How to Use Social Media Effectively

Social media is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for small business marketing.  But the rules of the game are being written on the fly – even Facebook is only a decade old and new social platforms seem to be arriving every day.  And the spontaneous nature of social media means it requires near constant attention.

For the busy entrepreneur social media can seem like a confusing, time-consuming gamble.   We offer some tips that will help to declutter and improve the effectiveness of your social marketing.

Focus Your Effort

There are an ever expanding number of social media platforms and you need to avoid spreading yourself too thin.  Choose the best network to suit your business and focus your efforts.  The best network will be the one where you are most likely to find your audience.  If you are marketing to professionals then focus on Linked In.  If you want to reach teens consider SnapChat.  If your product is highly visual you might consider Instagram.

Take The Lead Personally

Avoid palming social media posting off on a junior staff member.  They may know about social media, but chances are they don’t know about your business, products and services like you do.  You don’t have to personally make every post or answer every question but you do need to be monitoring activity regularly and involving yourself in what’s posted.

“S” Stands for Social Not Selling

Social media is so called because these are platforms where people convene to relax and interact socially.  Every time you post you are interrupting people’s leisure time.  If you constantly step into this space screaming “20% off” or “buy one get one free” you will be ignored or unfriended very quickly.  In this medium you need to act like a friend, not a supplier.

Provide Value

The best way to act like a friend is to offer content that has value.  If you are a florist offer tips on flower arranging.  If you are plumber provide a checklist for opening drains.  These messages may not say “buy, buy, buy” but they start to establish a relationship with your fan base that will be worth far more than a one off sale.

Actually Get Social

Social media should be a conversation not a billboard.  Try to interact with your fanbase.  Always respond to comments.  Find out where people are having conversations about your product or service and join in – demonstrate your expertise, share positive stories.

Don’t Give Up

Social media is a long game.  Results are rarely instant.  Stop worrying about making a fool of yourself.  Join conversations, try new things and if those don’t work try something else.  Over time you will learn what works for you and your business.  And you will be way ahead of your competitors who think they can learn social media by going to a business breakfast.

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