Go ahead and Google "simple social media tips for small business" and in 0.79 seconds you have 206,000,000 search results.
If you are like the majority of small business owners, mastering social media more than likely feeling like a gargantuan task that you have no instructions for. It can feel incredibly daunting when you want to be heard over the constant hum of larger, established brands. Fear not, I am going to share with you four simple tips to help you not only get started but help you get awesome!
As with any aspect of business, the key to success is consistency, it is just as imperative for a brands social media.
- Keep your Bio's on social channels the same - include the same information and links, in addition ensure that your tone and language is the same across the board. This instills confidence in consumers that they have found the correct account/page.
- Use the same image on every platform, again this creates an instant brand/client trust. If you are a sole trader or one-man-band then I strongly suggest you use a picture of yourself, so fans/followers know who they are talking to. If however you are a larger company and numerous people will be managing the channels then a logo is more suitable.
- Keep them updated, if something changes, be it your location, URL make sure you update your social bio's.
Regardless of your business or industry, and the standard office hours, social media does not work like that. The majority of consumers access their social channels before work, at lunch and in the evenings. To dismiss your social channels from 5pm-9am could seriously harm your brands positioning online.
The answer is not however, staring at your screen for 20 hours a day, instead it's about strategy, scheduling and a little science; research your audience, if you have a e-commerce site analyse the times of day that customers visit, use these statistics as a basis to draft a monthly strategy and schedule. Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer offer more than just scheduling, they have in depth analysis crafted from algorithms that can be utilised to guide your social strategy.
Once you have the strategy and scheduling in hand you must learn to speak up and have a voice on social channels, it is not enough to simply retweet, share links and the occasional funny picture.
You have to interact; the clue is in the word social, converse, get involved, share your expertise, engage in industry conversations and debates. Treat your time on social as you would a face-to-face networking event; imagine a fellow networker was stood in front of you, would you simply spout headlines from the news or would you instead strike up a conversation about, how it affects business, what it means for the industry you are in etc...
It sounds like | am teaching grandma to suck eggs, but time and time again I see brands talking AT people no TO them, and with 1000's of brands all competing for their air time online you have to be seen to be doing something a little different.
Understand what your audience needs from you, and give the people what they want. It really is that simple!
If I had £1 for every time this conversation has cropped up with clients, I would be able to comfortably retire. Social Media is not the place to hard sell your wares or services, it is a platform for conversation, interaction and sharing. This can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially for keen start-ups who simply want the world to know what they do. Yes, you should make it easy for people to find out what you do, where you do it, and how they can find out more, but they shouldn't feel suffocated by the sales pitch.
Blogger extraordinaire Erica Domesek hit the nail on the head when she said; "You're marketing to humans, not robots."
Appeal to consumers emotional needs and genuine natural engagement will follow. Create content that is interesting, valuable and sincere and the chance of sharing, commenting and 'liking' will only increase.
The world of social media is moving so rapidly it can be dizzying trying to keep on top of everything, I spoke with some fellow Community Managers and Social Media Stars and they had this to say;
"Articulate their brand voice, personality and values clearly before even setting up a Twitter or Facebook account" Erin from Engage Comms
"Don't get disheartened, results don't happen over night - stick with it" Lil from CopyStorm
"Interaction is massively important. Don't just schedule tweets and expect stuff to happen" Charlie, Blogger
I would love to know what your thoughts are, what great or shocking advice you were given when you started out!
For more Social Media conversations make sure you pop over to twitter
Photo Credit http://deathtothestockphoto.com/