Don’t Be Intimidated By Social Media

Social-Media-for-Small-Business-ConvertedThe buzz about social media and its potential to help (or hinder) business is undeniable. Many companies are currently using various platforms to generate leads, build connections, and monitor both the competition and the needs of their consumer base.

How could your small business effectively utilize social media without expending a great deal of time and money? It is important to first develop a simple strategy to be successful. First determine how being a presence on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin (just to name a few) help you achieve your marketing or sales goals? The next step is to engage customers by composing relevant content and then monitoring the reaction of the public. Posting questions that ask your audience what they would like to see on your page is an easy way to generate traffic while starting conversation. This will also provide you with insight as to what your audience is really looking for, saving you time and resources. An article in the Harvard Business Review In Sales, Social Media Indirect Benefits Matter Most” outlines the following three keys to success:

– Generate Content- Make sure that you are providing expert information to your audience. Continually offer suggestions, solutions and tips to consumers.

– Monitor- Be sure to check in on the competition to see what you can do differently, improve upon and stay up to date with industry standards. Following customers Facebook posts, tweets, blogs etc. can be a helpful tool in figuring out what people want. Check in on the comments below the posts of the competition to learn what people like or dislike about their products and services.

– Develop Leads- Do not be afraid to ask people to recommend or follow your account. Starting or joining a discussion on a different page is also a good way to boost your presence in the community.

Another great way to start generating a social media audience is to shine the spotlight on other successful business or clients in your community. This will not only drive traffic to your page from their supporters, but will also develop your reputation as a credible, professional company and valuable source for information. Engaging customers directly with social media is an easy, low cost way to make people feel valued. Praising them for their work or patronage not only will prompt an interaction; it will also build your business’ credibility by establishing a positive connection with other successful individuals in the community.

Many business owners and managers find themselves initially intimidated by media platforms because they are afraid of public criticism. The important thing to remember is that you are in control of the content that is posted to your page. Security settings on some platforms make it possible to approve any post before it appears to the public. You are also able to delete any information or block any user if the content that they are sharing is inappropriate. The Harvard Business Review’s article “Shy of the social media spotlight? Get over it.” States that “The truth is, a far more likely scenario is that for the first few weeks or months you’re active online, you probably wont get any comments, much less negative ones.” One should take this time to “perfect their craft” and find out what works best for your purposes and goals.