Social Media for Business 101
|Written by Corinne Kerston
Posted: Nov 15, 2012 @ 9:30 am
Whether you are just getting your feet wet in the wild world of inventions and patents, or you already have your business up and running, social media can help expand your business. Everywhere you look, there are Facebook “Like” buttons, LinkedIn “Share” buttons and Twitter “Tweet” buttons. Even Google has entered the social sharing game with Google+ allowing you to “+1” content. Social media can help catapult your business into overdrive – if you know how to use it effectively.
Here are some tips to using social media to expand business.
1. Choose which social platforms you want to use
There are many social networks out there – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, the list seems to be constantly growing. You want to channel your hard work into a select amount of platforms, and make sure that they are the right ones for your business. But with so many choices, how can you be sure which is right for you? Well that depends on what your goal is. Twitter is very up-to-the-minute, a place that provides short blurbs about news, insights and just about anything else. Facebook will allow you to post pictures, talk about events and what’s new with your business. LinkedIn caters to the professional crowd and will allow you to highlight your business credentials, but there is a social side to it that is beneficial for businesses.
2. Post often, but not overly so
By focusing on just a few social networks, you will be able to really hone in on your target audience. It takes posting to create a social media presence that gets noticed. But this doesn’t mean you need to spend every waking hour updating your Facebook status. Instead, schedule some time each day for social networking. All it takes is an hour a day. With the right posts, you can become a social media master.
3. Respond when someone comments on your page
Social media for business is all about interacting with the right people. You never know who will be a future customer or business partner, so respond to the correspondence you receive. Especially if someone poses a question or a comment that requires your response, make sure you do so in a timely manner. Studies have shown that when businesses respond to online inquiries, their sales go up.
4. Be real
Nothing turns people off more than pushing your brand. Over-exploiting your business is a quick way to send people running. It is acceptable to talk about your business, but you also want to be personable and show people that there is a real person behind the business. Autoresponders and autopostings are another sure fire way to get people to un-follow you. Also, do not chase followers. If you post good content, you will naturally gain them.
5. Leverage your existing followers
Research has shown that people are more likely to follow brands or businesses that someone they know follows. Encourage your followers to share your links and “like” your content so that their contacts may start to follow you as well. However, don’t expect something for nothing. People are more willing to help a business out and spread the word if they can gain something from it such as discounts or prizes.
6. Follow industry leaders
I know I said outright begging for followers isn’t good, but following the right people can be. Pay attention to what these business leaders post, and comment and “like” things often. If you have interesting things to say when you comment, chances are you will get noticed by other followers, or even by the industry leaders themselves.
7. Utilize widgets and other tools
The social networks provide you with widgets to add to your website or blog, making it even easier to get people to follow you. Whichever social media platform you choose to focus your attention on, be sure to add its button to your website. Display your Twitter “Follow” button or your Facebook “F” button prominently so that your website visitors do not have to search for it.
8. Be patient
Social media success does not come overnight. It takes time, and most of all, effort. You are not likely to gain thousands of followers in a week if you don’t put in the work. Not seeing instant results may be a difficult pill to swallow, but don’t give up. Slowly but surely, you will see more and more followers, and soon your numbers will start to multiply faster and faster. Keep in mind that social networking is about building relationships, and even online relationships take work. Once in a while, you may get negative feedback. Don’t take the comment to heart, but rather use it to improve your business.
Social networking is not just for high school and college students to share pictures and thoughts. It is fast becoming a very effective marketing tool for both up-and-coming, and successful businesses. Through social media, businesses can gain new customers and reach out their existing ones.
With this primer under your belt, now you are ready for some more advanced topics. For additional reading on this topic please check out some of our other articles:
- 5 Bad Habits Small Businesses Have With Social Media
- 5 Simple Ways to Leverage Your Online Business Relationships
- 5 Simple Steps to Building A Personal Brand Using Social Media
- 14 Ways to Exploit the Power of Social Media for Business
- Harness Social Media & Stop Losing Customers with Social Login
- Top 5 Twitter Myths Busted: Twitter Demystified
- Top 5 Myths About Social Media for Business
- With Social Media, YOU Are Your Brand
- Selecting a Business Name in a Social Media Crazy World
- Social Media Pitfalls – Common Yet Avoidable Mistakes
- Top 10 Mistakes Businesses Make with Social Media
- Using Social Media to Show Expertise and Build Credibility