A smart business owner should always try to maximize the use of resources. This not only includes those that he’s paid for, but also those tools that are available to use for free.
One of the most powerful free resources are Social Networking Sites. They allow you to interact with your customers, show off your brand or business, and potentially attract more customers.
Between two competing businesses that offer the same level of quality, customer service and pricing, the one with a well-managed social media presence has the definite advantage. We are rapidly approaching an era where not having an effective social media presence can be a crippling disadvantage. For areas with widespread internet use, we might have already passed the threshold.
Small business owners may not have enough time or manpower to manage a social media profile page. So they have to really make sure that whatever time they spend is used for the best effect.
Here are a couple of suggestions on how to make effective use of Social Media resources:
Choose the network that is popular with your customers.
Don’t waste your time managing multiple social media profiles when only one profile generates useful interactions. There is no sense being on Twitter if most of your users interact with you on Facebook. The time spent updating other sites could be used more productively in crafting quality posts on your customer’s preferred sites.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t maintain a presence on the popular sites, but you can definitely use them to redirect people to your more active Social Networking page.
Separate your Brand’s voice from your Personal one.
Setup a separate account for your business. Avoid posting anything of a personal nature if you’re using your brand’s name. It would look unprofessional if you posted something about your personal life under the name of your online store. However, you can post personal stuff from time to time if you’re using your own profile to post, and people know you’re part of the business.
Maintain a consistent presence.
Check your social media page regularly. Try to allot at least an hour daily to interact with your customer’s posts. Even a simple “like” or “re-tweet” can have a positive effect. Post something interesting on a daily basis. It can be an article you like from a relevant site or a photo that’s related to the business. Marketing posts are fine as long as they don’t spam your business page.
Post Interesting and Relevant links, articles or pictures.
If you’re business sells a particular product, post an article that’s related to it. For example, if your business sells photography equipment then your customers will likely appreciate a post on photography techniques.
There is a huge amount of free to share information online; posting articles that interest your customer isn’t that hard. You can also share humorous content or current events, but try to make sure this won’t turn off your followers or start an argument on your page.
The primary goal of posting relevant content is to encourage engagement and create a positive impression of your business or brand. If your post will not result in either, then it’s better not to post anything at all. You can probably get away with posting simple greetings if you don’t have any good content for posting yet.
Frequency of Posts depend on the site you’re using.
One of the most common questions about posts is about frequency. How often should you update? The answer actually varies depending on the social network you’re on. Obviously, spamming and flooding are frowned upon, but not posting enough in a day will likely bury your post on your follower’s feeds.
A good rule of thumb would be around 5- 6 times spread across 24 hours for Twitter and once a day for Facebook – this applies to regular content. If there are any relevant breaking news then try to post as soon as you have all the important information or you can acknowledge the event and tell your followers you’ll update them once you have all the info.
Since your Facebook page is likely going to be your most active page, make sure your customers allow your posts to be shown on their feeds. Facebook has been tweaking the visibility of posts quite often as part of their monetization strategy. Try to stay on top of these changes so that you can take the necessary actions to make sure your page remains visible to your loyal followers.
For Twitter users, your posting strategy and frequency will vary significantly. Some users like to converse over Twitter, others use it more for broadcasting. Both approaches will vary the number of Tweets that are posted per day, but you should still avoid flooding your followers’ feed. A short burst of conversational tweets is tolerable. If longer conversations are needed then you should move it to a chat room, conference or Google hang out.
Do not oversell your business on your page (or any other page for that matter).
A well run, useful and relevant business page will sell your brand by itself. Avoid spamming your own page with marketing posts. Stick to a daily schedule of updates unless you’re running a promo. Even then try to limit the posts so that it doesn’t flood your follower’s feed.
Promos are welcome BUT…
As with other types of posts, try not to flood your followers’ feeds. Remember the main reason you’re running a promotion is to attract more customers or more fans. Spamming, no matter how amazing the offer, will be looked upon negatively. You don’t want to risk mass unlikes and unfollows. If you’re running a contest, a daily update is enough to build excitement over who is winning.
Discuss important messages privately.
Take sensitive discussions into private messaging. A good example is a customer who brings a personal issue. You really don’t want your customers to get the wrong impression before you resolve it. If it’s really important, moving it to email or scheduling a call may be a more effective way to reach a resolution.
Never, Ever, Ever Argue on your Business Page.
I cannot stress how important this is. The same goes for having a condescending attitude on your posts. The fallout alone from this type of fiasco can be fatal to your online reputation. It can reach a point where you’ll need professional help to fix your online credibility. Take the discussion into a private channel, offer to call the person, and, if you can verify that it’s a questionable profile, report the user to the site’s admin or block it outright.
One more thing.
Always clean up your page. Some users follow groups so they can spam them with marketing offers. Be firm about this. Don’t be afraid (or be too lazy) to remove them from your group. The loss of one spammy follower will help you maintain a clean, useful feed and keep your real followers happy.