers. Blogging provides an opportunity to share knowledge, tips and ideas about your products, services and space. It also provides a platform for people to get to know your company better. Many companies make the mistake of using blogging as an announcement board. Don’t fall into this trap. Write rich and value-added articles that help people. Publish 2 – 3 times per week minimum following a consistent schedule and you’ll be off to a great start.
2. Let people see what’s going on behind the scenes
People get bored with the same old company updates. Try to be unique and share pictures and information from behind the scenes. This can include company picnics, fun around the office, holiday party photos and more. Small business owners could publish photos from meet ups, conferences and other events that let people see what’s going on behind the scenes. Publishing this type of content helps people get to know your company better and keeps things interesting.
3. Share content and media from others in your space
It’s perfectly acceptable to Tweet or share articles and helpful information you find on the internet. Sometimes you might even share competitor’s articles. The more value you provide in your social media streams, the more people will follow and pay attention. Again, focus on value and helping people find what they need.
4. Interact and provide customer service
Companies big and small can use their social media channels to provide customer service, answer questions and provide assistance. I’ve had numerous blog readers contact me through my social media networks. I’ve been able to share articles from deep in my archive to help them with a specific problem or question.
5. Offer promotions, coupons and giveaways
Social media also provides a way to create buzz. There is no better way to get people excited by offering special promotions, coupons or giveaways through these channels. If you’re offering is good enough it can spread and even go viral. This leads to more visitors and potential customers. Bloggers do a good job of providing occasional giveaways on their blogs and businesses should take note. I’ve seen bloggers giveaway books, ereaders, iPads and more.
6. Inspire people with quotes and pictures
People are visual and sometimes an occasional quote or picture can bring attention to your website. Quotes and pictures seem to get a lot of attention on Facebook and of course, Pinterest. Try to provide quotes on – topic from time to time. Shares can generate more traffic to your Facebook page which in-turn generates traffic to your website or blog.
7. Return favors
If someone is tweeting or sharing your content, why not tweet about theirs too? It may take a while, but people will eventually retweet and share directly from your blog or website. Returning the favor to share others’ content helps build community and can make your brand stronger.
8. Don’t share or post too much
Share and post often, but not too often. You’ll occasionally come across brands who post all the time and flood social media streams. Personally, I think this is annoying and it’s an easy way to be unfollowed. Don’t be the brand that hogs all the conversation and remember that social media isn’t a one-way conversation. It’s two-way just like it is in real life.
9. Ask questions and reply to comments
Just like you would in the real world, reply to interesting posts and ask questions. This is how you get involved in discussions. You’ll find most people are interested in having a conversation with you. Also, once you have some followers, poll your audience with questions about a recent blog post, or even to get their ideas and input about your products or services. Such responses can turn into ideas for future content for a company website or blog, or help improve products and services.
10. Make it Easy to Get Mentioned
Make it easy for people to share your content by including a social media sharing buttons on every company blog post so people can like, plus one or share your content. You also need to have follow buttons on your blog for people to follow you on your major social media channels and you can even include a widget that shows people your latest tweets or posts so they can see your activity.
In conclusion, be helpful and try to give people more than they give you. In doing so, you’ll likely find great success with social media.
Can you think of any other tips to successful use social media for small business marketing?