- Suspend your disbelief for a moment: Lots of small businesses, including my own, find social media a highly productive and inexpensive way to market their services and products. Read the responses to "why would a plumber need social media?", then 17 things you can pin on Pinterest besides pillows and dresses, and how StyleSeat, a new site, is trying to become OpenTable for salons. There's a solution out there for you somewhere.
- Don't try everything: There's no advantage (and often a lot of harm) to setting up a presence on every social site that moves. You may feel overwhelmed faster, and a presence on Facebook or Twitter that's not updated frequently winds up doing more harm than good to your image, as some big brands have discovered. Instead, review your options and choose a platform from which you'll do your primary posting--a social media basecamp--and make that your focus. Do a quality job there, then use other sites to drive traffic that way.
- If you're on just one site, use it well: Using only Facebook as a marketing tool, this smart fellow who does wedding photography as a side job on the weekends has been able to stay fully booked and make $100,000 a year. He's figured out the social media tools that Facebook offers and used them to advantage by doing just three things: 1) posting photos of the wedding fast, by the next day; 2) tagging participants who have Facebook accounts, so they and their friends will see the photos automatically in their news feeds; and 3) letting Facebook's sharing tools do the rest as attendees pass the photos around. (Facebook's a powerhouse site for photo-sharing, with billions of photos uploaded annually.) The word of mouth follows from there. Don't ignore newer sites if you are choosing just one for your presence. This electronics gadget maker found the flexibility of Google+ an advantage over Facebook, with the bonus of integration with other Google products.
- Exploring place-based social media? Love your neighbors: Whether you're a retail bank or store, a rent-an-office location, a hotel or a restaurant, don't just use the "places" options on Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to promote your location. Spread the love to your neighbor businesses and encourage them to do the same, with Foursquare lists ("great places to eat near our art gallery"), retweets of your neighbor's posts on Twitter, and shares of your neighbors' Facebook posts that are relevant to your followers. Your Chamber of Commerce, business improvement district, and local government, as well as surrounding businesses, should be among the sites you follow and reciprocate-post.
- Share some secrets: One of the biggest changes from traditional media, we've learned in social media that customers love a behind-the-scenes view. So tell us when a local celebrity has stopped by, show a picture of what the penny-counting looks like at the bank, tell us what the doctors in your practice liked the best among the talks at TEDMED and why. Share what you're reading and where you're meeting, but give us a little extra perspective.
- Save time where you may: Like anything else, taking the time to plan can help you save time and make executing a social presence more manageable for business. It pays to set up a note-saving system, automated if you wish, so you can build a content stash for a blog or Twitter feed. That's part of what will help you to blog or tweet more without working too hard. Play your cards right, and you can blog or tweet less without anyone noticing, too.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Posted by Denise Graveline at Monday, February 20, 2012