Monthly Archives: September 2016

Social Media 101 for the Small Business

It’s 2016 and if your business is not on the web then it does not exist. All businesses, even small businesses, should have at least a website. These days, however, that is not enough.

Social media is the vehicle that drives traffic to your website, the central communication hub of your business. Social media is an extension of your existing website that allows for more instant communication of business news as well as direct customer interactions. Authors, musicians, artists, retailers and other mainstream businesses and professionals can benefit from a social media presence.

There are a multitude of options to choose from. You do not, and should not, be on every platform but you should take a look at what is out there and choose one to start with. Here are some things to consider when making that decision.

Why Do Social Media

Social media is about establishing a following. Viewers literally click a “follow” or “like” button to have your updates regularly delivered to their news feeds.

You will get followers if you offer relevant & timely information about your business, product or mission. Share info on new products, sale items or relevant industry news.

The other goal of social media is to have your followers share your posts with their social network. That is how new customers and clients will find you. It is basically the “word of mouth” marketing concept in a digital format.

Frequency of Social Media Posts

There is a lot of information out there that suggests daily posting, if not more, will get you the results you are looking for. For most small businesses and professionals, posting once or twice a week to keep followers engaged in your company is more than adequate. More often than that and followers will feel overwhelmed by your presence on their news feed and may choose to hide your posts or unfollow you.

 Types of Content Posts

Posts should be relevant, timely, short and descriptive. Don’t just say “I posted a photo to Facebook”. Say something descriptive about it such as “sneak peak of our spring line” if the photo is of new merchandise.

Posts can also be about upcoming events, industry news and testimonials.

Timing of Posts?

This all depends on what you are posting. Generally speaking it is best to post between 5-11pm, when most people are home from work, out of class and winding down for the day. Unexpected delays, closings or other news can be posted as needed.

Dealing with Negative Comments

Social media has a well-founded reputation of being the platform for spur of the moment, immediate gratification postings. These types of postings can often miss the mark and also offend. If you or your business are the recipient of such comments do not respond in kind. Take your time and be thoughtful in the words and information you put out there.

Complaints and negative comments can be indicative of valid issues that do need to be addressed and social media is a way for you to acknowledge the issue and assure customers it is being addressed. It is also a good platform to explain why something can not be changed. Sometimes public comments are simply not constructive. Those are the comments you delete.

I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of social media in business and as purely social use. Just like with face to face communication, it is all what you make of it. Plan to make your corner of the digital social world the best it can be with what you put out there. Be ready to respond to constructive feedback that may necessitate a change on your end and be prepared to delete and block those that have nothing constructive to offer.

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