How to Make Your Social Media More Social

     We’ve all seen it. The average small business trying their hand at Facebook to connect with their customers. Unfortunately, the results can be less than ideal. While there are many reasons why a social media campaign doesn’t work, a common issue is boredom. If the content isn’t engaging, friendly, and personal, businesses on social media can sound like public radio at three in the morning.

      So here are some practical and fun ways you can spruce up your social media presence to attract potential customers and build a healthy social media reputation.

      1. Don’t make every post, tweet, and blog about your brand. People use social media to socialize, connect, and learn, not to hear an infomercial twice a day. This problem could be considered the “brandie”. Post things that everyone will appreciate, regardless of whether it involves your business. A good idea would be to post things that may be related to your niche or area of business that doesn’t actually push people to buy something.

     2. Ask your customers/followers questions. It can take some time, but it definitely helps grow the idea of a business being personal and interested in its customers. It helps if the questions or polls aren’t random, but involve current events (steer clear of politics), seasons, or holidays. In addition, questions that relate to your niche will keep the discussion on topic.

3. Have contests! Drawings and competitions on social media are loads of fun because gets people involved…and people win! Companies will use these contests to attract followers to their website by posting the winners on their webpage. People will enjoy interacting with a business if they have a chance to win discounts or coupons.

4. Allow your followers to post comments and give opinions. It’s painful when someone says something negative about your business, but it’s a good way to get feedback and prove that you’re willing to listen to what your customers have to say. In fact, social media allows business owners to connect with disgruntled customers immediately and personally, resolving the issue the best way possible.

5. Post photos or updates of behind-the-scenes of your services. Be sure to show fun things and interesting facts followers may not know about your business. Doing so will allow people to see a more personal side of the business they interact with.  Also, this allows employees to get involved with social media campaigns.

Social media is connecting people to people. Keep it as simple as that. And success in social media marketing depends on being personal and engaging followers/potential customers, not putting them to sleep!

 

Why Twitter is Beneficial for New Online Businesses

     As more and more people spend greater parts of their lives on the internet (socializing, buying, selling, ranting, and entertaining), businesses have risen to meet the various needs that occur online. Like all businesses today, a social media presence is a definite must for online businesses. But for a budding website, gathering followers on social networks such as Facebook can be hard to obtain.  Twitter’s unique design and capabilities, however, give new online businesses four reasons to consider this social network first.

1. Twitter accounts are easy to set up and start posting quality content.

      Unlike a Facebook page, Twitter accounts take very little time to look professional and ready for business. The emphasis of Twitter is sharing and connecting information, and less on personal or business profiles. Other social networks can take hours to get a quality page fully completed, but Twitter requires very little information for the potential return it gives.

2. Twitter doesn’t require “likes” or visits to a page for easy visibility.

      In addition to Twitter’s complete public profile and posting, one of Twitter’s main functions is the “hashtag”, which gives Twitter users the ability to create messages that will appear in a medium of other messages that contain the same hashtag. This means that the usage of a widely used hashtag can allow a tweet to gain views and “retweets” from thousands of people.

3. Twitter users can share content from their own websites multiple times a day.

Because of the 140 character limit, Twitter’s interface and style encourages sharing links. Combine this with the hashtag, and businesses can send their links all over this public social network. Some websites such as Facebook have etiquette that disapproves of posting or sharing many times in a day, but Twitter users don’t seem to mind, much to the advantage of businesses with articles to share!

4. Twitter can be an accessory for blogs, video channels, and other social media.

As a new online business expands to more articles and social networks, Twitter can share and promote everything. From a new Youtube video to a Pinterest special, Twitter can make sure the Internet gets a chance to see it. Eventually (with the help of hashtags and links), Twitter will become the third arm of the online business, expanding any type of online content.

As online businesses become more diverse and complex, Twitter is there to meet the needs of all of them.  It’s basic to set up and easy to share content publicly and rapidly. Twitter truly is a must-have for businesses that don’t have a customer base from the traditional brick-and-mortar company.

What can Social Media Marketing do for my Business?

      As the year of 2013 wraps up, it’s amazing what has changed for businesses in the last few years. Certainly one of the largest changes would be the addition of social media marketing. Gone are the days of being stuck between radio, television, and magazine advertising. Gone are the days of getting a company website and calling it good. Social media marketing is no longer an optional thing. And no one benefits from social media more than small businesses! Large corporations will always have the big channel commercials, millions to pour into marketing campaigns, and the top notch websites. But thanks to social media, small businesses can connect with “regulars,”engage their community, and become visible to the online world.

      However, social media is vast, and constantly changing. Business owners have a lot of things, and time isn’t always one of them. So here is a cheat sheet of some popular social media networks currently in their prime as of late 2013, as well as how they can best serve businesses.

1. Twitter:

     Twitter is one of the major social mediums, and most small businesses should give it a major consideration. Although the “Twitterspeak” can be difficult at first, the completely public profiles and hashtags make it easy for a new or small business to get consistent visibility. Also, Twitter is excellent for sending out announcements, small promotions, and other small bits of information easily and quickly. Many large companies send several tweets a day. In addition, Twitter’s formatting makes it easy for companies to interact with their customers and fellow tweetings. However, it is important for businesses to judge whether their customers actually use Twitter.

2. Instagram:

     This photo-based social network really brought the idea of “filters” for photographs into the limelight. In addition to being owned by Facebook, Instagram also uses the unique “Twitterspeak”. Companies can couple this with their Facebook, and use Instagram to post pictures of their products or services in action. Some companies like to run promotions involving customers posting pictures related to that business.

3. Facebook:

     Facebook is the “oldie but goodie” here. Approaching its tenth birthday, Facebook had 1.19 billion users in October. A successful small business presence on Facebook has the potential to reach more customers than any other social media site. Facebook also gives businesses a wide range of capabilities with their pages. Photos, links, paying to promote, general information, Facebook contests…..it’s all there. The only problem with Facebook is that a business usually needs a large and consistent customer base before their page sees regular growth and likes.

4. Google+

     Believe it or not, Google’s problem child actually has some business potential. When a person creates any type of account related to Google, their Google+ account is automatically created. However, there aren’t nearly as many people using Google+ for one main reason: they’re all on Facebook with their friends. However, all is not lost. Google+ communities are like public Facebook groups centered around a central common topic, with subcategories and moderators. So, a company specializing in cosmetics may want to pay close attention to the fashion community on Google+. Also, Google+ syncs extremely well with Youtube.

5. Youtube:

     Although Youtube isn’t usually the first website people think of as a social media tool, it certainly brings its own advantages for any business with a video camera. Companies post commercials, reviews, interviews, and announcements on this top video site, and share these videos across company Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, blogs, and websites. Like Instagram, Youtube is a great way to engage a community in a way that doesn’t involve bland text.

6. Pinterest:

     Arts, crafts, fashion, and recipes unite! This website is a do-it-yourself dream with all the ideas and how-tos pinned daily. Companies can also pin their own designs and creations, which in turn may be pinned by others for all the internet to see! Businesses that specialize in certain interests and hobbies should definitely capitalize on this website.

     The purpose of this article is to give businesses a taste of the practical possibilities of social media marketing. Correctly used, social media marketing can make the business more personal, more informed, and more in tune with how best to serve their customers.