“I joined The Facebook today!”
[Social media best practices for small businesses (and newbies)]
When first starting out, social media for your small business can be like walking into Sephora when you have no interest in or idea about makeup.
However when it comes to running a business, social media can be a key element in improving your brand presence while being a helpful aid in customer service.
It’s one thing to create a business page on Facebook or account on Twitter, choose a profile picture, and write in your “About” section to tell your audience what you can offer them. It’s another thing when it comes to engagement, brand awareness, and keeping your followers interested with relevant content.
Below are 3 “introduction tips” for getting started on social media for your small business, gathered from both personal experience and research.
1. Engage, engage, engage!
The most important thing to remember about social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), is that they are social platforms. People use these platforms because they want to connect with other human beings.
So - be social with them! Follow them back, like their posts, comment on pictures that you like and share posts that are inspiring to you or that are relevant to your audience. This will grow your number of followers and create an online community for yourself and your audience.
Scott Stratten, named one of the Top 5 Social Media Influencers in the world by Forbes.com, says “5 steps to success on Twitter: Follow, Reply, Retweet, Share, Repeat.”
*One big tip to remember regarding “sharing” — never over-share. Too much sharing can get annoying. Remember the 70/30 rule: 70% of your content should be relevant to your business and what you do, and 30% should be a mixture of interesting shares and personal information. Back to that social comment, people like to know who they’re following. Don’t be afraid to get personal sometimes!
2. Bite your lip and respond. Every damn time.
Imagine if when you gave your coworker or friend a compliment on their outfit, they completely ignored you? It would be weird. And you would probably stop complimenting them. Or someone spilled their drink on you, and just blankly stared at you? You’d be annoyed, at the very least.
The same thing applies on social media. Whether good or bad, thank them for their comment. Thank them for their feedback, even if it’s a terrible comment complaining about anything and everything. Rather than turning to the person beside you and hitting them, take a deep breath and respond politely.
At the end of the day, other potential customers are reading these comments and responses. It’s how you respond that reveals the most about your business. Want to take responsibility and rectify the situation with your customer? Probably a smart idea. However, if the bad comments are coming from trolls - simply ignore or report them.
3. Don’t be a part-time player on a full-time platform.
Back to that person that spilled their drink on your shirt, the person that is blankly staring at you. Now imagine that after 5 minutes they decided to stop staring and apologize. You’re over it by then, you’ve walked away and hopefully you did something about that shirt.
However, take this clumsy person that spilled their drink on your shirt and rewind a bit. They spill their drink on you, apologize immediately, and offer you their shirt (or offer to help clean it…). You’d still be annoyed, for sure, but you would get over it and probably feel bad that they were so clumsy and awkward in the first place.
I saw Scott Stratten at a conference in May 2016, where he said something along the lines of “don’t be a part-time player on a full-time platform.” Social media is a full-time platform. People do not sign off at 5PM and revisit it the next day. People want to hear from you right away when they comment.
A quick response (2 hours or less) actually will calm your complainer/ranter down almost every time, and you can work with them to come to a resolution. This also looks great on your part, because it shows that you care (even if you don’t).
Those are your introduction tips for your small business social media platforms! Next step is to plan relevant content, which requires time and research. Having a social media strategy is important to keep your audience engaged and interested!
Thanks for reading. :)