Aug 24, 2010 by Lee Richter
What is Social Media?
Social Media is a vehicle to share information with a broad audience twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to being any form of online publication or presence that allows users to engage in multi-directional conversations, it is a way to build relationships with the public. Online tools allow businesses to keep in touch with customers and easily update them on what’s new, whether it is products, services, events, an interesting insight or a new hire to the team. Basically, Social Media is the “wave of the now.”
What to know about Social Media
Social Media is not an overnight fix to get you a hoard of fans or followers. Initially, it may be difficult to see a clear return on investment from these applications. The goal is to create a buzz for online conversations about your brand, product or service. Social Media is about connecting, exchanging information, opinions, experience, insights and building customer relations. Before results are seen, time and effort must be put into these areas. It is based on a “give to get” principle.
How to Use Social Media
Before creating a business page or profile, make a personal account and look over other business pages to familiarize yourself with the site. Next, know your business plan. Be realistic about how much time can be dedicated to Social Media and do not spread yourself too thin. Social Media sites should be maintained regularly to gain a real following.
Create a Social Media checklist for your business. This checklist can be a reminder of when, where and what to post. Break it into categories for daily, semi-weekly and weekly activities. Posting Facebook updates once a day (but no more than three times a day) to three times a week is generally a good plan. Being consistent with what days you post a blog will help your customers know when to expect updates. Make sure you connect your Social Media sites! It is now easier than ever for a business to have their blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts connected.
What Information to Share
It is a good idea to share information that has value and to build your reputation as a go-to person in your field of expertise. Offer your audience tips or get them to ask you questions. Make sure to address and answer questions posted to help build your position as a reliable source of information. By doing this, your customers may refer you to their friends and followers which will help expand your online network.
When posting, deliver short, effective messages. Keep posts conversational and friendly, it is not like placing a Yellow-pages ad. Make things interactive. Ask a lighthearted, simple question of your fans and followers; even a yes or no question is fine. This will really promote interaction from your clientele and show them that their opinions matter.
In addition to knowing what to post, keep in mind what not to post. Do not violate employee or client confidentiality and you may need to add a policy about this in your employee handbook. Do not push sales. Remember to be smart about what information goes up about your business and do not share too much.
Help your business flourish by jumping on the Social Media bandwagon. Get your feet wet and let your brand name and ideas be distributed online all day and all night. Don’t forget to start asking your clients, “Have you checked us out on Facebook?”