How to use social media for small businesses

May 22, 2014

Social_Media

When deciding you are ready to tackle the social media challenge as a business, you most probably have had exposure as a personal user. So many of us use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family far away and tweet about the latest stunning news. Yet new business owners often hesitate when thinking about social media for “the real stuff”.

I spoke with Andy Bush from Bush Marketing about this, as he was my guest speaker for Strategic Focus for StartUps a few times, and his advice is three-fold:

  • Figure out what the right site is for you
  • Then, create and engage
  • And be generous in sharing and supporting posts

A starters kit

Okay, lets get to “the real stuff” now – how do I get started? This starters kit has seven tools in it that help you figuring out how to make social media work for the small business owner.

Tool 1: Start with what’s best suited for you

There are six main social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. The channels can be divided into three categories for their best use:

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): LinkedIn, Twitter
  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C): Facebook, Pinterest
  • Educational: YouTube

Google+ is, in my humble opinion, mostly useful as a complementary channel to increase traffic to your website.

Tool 2: Whatever social channel you choose, do it well

It’s not necessary to be on all social media websites. It just costs you a lot, and I mean a lot, of your valuable time if you do! Engaging via social media contributes to your core business so treat it as such. Plus, doing as much as possible might turn into ill written messages and not engaging or sharing enough, missing the point of being social on social media.

Tool 3: Don’t demand (just don’t do it!)

Treating social media as another advertising outlet will hurt you. Instead of promoting yourself, show what is happening in your community. Community is loosely defined as your business and team, your personal surroundings, your professional network.

Tool 4. Be consistent

Content is king. It’s as simple as that! Really – it is. And you want to share this valuable content regularly. The general rule is to post once every day, while on Twitter you can post as often as you like. My blog guideline is to post every Thursday morning whereas my Twitter feed shows about 6-7 tweets per day (excluding responses to my community). My Facebook and Google+ pages have about 1-2 posts every day.

Tool 5. Follow and share

Yes, I know – I said this before. That should tell you I am really serious about it! Engaging your community is using the instruments social media gives you. These are to like and follow, to post and to share, to ask and to reply. Having a conversation is the best thing that can happen to you. 🙂

Tool 6. Ask to engage

Your next question is what should I ask, right? Depending on your business and character (and personal branding), feel free to ask for opinions, experiences, tips, and more. And let me repeat here; do not ask for a sale.

Tool 7. Manage all this with a planning site

Managing more than one social media channel is challenging with a busy entrepreneurial lifestyle. A free website, Hootsuite.com schedules your tweets with just a few clicks. I personally have used Hootsuite for over a year now and it has been a fabulous time saver.

Do you have a beginner’s question that I haven’t answered with the above seven tools? Please comment below and I’d be happy start a conversation with you.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Author

Lisette Andreyko

Lisette is the founder of Kaleidoscope and is passionate about start-up leadership, personal growth and women in business (and psst.. about tea!). She enjoys connecting with small businesses through her network. You can find her on LinkedIn.