Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
There's no doubt about it - Social media is a must for small business success today. But the random posting and lack of follow up that many entrepreneurs practice won't do your customers or your bottom line any favors. Here are four top tips for effectively using social media as a small business success tool:
- Define your target market: Members of different customer demographics use social media in varying ways, so you'll have to know where your potential buyers are in order to best target them. A quick rundown - Teens favor Vine, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr; women, particularly moms and brides, love Pinterest; Facebook started young, but now trends toward parents and grandparents; business professionals are on LinkedIn; and bloggers and influencers are all over Twitter and Tumblr.
- Choose a consistent handle: Ideally, your handles (public usernames) should be the same on across all the social media networks you use, as it becomes part of your company or product branding. Make sure it's available on all networks you'll use and claim it quickly.
- Develop and share the right content mix: Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of using their social media sites solely for self-promotion. That's a great way to send potential customers running the other way. Instead, develop a solid mix of promotional, testimonial and newsy material as well as random funny, interesting or inspiring content such as humorous memes, holiday wishes, and encouraging or thought-provoking quotes.
- Pay attention: Be consistent with the type, amount and timing of your social media posting. But more importantly, be responsive to followers who post, message or tag you online. Social media has quickly become the place where consumers praise, decry or attempt to reach companies. If a potential customer messages you, respond quickly. If one posts favorable words about your company, products or services, thank them. And if one posts criticism, use it as an opportunity to show that you value consumer feedback and work quickly to resolve issues. To help keep on track, download, print and use the Sensible Social Media checklist below.