10 Things You Should Know About Social Media

Last week, I gave a presentation to the Jersey Shore Business Network about Social Media Marketing. Without slides and a limited time to cover a HUGE subject, I focused on 10 key things that I’ve learned about social media that I think every small business owner should know.

Here are my ten things:

1. Identify GoalsAny successful business owner knows that “failing to plan is planning to fail”. Social media is no different. With that said it is important to identify goals before starting a social media campaign. Already started a campaign? Better late than never.  The seven most common goals for social media are:

  • Enhancing brand awareness
  • Reputation management
  • Enhance public relations
  • Extending customer service
  • Building a community of advocates
  • Facilitating research and development 
  • Driving web traffic, leads and sales.

2. Social media is social. It’s about interaction, not broadcasting. This means that you should be having conversations, not just promoting yourself. This is what differentiates Social Media from other forms of advertisement.

3. All social media is not the same. Each social media site exists for a slightly different purpose.  As such your objectives should be different for each site.

4. It takes time.  Just as in any interpersonal relationship it takes time and frequency to develop trust. In the end you get out what you put in to it.

5. You don’t have to be on ALL social media platforms (there are hundreds of them.) Start where your customers are and where you have the most fun. It will be easier for you and most effective in marketing terms.

6. Do one thing at a time. Don’t feel like you have to launch three different social accounts at the same time. Just pick one, get used to that, and then add another. Facebook is often the easiest, because you are probably already using it on a personal level.

7. It is OK for your customer to criticize or disagree with you. This is why its called “social media” and not “one way media”. A best practice is to have a plan for dealing with negative comments and also to reach out to your supporters. These people are your brand ambassadors.

8. Establish Expert Status. Use Social Media (especially LinkedIn and Google+) to establish yourself as an authority in your field by publishing articles that help the community at large.

9. Sincerity. Your posts should be genuine and reflect the character of your company.

10. Keep learning. Social media is moving fast. I’m reading about new things in social media ALL the time. If you’re active on social, you’ll pick things up as changes happen. Don’t panic about that, it will just happen.

One Last thing to remember: Many business owners are afraid of social media because they worry about competitors or disgruntled clients saying negative things about them. The truth is that this could happen anyway, so just jump in and relax. Being part of the conversation is always better than being left out. 

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