Social media has rapidly become an integral tool for most businesses. Due to its unprecedented reach and its amazing growth, it is easy for small business owners - and even some larger business owners - to be overwhelmed by all the options. Plus, even if you choose the one or two platforms you think are the best fit for your brand, how do you approach them? Below are the top four social media guidelines for business owners.
Remember, people post their best in personal profiles - the latest selfie that looks particularly dashing or the most recent family portrait. However, just as you shouldn't compare your family to someone else's, don't compare your business either. There is always going to be an organization that is better, older, younger, smarter, better looking, etc.
This is a pitfall you must avoid. You don't get any points for comparison. Avoid letting doubts creep in and overwhelm your brain. Just because company X does one thing, doesn't mean it's right for you. And that's okay.
Most of all, remember why you started your business. Be confident in what you do.
MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS PROPERLY
Social networks need to be managed - post and pray isn't going to get you far. Managing your networks means replying to and giving feedback to people, removing inappropriate comments, setting ground rules, answering questions, generating leads and more. This is where the 'social' in social networking comes in.
A big question that people ask about managing social networks is whether to reply to everything, even negative comments. Chloe, our SEO and Advertising Lead, wrote a great article on our blog about the “BEST 7 WAYS TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVE CUSTOMERS”. Click the link to find out more about handling less than positive feedback. Here are the two main takeaways:
- Do Not Respond To All Comments
Avoid nasty attacks from people on social media. A response with good intentions might lead to more stress for you and your brand. Sometimes just letting it roll is fine. Also, remember to not respond if you are angry. Take an hour or a day to think about your brand and how you should respond. Be encouraged, typically normal people reading the nasty comments can read between the lines, even if you don’t respond.
- Be Real
Show empathy towards people. Offer a real apology. It earns respect. Having a friendly tone goes a long way.
Here’s An Example: “Hi, my name is ____ and I hear you. We’re looking into it now, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If you have any questions, contact me directly at _____.”
Remember, saying “I hear you” does not admit fault, you are just being proactive.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SOCIAL NETWORKS
As an agency, we suggest using the following networks: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
When building your organization's social networks remember to put time into them. Don't feel like you need to do all of them at once. In addition, it's important to only select the networks you can think you can handle. Your social networks sites (SNS) should be managed or monitored to make them most effective.
It might also benefit your business to consider a mix of first, second and third tier networks. Each requires its own amount of attention and strategy.
Social Network Options
First Tier Social Networking Sites
- Google+: It is the weakest of the first tier sites, but since Google is the largest search engine, you can't underestimate it's importance.
Second Tier Social Networking Sites
- Instagram: While Facebook owns this platform, and therefore gives Instragram a boost in traffic, there is a chance that it could legitimately move into the top tier for social network sites in the next three to five years.
- Youtube: Owned by Google. If comparing Youtube to Vimeo, we recommend Youtube due to the higher levels of engagement.
- VK: This is the largest UK-based social networking site. Depending on your target audience, this might be a must have.
- QQ: This is the largest Asia-based social networking site. Depending on your target audience, this might be a must have.
Third Tier Social Networking Sites
- Pinterest: If you're target audience is focused on decorating or DIY, Pinterest is a great alternative. However, it's not for everybody. If it doesn't fit your target market, don't worry about it.
- Snapchat: Snapchat has expanded beyond its initial use and is quickly growing into a key social media player.
- Tumblr: It's a good social networking site, but not nearly as powerful as Facebook or Google+.
- Reddit: While it is a clunky platform, it is second only to Twitter in disseminating information quickly. Especially focused on news.
- Flickr: A less powerful Instagram.
- Periscope: A site with potential, but struggling to find its place among its rivals.
- Vimeo: An alternative social network platform for video content.
- WhatsApp: Another Facebook owned product, this is primarily used to communicate with people in foreign countries. It's a texting service that sends messages via the Internet and not data networks, making it a much cheaper international alternative.
There are a handful of other tertiary social media networks that are worth mentioning. However, none of them has the traffic yet to provide significant impact to your social media strategy.
ASK FOR TESTIMONIALS
Find your biggest, loudest, best fans and ask them to write a testimonial on your social networks. Think of testimonials as digital word of mouth - still one of the most effective forms of advertising. If used correctly, testimonials illustrate someone's personal experience working with you and their brand.
When you are asking for a testimonial, make it easy. Give customers a link to where you want them to write about you whether it's your website, product detail page or one of your social networking sites. Also, check out these tips on customer testimonials.
To find out more about social media guidelines and how to best manage it for your business, we invite you to contact Energyhill today. Also, follow us online. Our handle is @energyhill. And, if you follow us on Instagram during the months of October, November and December, Energyhill with give you $100 in Google Ads credit.
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