Many small businesses may hesitate to use social media for fear of making mistakes in an environment they’re unfamiliar with. However, you shouldn’t let that fear keep you from using social media to build your company’s brand. Social media is a powerful tool that is virtually essential for any growing business to reach new prospects and nurture relationships with your customers.
Below are four do’s and don’ts for using social media to promote your small business. Keep in mind that all businesses are different. What may work for one company, may not for yours.
Do choose the social media networks most applicable to your customers and prospects. For example, if your company offers professional services, try starting with a business-to-business network such as LinkedIn. For business-to-consumer communication, Facebook and Twitter are good choices, while Pinterest may work best in visual, design-focused industries like retail, fashion, décor and food.
Don’t decide to just use Facebook because that seems like the easiest or most popular social network to use. Don’t shy away from what’s right for your business. Take the time to figure out where your clients are and start by focusing there.
Do use social media for communication with existing clients and in pursuing prospects. Depending on your business, you might consider making regular how-to videos for YouTube as a way to begin a dialogue about your services or products.
Don’t limit your participation to responding to negative comments about your company or project.
Do post regularly to your social media accounts. Choose a consistent schedule, whether that’s once per week or once a day. Fresh content tends to boost your company’s rankings with search engines. Using Google+ as one of your social media tools can also help in this regard because Google emphasizes Google+ content in its results.
Don’t try to wing it without an actual plan. Make a schedule you can live with and stick to it. Busy periods and long gaps in posts can stall any momentum you’ve built up.
Do remember that email is a great marketing tool. People have work and personal email addresses and they check them regularly. Tools like Constant Contact can help you cross-promote an eblast with social media.
Don’t be a spammer. Allow people to choose the frequency in which they receive emails from you and make sure they can easily opt-out at any time.
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you handle those mistakes that matters. For something minor, people won’t care, just as long as you fix it. For example, if your tweet was too long and got cut off, or your link was invalid, just correct it and repost it. On the other hand, if you accidentally posted an offensive comment, you might want to issue a public apology. Social media lives online forever, so if you’re going to spend the time doing it, it’s worth spending the time to do it right.