Forgoing a business Twitter and Facebook account in today’s world is like trying to rake hot coals with your hand – it’s a less than stellar idea. Fortunately many business owners realize this and have gone through the process of putting together some type of online presence. Unfortunately, most of them have absolutely no idea what to do with their profiles. And if you’re not using and interacting with your customers online the way that the social media gods meant you to do, your hours of laboring over a catchy Facebook status update are worthless.
Setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts can be a frustrating process for many business owners – especially if you’re not familiar with the online terrain, web lingo and social networking practices that are the inherent domain of the young whippersnappers that flock to those sites. But given that most small business owners are working with minimal resources and small marketing budgets, not having an online presence just isn’t a viable option anymore – especially with the lost cost involved.
Promoting Content with Facebook
Setting up a Facebook fan page is pretty much a must-have in today’s social media-sphere. To begin building fans, add your friends initially, and ask a few close friends to email it out as a “page suggestion” so that you reach a broader network of readers. Join other fan pages that are similar or within your niche and participate in their comments and forums section, while providing a subtle link back to your website or fan page. However, make sure that you are contributing poignant content, rather than pushing your own website. It’s bad online etiquette and makes you look like a spammer — and Facebook will penalize you if you leave similar comments on multiple fan pages.
One of the most common, and successful, uses for companies on Facebook has been to use the social media site to promote giveaways and contests that promote user interaction between consumers and the brand. It’s also a fantastic way to get instantaneous feedback on products and conduct impromptu polls.
Using Twitter to Spread the Word
Twitter is the most beneficial online promotional tool — if you use it correctly. The most common mistake that people make in trying to promote their business or blog on Twitter is making the content completely self serving. Twitter is, in the most basic way, a social networking platform. It’s sole purpose is to allow users to quickly and efficiently interact with one another.
A good rule of thumb for promoting yourself on Twitter is to “tweet” two to three personal musings for every blog post tweet you send out. “Re-tweeting” (or copying another person’s tweets and crediting them) is a great way to get more exposure, since most people tend to give an online shout-out to people who re-tweet them. The key to mastering Twitter is interacting with other users. Comment on their statements, answer questions, and get involved. It will make you stand out and give you credibility in a sea of Twitter spammers.
Social networking is a fantastic way to reach out to a broad audience, and even easily target your ideal consumer. But like most tools, there’s a definitive learning curve that’s mandatory to master if you want to get the best results. Being outgoing and quirky is part of the package, but what really sells online is genuine outreach and helpful customer service. If there ever was a reason for businesses to be online – that’s it.