Social media is here to stay and as a small business owner you have no choice but establish your social media presence and try to take advantage of the many benefits social media has to offer to businesses.
The 5 tips presented below will help you understand what it takes to use social media for business purposes and how to do it correctly. As a small business owner you may also be interested in my previous article on how to optimize your website for search engines (10 basic SEO tips for online business owners).
#1 – Get on the social media wagon
Obviously the first step is to create business pages on the various social networks. If you are a beginner you need to understand the difference between a personal profile and a business profile and when to use the one or the other.
On most networks (Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn) there is a distinction between personal profiles and business profiles and in order to use a business profile, you first need to have a personal profile. If this is confusing, just remember that before you are allowed to create a business page on Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest or LinkedIn you first need to create your personal profile. In other words a business page has to belong to a person.
Twitter does not have this personal / business distinction so you can go ahead and create your business account the same way as your personal account.
These links will help you get started:
- How to create a Facebook business page
- How to use Google+ for business
- Pinterest for business
- How to create a company page on LinkedIn
#2 – Set objectives for each social media network
In theory you want to use social media in order to make more sales but unfortunately in practice this is not always so simple. In order to reach a point where you will make sales from social media you need to have a LOT of followers in the different channels.
What is more realistic at the beginning is to set specific targets (other than sales) for each network. To be more specific:
Facebook: Your main goal on Facebook is to increase brand awareness and to do that you need a lot of fans to your business page and the only way to increase fans quickly is to run campaigns using Facebook’s advertising system. Setup a pilot campaign for $100 and depending on the results and your budget, you can calculate how many fans you can get on Facebook per month.
Twitter: You can use twitter to engage with your customers, inform them about offers and new product arrivals and answering their questions. Your goal on twitter is to find your existing customers and connect with them and also find new potential customers who share the same interests.
Google plus: Besides brand awareness your goals on Google+ is get more than 1000 followers to your business page so that you are eligible for a number of advantages offered by Google like:
- Better local SEO (you can verify your business with google.com/mybusiness) and be a candidate to show-up in the top places when people search for products/companies in your local area
- Knowledge graph – Companies with more than 1000 followers can get their ‘knowledge graph’ snippet.
- Companies with more than 100 google plus followers get an extra link in their adwords ads
- Companies with more than 1000 followers can advertise on Google plus using +PostAds
Pinterest: Your goal is to get as many followers as possible that are related to your business either by location i.e. in the same area or by interest i.e. in the same niche. You can use Pinterest search function to find users that meet these 2 criteria.
#3 – Don’t over promote your business
Before publishing a new post on your business page take a moment and think if this is something that your fans would want to read. Over promoting your business is not the best approach, people will get tired reading about how nice your products are so try to post useful things (tips, advice, industry news) to keep users reading your posts.
#4 – Don’t wait for others to connect to you
Well-known brands don’t need to do any promotion to get fans to their social media pages but this is not the case with small businesses. Don’t wait that by creating a business page people will start following you and talking about your business.
You need to make the first step and connect with your potential customers either by advertising in social media or by searching/finding/connecting with the people/pages you think would be beneficial for your business.
It’s not an easy task, actually it is time consuming but it’s the only valid way to establish your online presence.
#5 – Timing is important
Most probably your followers have an already overloaded social media schedule with lots of friend updates and hundreds of posts from the pages they follow so there is a great chance that your post will be lost in their timelines.
To increase your chances of getting your update in front of more people, you need to post at a time most of your followers are online. For most niches the best times are in the morning (9:00-10:00AM) or afternoon (17:00) but this depends on the niche and where the majority of your followers is located.
This article was written for the knownhost blog by Alex Chris.