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.