Social Media is everywhere today, there’s no doubt about it. In fact, If you want your small business to make it to the next level, you’re going to have to learn the in’s and out’s of all the popular social media sites, from Twitter to Facebook to Yelp.
If you want to master the social media world, you need to become an expert in the art of connecting, not over promoting or bragging. What I mean is, yes, social media sites are great for getting the word out, letting people know about new products and making “friends,” but the people who get the most out of social media sites are the ones who strive to make real connections with people — connecting that turn into business relationships — instead of just promoting.
Now, as I’m sure you know, the road to making connections is through being honest and straightforward, not obnoxious and irritating.
Worried about being obnoxious? Fear not. If you notice any of these signs in yourself, chances are you’re already the bad guy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change.
The first “no no” of small business social media marketing is a not so distant relative of the classic “cold call.” Of course, the more friends and followers you have, the easier it’ll be to spread the gospel of your small business, but asking strangers to be your Facebook friend just so you can pitch them a product or service is a classic obnoxious move.
Personal Vs. Private
Most people, especially small business owners, have multiple accounts across the social media board. But whatever to do if we mistake one account for another?! Well, I’ll admit, it can be confusing having 4 Twitter accounts and 5 Facebook and who knows what else, but the first rule of having multiple accounts is not mixing them up. Your clients don’t want to know how much you won betting on last nights ball game, and your best friend probably doesn’t need your newest product list. Keep your accounts separate.
Never, never send marketing info for people via private messages. Not only is that rude, but you may as well be spamming. Besides, if you have something interesting to tell them about your business, your best bet would be posting it to their wall; that way everyone else can see.
The rules of posting are pretty flexible. A lot depends on your readership and how often they expect to hear from you. If you’re just starting out and aren’t really sure how much is too much, here is a good place to start.
When it comes to your blog, post often and make the posts great. Your blog is your home on the internet, and you are free to post as many times a day as you like. Because your website is relatively static (info page, contact page, review, product list etc.), your blog can be as free wheeling as you like.
For Facebook, I’d keep the post to once or twice a day. Facebook is great for posting testimonials and announcing new products.
Twitter is the easiest to go overboard with, so be careful. I recommend 3 to 4 tweets a day, ideally hitting the times when most people check their Twitter feed: early morning, lunch break and after work. Feel free to post more than that, but some users have been known to unfollow people who post to much.
Share The Love
Always give credit where credit is due. If you mention someone in your blog, tweet or Facebook post, link to their site. If someone tweets something nice, thank them and if it’s fantastic, retweet it. I know its simple, but you’d be surprised how few people take the time to be courteous.