Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips

 

Popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter offer small businesses a powerful and highly cost effective medium for promoting their products and services. However, in order to exploit these opportunities to their fullest potential, you need to be smart about how you go about it. Here are some tips to help you improve the online presence of your business using these tools.

Adjust the tone to suit the medium

While it might be tempting just to repost content from your website into Twitter and Facebook, this is unlikely to stimulate much interest in your business. On social networks, interaction is the key to maintaining visibility and generating interest, so you need to post content that will engage your audience and stimulate feedback. It might be worth keeping an eye on the social media accounts of successful brands and businesses to see how they manage to achieve this. The strategy and tone should differ between platforms. On Facebook, advertising works best when it is presented in a context of friends and social activity. For example, fun surveys, reposts of interesting news stories or blog posts and questions that spark a debate are more likely to generate feedback than dry announcements about your products, services, and special offers. When you do get feedback, be sure to respond, as this can prolong conversations and increase visibility. With Twitter, a slightly different approach is needed, due to the constraints of the medium and the prevailing tone. Twitter is a more casual medium with less personal engagement, so you might find that tactics such as posting or retweeting interesting facts produce the best results.

Don’t reveal the dashboard

Social media dashboards that allow you to control a variety of social media accounts via one interface can be a great time saver, but if you are not careful about how you use these features then it can prove counterproductive. One of the most common mistakes is to post tweets directly to Facebook, complete with #hashtags and other @Twitter hallmarks. This gives your post an ‘automated’ look and feel, which makes it look less like you are actively engaging with Facebook users, and is therefore far less likely to elicit responses.

 Consider the context

One of the most common social media marketing mistakes is to target the right people with the wrong medium. The context is all-important in this regard, as your target audience is only likely to pay attention to your message and engage with your brand in certain circumstances. For example, most people use Facebook to communicate with their friends, so this might not be the best context in which to sell, for example, accountancy services to them. In this instance, you would be much better off marketing on a platform that is much more geared towards professionals and businesses, such as LinkedIn. Even though the user base may be much smaller, people will be much more likely to be interested in finding out about professional services when they are using a site such as this.

Stay consistent

While it is important to tweak the tone and strategy to the context of the social medium you are using, you should always be consistent in your core message. A brand’s strength stems from its authenticity, and the consistency of the value proposition that you offer to your customers is crucial to this end. As well as being consistent with your core message, you should also be consistent with the regularity of your social presence. The only way to maintain a successful social media presence is to keep going with it – if you only do it in fits and starts, you will lose any sense of customer engagement that you build up when you do participate.

Don’t forget other channels

While social media can be a useful marketing tool if you exploit it in the right way, it is most effective when used as an adjunct to other forms of online marketing, such as Google AdWordseBay, Craigslist, or sponsorship of popular and relevant websites. Ask yourself “Where is my target customer most likely to look when they want the products or services that I provide?” and build your strategy around that. Social media can be a powerful tool for raising brand awareness and engaging with customers, but it is not the only one.