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45 Tips For Small Businesses Using Social Media

Social media can be very intimidating for small businesses. Especially with recent changes in policy from Facebook and other such sites. Getting to grips, and understanding how to get the best from your time each day is vital. I’ve put together an extensive list of over one hundred tips. Use just a few of these in combination and see your time become much more efficient.

45 Tips For Small Businesses Using Social Media

Research & Preparation

  • Don’t stretch yourself too thinly. Find out which social networks your customers use.
  • Use services such as social mention to search for your business name and see what’s being said about you and your business.
  • Assign one person (if your business has more than one) to manage the social media accounts.
  • Decide what you want to achieve through social media, increased traffic, increased brand awareness, etc.
  • Allocate two windows of time per day for social media, for example; 10am and 4pm.
  • Research your competitors and see what they’re doing well/not so well.
  • Decide on a few keywords that are relevant for your business and search these on your chosen social networks.
  • Interact with those updates and post that are found when searching for that particular keyword.
  • Don’t waste time – Don’t get caught up using social media personally when you’re in a business frame of mind!

Strategy & Implementation

  • As mentioned above, set clear goals; such as;
  1. Specific % increase in traffic.
  2. Number of mentions of your brand across social networks.
  3. Links created as a result of social media activity.
  4. Sales – implement a way of recording how your customers found you, perhaps a simply check box at checkout. Remember, if you don’t get a ROI is it really worth your time?
  5. Set a clear budget for advertising if you wish to do so (Facebook PPC, etc).
  • Be patient – it won’t happen overnight, unless you’re a big brand or very lucky.
  • Be careful, be professional. You’re representing a business remember.
  • Be polite and respectful – act how you would if they called you or met you in person.
  • Include social media in your overall marketing plan for your business.
  • Ensure others are not squatting with your business name. Services like Knowem.com can help.

Facebook Tips For Small Business 

  • Understand that Facebook will not be the saviour for your business, but it’s useful as part of your plan.
  • Vary your posts and updates; polls, images and videos are the most engaging ways to use Facebook.
  • Keep your comments and updates short and sweet. No one wants to read an essay in their newsfeed.
  • Use a creative cover photo and profile image – The new(ish) timeline is very visual and allows for great branding opportunities.
  • Make use of the timeline. Add dates for new product launches, new stores and more.
  • Include your website URL in the visible part of your ‘about’ blurb.
  • Keep updates consistent and regular. No less than once a day, no more than 5 times.
  • Like other pages in your industry as your business name and comment using that name.
  • Add the like button to your product images on your website.
  • If you have a blog, consider adding the Facebook comments system as a way of engaging readers.

Twitter Tips For Small Business

  • Use search.twitter.com to find discussion relevant to your industry, product or service.
  • Make use of the lists – it’s a great way to show you value others contribution.
  • ‘Favourite’ useful and informative tweets. It’s a nice way to say thanks to those who help you.
  • Don’t just tweet links and offers. No one wants to be spammed and bored.
  • Always change your password on a regular basis, a Twitter account sending viruses is bad news.
  • Always follow back. If someone has been good enough to follow your business, follow them back.
  • Say thank you – especially for following.
  • Acknowledge them and what they do. A simple ‘Hello @example, thanks for following. Love your site’ will do if you’re lacking inspiration.
  • Be quick to reply; whether it’s a complain or praise be quick to acknowledge it.
  • Funneling – provide a phone number or email for complaints.

Pinterest Tips For Small Business

  • Your target demographic is important. Build boards around your target audience. For example, if you sell shoes; build mood boards for ideas of what to wear with your shoes, such as dresses, jewelry, hats, etc.
  • Much like Twitter, share content you like – don’t just pin your own images.
  • Use the @tag to mention your followers in your pins.
  • Allow your followers to pin images to your boards by making them a contributor.
  • Follow relevant media organisations, magazines and news outlets in your industry.

That’s a decent starting point for any small business, but in reality you won’t have time to do all of these every day or week. So pick wisely and plan your time in advance. A simple but effective social media strategy takes a little time to plan, but once you’re moving in the right direction you’ll soon realise it’s not as tough as those big media agencies have you believe!

If you feel i’ve missed anything obvious, i’d love to hear from you!

Paul Middleton is a Uk based, results-driven freelance social media manager over at SocialColleague.

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