Small Business and Social Media:
Finding a Social Media Strategy That Fits Your Small Business
This week's theme is Social Media for Small Business.The transition for small businesses onto social media can be a tricky one. Being social requires a balance between engaging on a personal level and maintaining a professional brand image. Without some guidelines and a plan it's easy to make the mistake of being either too casual or automating everything resulting in existing and potential clients disengaging rather than engaging.
Understand that there are expectations of immediate responses on social media. Be prepared for that and do it right from the beginning.It's one thing not to be on social media, it's another thing entirely to be there and not manage your engagement well. You will lose customers if they experience frustration about your social media accounts, and they will share this frustration VERY publicly. Figuring out a social media strategy that works within your available resources, budget and business vision may take some fidgeting to get just the right fit. It is better to take a bit more time and get it right then to lose existing and potential customers not because of your product but because of frustrating social media experiences.
Social media engagement if not managed can easily become a time and productivity thief, and overwhelming.Start small and then add on if that becomes feasible and makes sense. First, do some research to figure out what social media platforms are out there, then narrow down your research to 2 or 3 platforms such as facebook, twitter or instagram that work best for your type of business. It's impossible to be on, and maintain every social media platform, nor should you try. Even if certain platforms are popular, it doesn't mean they're a good fit for you or offer a good return on invested time or money.
In-House or Out-Source:Remembering that existing and potential customers have social media expectations, and your bottom-line can be impacted by your social media engagement, do you have the expertise to manage this in-house? I'm a believer in doing what you're good at, and although managing your own social media, or delegating it to an intern may seem like a good cost cutting measure, in the long term it may be more cost effective to out-source it to someone or a team with social media expertise.
Finding a social media person or team that's a good fit for your business:A good fit requires they understand and believe in your business' core values and are able to translate those values into consistent messaging on social media. Communicating those values in a way that generates conversations and inspires others to join in is a true art. For that reason some real thought should be given to what you want your business' social media presence to be, and who can best do that. Resist the urge to treat your social media as an after thought or punted off to inexperienced staff or interns. Instead have a look at my Worth the Read: The On-Line Community Manager, and Pam Moore's post about Hiring a Social Media Agency.
Below are a few links and resources to get you started:
- A Beginner's Social Media Guide for Small Business via Megan Conley - Social Media Examiner
- 6 Uncomplicated Social SEO Tips for Small Business via Danielle Cormier - Constant Contact
- The Ultimate Guide to Using Social Media for Small Business via Alyssa Gregory - About.com
- 10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips via Ross Kimbarovsky - Mashable
- Social Media for Small Business: Choose Wisely, then Execute via Ian Lurie - Entrepreneur .com
Need some more Food for Thought?
Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about what's worth taking the time to read.
Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are my own, and the purpose of this post is merely to share with my readers information and posts that I find interesting