To paraphrase the late, great Chicago Bull and my friend – Norm Van Lear, “it’s a good day if you’re above ground”….and if you’re above ground, you know social media is dramatically changing the nature of human interaction while remaking the communications fabric of modern life. It is simultaneously liberating us and complicating our lives.
How does social media fit within your business and how should companies and organizations use the tools? Those are the questions of the hour.
Simply put, if you own a business and hope to grow that business, you should be using one or more of the available social media platforms. According to latest market data from the Social Media Marketing Industry Report, over 85% of all businesses use them and 92% report they are critical to their business success.
What platforms are best?
A lot depends on the business you’re in. B2B businesses predominantly rely on LinkedIn and to a lesser degree, Facebook and Twitter. B2C businesses are much more reliant on Facebook as their primary tool with Twitter, Instagram and in some cases Pinterest in use as well.
Ok. I know what you are thinking. Running a business is hard enough without having to worry about multiple social media platforms.
So let’s simplify it for you – focusing on a B2C business and Facebook. A B2C business can make good use of social media in about 15 minutes a day… very doable even if you’re very small.
Start by creating a business page on Facebook (if you haven’t already). It’s easy to do – takes maybe 10 minutes. Fill out all the vital information requested by Facebook concerning your business including location, phone number, a business description, hours of operation and perhaps a bit of history. Choose a good profile and cover photo. Set up your Facebook call-to-action button and off you go.
Next – start populating your page with posts that help your customer. Too many businesses populate their pages with “selling” messages – product pitches, sales, and promotions – failing to realize that to be successful with social media one must first help and then sell.
Great posts are known for their brevity and clarity – and always feature a great photo or video. A lazy reliance on plain text posts will result in few post views, fewer post shares and near zero page views… with zero effect on your bottom line. A great resource for photos that can be used without paying a royalty is Foter (http://foter.com/).
Ok. You now have your page up and you have begun populating it with sizzling content – then what?
Once you’ve posted material that helps and has value – you need to monitor your posts two to three times a day for comments and questions from visitors (this process can be automated so you get an email each time a comment is posted). This task is your opportunity to connect and create a relationship. And it’s very important.
That’s it. Fifteen minutes a day – and you’re done.
Remember – social media has great value and is about the conversation. It’s about creating meaningful relationships with prospects and customers – helping them develop trust in your brand – a trust that will help your business grow.