Being social online can really help a small business find new customers, chat to old ones and get the word out about what they do and what they are about.
Being social is about being human, if you think of the web as one big party then you want to be there chatting, helping and quite often having a laugh with potential customers. You really don’t want to be the one that turns up late to the wrong party and then bores everyone telling them stories and tales all about you.
First Find The Right Party
Where are your ideal customers hanging out? Are they on Linked In, Reddit, facebook, pinterest, youtube, twitter, or instagram?
If they are on all of them it would be a good idea to choose a couple of places to start with and party well, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
If you don’t know where they are, have a look at where your competitors are hanging out and see how well they are doing.
Also, use the search facilities on these platforms to see how many people are chatting about what you do or the products you sell.
In the real world if you turned up at the right party you wouldn’t stand in the middle of the room and start shouting who you are and what you do. And it should be the same in your online social world too.
- Start following people that talk about things that would interest your potential customers and share their content. Be generous and do this without expecting any return.
- Reply with relevant comments and new useful information to their posts.
- Have a laugh and join in the fun, be yourself. It will all help make your small business more social.
- If you get it wrong, apologise.
- And share items, about your business that show the human side. It could be a photo of you all packing up orders, drowning in a sea of boxes, you and your stand at a local fair or sharing you using your products.
How To Use Social Media Automation
When you run your own business it is hard trying to do it all and managing your social media accounts is quite often low down on the list of priorities. There are a number of tools that you can use for free that will help you monitor and evaluate social accounts.
Currently I use hootsuite but I have also used sproutsocial and tweetdeck.
You connect all your social media accounts and can then monitor what everyone is saying about you. Plus you can follow those in your industry and monitor keywords that could be relevant to you and your business.
It cuts down the time you need to keep up to date, you can also schedule posts which is very useful for when you know you are going to be busy or when you are on holiday.
However don’t go mad on using automation as it is obviously not very human. It would be like you sending a recording of yourself to the party to be played every hour – most people are going to turn you off and they are very unlikely to stand there and tell the recording that they would love to do business with you.
Use automation wisely to get an important message across but don’t just use it.
There is a lot to be said about standing next to the most popular person at the party, sharing a joke, maybe even a glass of wine and having a laugh.
If you have a facebook fan page for your website or blog you may at some point want to add a new tab to the top of the page. It’s perfect if you have a newsletter or an offers page then these would be great to add as a link from your facebook page.
Here is one client’s facebook fan page with their new custom tab for their newsletter sign up.
The great thing is it is fairly easy to do yourself, honest! I use the Woobox App to do this, most of the features are free but some more advanced ones you will need to pay for. The instructions below won’t cost you anything.
Step By Step Instructions For Your Own Custom Facebook Tabs
Step 1: Go to Facebook and login as yourself, and install the application. Install the page tab (see image below)
Step 2: Choose the Facebook Page you want to install the tab on – this will be available in the drop down box at the top and then click “Add Tab”
Step 3: Setup the newly installed page tab so it can be shared, click on the Edit link (top right of the top box) and you will see all of this, with your website details in!
Step 4 This is where you fill in all of your details and you have a few options
- you can redirect your fan to another page
- add your website page to your facebook page – I use this for newsletter sign ups
- Add your own html – this would be good if you wanted to add your own personal welcome message
- Or they could see an image when they click on the tab – could be good if you were showing a flyer
Don’t forget to add a new Tab image, this will need to be 111px wide by 74px tall. You could create your own image on your own graphics package or use a free web based package like Picmonkey.
And then you can save your settings.
If this is the first time you have used this App on facebook then you will need to autorise it to manage your page – this means that you will be able to edit the tab. There doesn’t seem to be a way round this, which is a bit annoying.
To make sure everything is as you want with your tab on your facebook page it is a good idea to open your page in another tab so you can refresh and make any changes that you want before you exit the App.
If you have any problems with this, or would much prefer someone to do this all for you, please get in touch.