If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve heard all the buzz about social media sites.
You’ve probably heard the fairytale-like stories of people who used social media to grow their company and their bottom line exponentially. The reason that these stories sound too good to be true is because, in most cases, they are. Social media is a great tool for small businesses to use, but it is not the final solution that will guarantee huge quarterly profits and healthy annual growth. There are a few things that companies should remember when utilizing social media.
The Human Element
People are most likely to buy from other human beings, not some robot with a status update and a profile picture. What I mean by this is that if you are going to utilize networks like Facebook or Twitter, the person who is managing your company’s account should be a great communicator. They should be engaging and interesting. Customers want to know that there is actually a human on the other end of the account so find someone with charisma to manage your social media campaigns.
How Much Is Too Much?
Be sure that you do not spread your social media manager too thin. One of the most damaging things that any company’s social media channels can go through is lack of consistent updating. Ideally you will want a few interesting informative posts on your channels each day. If you have two or three people handling the accounts, you can probably get involved on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. If you only have one person working in social media, you will want to focus your efforts on one or two channels. Identify which demographics you’re targeting and plan your focus accordingly. If you’re looking to recruit new talent, you’ll probably want to be on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re looking to push products to young people, MySpace and Facebook might serve you better.
The final thing to remember about social media is that it does not replace the old fashioned business of making real life relationships. Social media is a great way to start relationships and continue to grow them but make every effort to attend chamber of commerce meetings, meet with colleagues in person and talk to veterans of your business. There is nothing like sitting face to face with someone and talking about the business, family, life or any other topic.
People are most likely to buy from someone they know and it is easiest to get to know people when you can look them in the eye.
Patty Gale says
Great post! I’m one who’s been online since pre-social media and the basics never go out of style and social media is just like you said… a tool, not the end-all, be-all.
What widget do you use for the share icons that pop up at the bottom of your page?
Chris Lang says
@Karen, I would not use that one, Reddit is a terrible place to post our type of IM content and Spinn is gone. All you need is the big four, FB, TT, G+ and LI. Forget the rest, there is no traction there for most content.
Rosalind Gardner says
I use Shareaholic’s Sexy Bookmarks for the share icons.
Hope that helps.