Regardless of your industry, it is no longer a question of “if” your small business should have a social media presence, but “how” those platforms should be used. According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 85 percent of businesses that have a dedicated social media platform reported an increase in their market exposure, and 58 percent reported an increase in sales.
Your social media accounts can do much more than serve as an outpost for your website. Social media is a great way to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. It also can be used to build a community of evangelists, involve your customers in your creative process, and reach new audiences.
The key to a dynamic social media presence is good content. Satisfying Internet users’ insatiable appetite for content can seem daunting. But, most brands are sitting on a gold mine of stories to share without realizing it. Here are a few ways to find those stories:
1. Get employees involved.
The people who make your business work are the best resources for content. Social media should be a part of everyone’s job description. Ask employees to create guest posts, or ask for regular updates on clients, corporate culture, and other under the radar developments that you can share online. Making employees visible online humanizes your brand, and they offer a unique perspective that is compelling to readers.
2. Offer behind-the-scenes access.
Everyone likes to feel like they have access to something exclusive or rarely seen. Give your fans and followers that feeling of privilege by offering something extra that they wouldn’t be able to find on your blog or website. Share slides from presentations, videos from events, or a sneak peek at a new product or service.
3. Set a Google Alert on keywords that impact your business.
Narcissism isn’t attractive in person or online. Don’t just talk about yourself, talk about what’s happening in your industry. A reputation for sharing important content will make you a thought leader in your field. Google Alerts and RSS feed subscriptions are especially helpful if you don’t have enough time to produce original content of your own. Direct your followers to good content that’s already out there.
4. Spotlight your customers.
Share the spotlight with the people who use your products or services. It will not only showcase your success but also give exposure to your customers, something they will appreciate. Promote your clients when they do something noteworthy, and they will do the same for you.
5. Build a community.
Social media is not a one-way channel of communication. Posting content without engaging audiences may work for some large brands, but small businesses need to make friends online. New friends can quickly become new customers. Customers don’t want to be advertised to, they want to be engaged. Ask questions and get feedback on the work you’re doing. Contests and promotions are also a great way to keep fans and followers excited and coming back for more.
Has your small business found success leveraging social media? Share some of your favorite tactics in the comment section.