Have you thought about using Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your product and services?
Over the last few years the number of local businesses using social media have exploded!
Many business owners have realized that social media for business can be an extremely powerful tool. But its a bit more complicated than just creating a profile and asking your contacts to please “like my page”.
If you truly want to use social media for business you have to understand how to do so effectively. Which is why I put together this list of X social media best practices for Bahamian businesses.
General Best Practices
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Every few weeks it seems like I get invited to join another social media network by friends and contacts. A few potential customers seem to jump from network to network trying to find that magic overnight fix. Don’t be that guy.Find out which network the majority of your customers are using then join that network. Maybe you can join one other.
But it takes time to master a network and a establish a presence that can help your business, If you spend time jumping from one network to another, there’s a good chance that you’ll never see any results.
If you’re just getting started with social media, I recommend no more than 2 networks. Settle down on that network for at least 3 months and learn how to use it completely before even thinking about joining another one.
Fill out your profile completely
Now that you’ve figured out which network to join, make sure you fill out the profile completely. Some sites ask for more information than others. But don’t rush through this part, instead spend time filling out as much detail about your business as you can. If they ask for a description of your business don’t just write one sentence; really describe it and let your passion and personality shine through. This can have a huge impact on how you show up on Google’s and Facebook’s search.
Share valuable and inspiring content
The average Facebook user has over 230 friends and likes more than 40 pages, not to mention groups that they follow or other social media profiles sites like twitter. The point is there is a ton of information that is coming their way. If you’re not sharing valuable content, its likely that your page won’t reach a lot of people.
The key is to understand what content is valuable to your audience.
Avoid negativity and Controversial topics
While people will flock to negative content, it can really turn some people off. You dont want your business page to be associated with controversy and certainly you don’t want to alienate any of your fans. Just as in real life conversations you probably want to stay clear of topics like sex, politics and religion. However if you feel strongly enough about a topic and you think it may resonate with your fans or you just don’t care, don’t be afraid to share it, just note that it could cost your some customers.
How to have a more effective page
For your Facebook page to be effective your audience has to be engaged. Meaning that people have to be interacting with your page by clicking, liking, sharing or commenting on your updates. This is important as Facebook uses the level of engagement of your page to determin if it should be shown in your fans newsfeed.
The end result is a page that has high engagement will have a better chance of its updates (and promotions) being seen by fans. Whereas, fan pages with low engagement will be shown less. Below are three best practices for increasing fan engagement.
Questions are a great way to spark dialogue with fans. It is probably the easiest way and one of the best methods to get people to respond to your updates. Simple yes or no questions are a easy way to get a quick response as they require the least effort.
Share lots of photos
Who hasn’t heard the saying, “a picture is wort a thousand words”? People react to photos much more than plain text updates and facebook knows this. Which is why they redesigned the entire site to feature photos more prominently.
Always include a call to action
It may seem a simple thing, but asking people to take the action you want them to take has been shown to increase the number of people performing that action. So including a, “please LIKE this if you agree” or “please RT” after a statement or photo can push the engagement much higher than normal.
Business Best Practices
There are a number of normal business functions that can be done more effectively on social media that will increase your customers opinion of your business.
Provide customer support
Social media is not just limited to promotion or marketing. You can increase your business standing in the minds of fans by providing customer support online. BTC does this pretty well by answering questions on Facebook and even have a twitter profile dedicated to helping customers resolve issues. Figure out what customer support issues your customers have and answering them online can be a pwoerful way to stand out from the competition.
Aka. Be Social. That is what social media is all about afterall. Avoid hit and run posting; where you ask a question or post an update and don’t stick around to see if anyone responds. When someone asks you a question respond be sure to respond, otherwise its like someone calling your business and you not picking up the phone.
Promote your presence off-line
Social media is more powerful when integrated into your business. Its not something to be done in isolation. Make sure you’re promoting the fact that you’re online at your business location, on your stationary and in your marketing materials.
Analyze, Adjust and Repeat
A lot of people try out social media and give up because they think it’s not working. There is no one formula and what worked for someone else might not work for your.
So how do you know if your social media efforts are working?
You analyze your results to see if they’re meeting your goals, make adjustments and see what the results are. Over time you will figure out what works best for you. Of course this assumes that you’ve set up a good social media plan to begin with. But that’s for another article.
These best practices are based on hours of personal use and research from social media experts around the world.