I work for a company that helps businesses market their websites more effectively. We don’t create branding packages or produce ad campaigns for our clients, but we take the company’s existing image and refine it through a variety of channels. We create blog content, local organic content, video SEM, and Twitter and Facebook accounts. In return for our work, the clients rank higher in search engines. They also have the opportunity to learn a little bit about what it takes to successfully interact with fans in social media channels.
Oftentimes, the clients we work with run small businesses. They haven’t a clue about how Facebook works, what the value of a Tweet is, or even how to share content with their fans. So as we help them increase their brand’s online visibility, the clients get to learn a little bit about how social media works, and how effective it can be — even for small businesses. This week, I wanted to share some simple tips with those who want to learn more about effectively utilizing social media, namely Facebook and Twitter:
1. Don’t tweet without a link or hashtag. At least, not when you’re just starting. I see so many new businesses shout out messages like “Welcome to our Twitter page!” …and then it stops. They won’t tweet again for two weeks. The thing they fail to grasp is that tweets have a short lifespan. So when you say something like “Welcome!” no one will say anything back, because you aren’t giving them a reason to.
Instead, try engaging your followers with a link to a commercial for your business, an article relating to your field, or even a blog post you’ve written about something related to your industry. When fans or followers see something they like, they’ll respond to you, or even retweet you. In turn, you benefit from free advertising. The same goes with posting on Facebook. If you post great content, people will become your fans because they want to see what else you have to offer.
2. Follow people in your industry. I’ve heard people say that this is a bad idea — why would you want to engage with your competition? My advice is to shy away from local competition and instead find out who other people in the industry are — the industry leaders, progressive thinkers, or just active Twitter users. Respond to their tweets and posts in a positive manner. Share their content. You’ll be a great team player, network with people, and maybe you can even take a page or two from their playbook. See a blog post you like? Recreate your version of that post. Get inspired!
3. Brand across all social media sites. If you’re going to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and the whole social media cavalcade, you’ll want to brand consistently across all platforms. Use the same color schemes, fonts, and logos. Have one person be a consistent voice for your company — or at least, have comprehensive guidelines in place for your account managers to follow. Understand that you need to share valuable content instead of mediocre content, engage your fans in a positive manner, and update your sites regularly. And, last but not least: you need have your account manager cull spambots from your lists and ensure that you are following the right people. You always want to present a clear, concise voice to create a strong, positive online presence.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Steve’s Auto Repair Shop with 50 fans or General Motors with 500,000 fans — your business can benefit from the proper usage of social media. Value your words, your time, and your content. Engage your fans and stay active. Most of all, have fun learning! Once you realize how valuable these free advertising platforms are, you’ll wonder why you didn’t jump on this sooner.