Social media networks can be great resources for businesses of all sizes looking to promote their offer online. The platforms are free to use, and they have paid advertising options. All good. So while you should consider social media for your business that doesn't mean you should be on every network.
1: Choose the right network
Use the social platform that works best for your business so you don't spread yourself too thin. It may be free to use but it takes work to make it work. You need to budget time and energy to do well at social media. Start with one.
2: Plan time for it
The best way to make this work is to make social media part of your daily routine. Block out the time in your calendar, turn off distractions and dedicate small amounts of time to managing your social media accounts. Ideally you should do this in one or two different time slots every day. In your first month or two, expect to spend about 15-30 minutes a day on social activities, like posting or answering customers. You can increase the time as you need to.
3: Link them up
Put your links to your social media on your profile and web pages - and vice versa. It helps with search and it shows customers that you are available to them in a variety of ways.
4: Do your homework
Social media is all about really connecting with your customers. To do that, you have to understand who they are and what matters to them. Start by working out who you're are trying to talk to.
For example, is it for customers or staff? Facebook is a common starting point for many businesses wanting to use social media. It can be pretty low maintenance — whether you post several updates a day or only a few a week won't make a major difference in terms of what your followers will think of you. The trick is to be clear about who you are talking to. Is it a customer channel to give them a place to get help or updates easily? Or, is it a staff channel to connect and motivate your people with news and humour? If you're not clear the messages can get confused and engagement with what you have to say will be low. Make what you say relevant to your intended audience.
5: Don’t keep them hanging
The key to success in business is be connected to your customers - and social is certainly an easy way to do that. It’s a great, ‘always on’ method customers can use to reach you. However, the rules of social demand you respond to them quickly. Don’t leave messages waiting around to be answered. Check them at least daily and respond that day.
6: Test and learn
Social can give you instant feedback from your customers’ perspective. For example, if you launch a new product and share it on social media, you’ll instantly learn what your customers think. It can be a great way to test ideas. Keep an eye on the number of likes and shares you get to posts. More likes means what you are doing is working and that your customer engagement is growing.
7: Target your customers
Social media helps you target customers. For example, with Facebook you can target by things like: ‘Location’, ‘Language’, ‘Age’, ‘Gender’, ‘Relationship status’, ‘Interested in’, and ‘Education’. So you get to the right people with your messages.
When you are using social media for your business, the most important thing to remember is that social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself, learn as you go – and have fun.