First and foremost, it’s important to understand that social media is not one size fits all. Every small business is different and will have different social media needs. For example, some may be looking to acquire new clients while others may want to use social media channels to strengthen customer relationships or educate their audience.
No matter the reason, social media is a cost-effective marketing tool for getting the word out about your business and reaching a large pool of prospects. The following are a few tips for using social media effectively.
Don’t Limit Yourself to One Channel—If you have a great story to tell, you want as many people to hear about it as possible, so don’t limit yourself to one social media channel. Get your information out there using multiple tools like Facebook, Twitter, and your own branded business blog. Social media isn’t just for socializing…these tools provide a great platform for publicizing your business and interacting with your community of readers on a daily basis.
Build a Custom Community—You are in control of creating your own custom social media community based on your brand and the information you release. Over time, you can build a highly targeted audience with whom you can engage in detailed conversations and develop long-lasting, loyal relationships. You can also use the survey capabilities within some social media tools to gather valuable customer information to improve your product or service to meet the needs of your audience.
‘Talk’ to Your Audience Regularly—With social media, you have the ability to carry on conversations in real time, so be sure to maintain your online conversations. If you are inconsistent with your social media communication, your audience will lose interest. Keep your readers engaged by keeping up with conversations.
Don’t Replace Marketing with Social Media—Social media is a complement to your marketing program, not a replacement. While it’s important to be active within the social media space, it’s even more critical to keep up with your long-term marketing program. Continue to plan email marketing and print campaigns…even advertising where appropriate. You need to find the right blend of marketing and social media.