August 19, 2016
So, you've signed up for Twitter, or Instagram, or even Snapchat, and you're staring at your phone or your computer screen wondering what the heck you're supposed to do next or how you should utilize each platform...especially when it comes to your business. We're here to tell you, when it comes to social media and figuring out the best practices, the etiquette, and the best way to utilize it for business marketing, you're not alone in feeling confused or bewildered.
The world of social media has become a wild one and figuring out where you fit in on each platform can be a daunting task...that might even turn you off from using it all together. But before you go running away from even trying your hand at it, we've got a few best practices you should follow to keep you on track, especially if you'll be utilizing social media for your business.
Take it step by step, no one becomes a social media mastermind in a single day, just like anything else in your business, it needs to be built up. We've lined up the 4 best practices for getting your business up and running on social media, because at the end of the day, the online community is where more and more people are turning to discover more about the businesses they love...and you don't want to be 'unsearchable' in this day and age.
Why are you on social media anyway? Before you post a single thing, you need to figure out exactly what platforms you'll be using and why you're using them. If you're already an experienced Facebook-er, this could be your chance to expand your horizons into setting up a business profile and tackling building out your network there. It could also be a great chance to tackle another platform you may not have tried yet, like Twitter or LinkedIn.
If you want to expand your business and professional network, then LinkedIn is the right place for you, but if you want to easily build up an online presence and interact more with your customers then Facebook could be the right avenue. Many people are starting to turn to social media as their news source, so keep that in mind when you're determining your purpose for each platform. Facebook is one of the most popular platforms that online folks use to get their news and information, so what does that mean for the information and value you can share on the platform?
When you walk up to someone at a networking event and they ask you about your business, you don't yell, right? The same goes for your online etiquette, avoid the messages in all caps and the extraneous exclamation points.
You wouldn't be the first person to wonder if all caps is okay, and in the sense of building up your brand online or communicating with potential clients and customers, it's probably not your best bet. Beyond avoiding 'yelling' at your newfound friends and fans, basic etiquette rules apply here online. When you're running a small business, we tend to stress the importance of always responding when someone reaches out via social media. And yes, that means in a timely manner too.
Social media has become something that's so immediate, and when people ask a question via social, they almost always expect a quick response. Don't leave them hanging! Build in some time on a daily basis where you can field any questions and make any updates to your profiles.
Give credit where credit is due. Always. It's easy to feel like you have access to anything and everything you find on the web, and while you do, it's not always yours for the taking or sharing. While it's often encouraged to share other people's or brands' posts, you need to keep in mind that it's always necessary to link back to them or tag them in the post.
There have been plenty of online celebrities or others who have gotten in trouble for not properly attributing the owner of content they've shared, so you wouldn't be the first to commit a sharing faux pas.
The bright side? By tagging others, you up your chances of more people seeing your posts and your profile. Plus, it gives you a great reason to reach out to the original poster and give them the heads up that you've shared their post/meme/content on your own site. By doing so, you're not only building up some crucial relationships with like-minded people but could also inspire them to check out your own content and share it themselves....better helping to spread the word of the value you're bringing to your clients, customers and fans!
Finally, the fine art of marketing your business or brand on social media. Not everything you post should be a sales pitch, because at the end of the day, that isn't what your fans are going to your social media for. You need to balance both the professional and the personal here. As you probably already know, social media tends to lean towards the personal, and as soon as people start pushing the sale of something on their personal profiles, people will quickly back away, unfollow, or block.
Since it's a business profile, people come to expect some aspect of the sales pitch, but it doesn't have to be all about it. Often people utilize social media as a way to learn more about a brand or business, or see if they can get any value from them. What does that mean? Well think about it this way, what can you provide your clients and potential customers with beyond what your business offers?
Here at Contactually, you can see on our social channels that we share blog posts and relevant articles that we think our customers and followers would find useful. We're sharing value that pertains to our business, without giving them the hard sell, because after a while, that can get pretty stale, and leave your followers disinterested in ever returning to your profiles. Find your value and start sharing it! Whether it's quick anecdotes that you can share easily via Twitter, or longer blog posts you want to promote on Facebook or LinkedIn, find a way to utilize social media as a way to market the value you provide...not necessarily your business.
Here's the thing, social media won't start working for you, until you start working it yourself. It requires some time and a little dedication to figuring out your best habits and how to smoothly run your profiles without it getting overwhelming. Start with these 5 tips and go from there. Keep in mind that manners matter and making the hard sell will only turn people off. Social media is meant to be social, so use it as a way to allow your customers and potential clients better get to know you!