Category Archives: small business social media

BIG Things Small Businesses Overlook on Social Media

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business manager managing company social media profileFacebook. Twitter. Instagram. Linkedin. Pinterest.

Social media sites are full of failed business profiles that are abandoned, full of negativity, or just full of junk. It’s impossible to know the reason behind every single botched social media attempt, but there are a lot of businesses out there—primarily small companies—who jump in to social media without thinking about these important parts of social media.

Answering messages

Most companies start a social media presence with a clear sales goal. There are ways to achieve this on social media with testimonials, images of products or services delivered, creative posts. However, many companies overlook the most direct approach: answering messages from potential customers.

Remember, customers (and potential customers) reach out to businesses with questions through whatever means is convenient for them—even if it’s not always the company’s preferred method. Select an employee or manager (carefully) who is trained to handle customer service inquiries. Connect an e-mail to company social media profiles so the employee receives notifications of new messages. If there is not a suitable employee or a manager that has time, contact a marketing company that can manage the social media profile (including responding to messages after contacting the business).

Respond to them as soon as possible. If that’s not possible, and the social media network has the capability, leave an auto-respond message that indicates when a response is coming (such as during business hours). Make it a top priority to respond promptly (within a few hours) BEFORE the customer moves on to the competition.

Negative comments and reviews

As much as company managers look forward to the sunshine of social media, there is a down side to marketing on social media. Social media is a two-way conversation; negative comments and reviews, unfortunately, are part of the process. Dealing with unhappy customers is also a key reason to choose the employee who responds on social media carefully (or why to put social media messages in the hands of marketing pros).

When a customer does post a negative comment or review, the general rule is to respond. The response should include a sincere sorry (even if it’s just for what they’re going through) and an offer—if possible—to resolve the issue. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer to private message if more information is needed. There are a few exceptions to the ‘always respond’ rule, such as if the comment or review is an act of revenge (i.e. from a former employee, angry friend or family member). On Facebook, the option to review a business can be turned off if the negativity becomes overwhelming. This shouldn’t be the first choice, however, as there is value in maintaining a social media profile with positive testimonials.

Amount of time it takes

Successful companies on social media make it look easy; from an outside standpoint, managing multiple social media profiles—and getting results from them—can appear simple. The truth is not so simple. The first step is choosing the right social media sites with the company’s target audience. From there, a solid social media presence requires quality images, videos, hash tags (when appropriate), responses…all posted at the right time (when followers are online) on a regular basis. A successful social media presence requires a plan that follows the company’s sales cycle (here’s how to craft a complete online marketing plan). In short, a successful social media presence requires time.

If the answer is in-house, a company manager should take care to choose the right employee who can maintain a regular posting schedule. If there is no one on staff who has the time or expertise, outsource the effort to an experienced marketing company.

3 Social Media Ideas that Set Your Business Apart

one lit light bulb that is like business that stands out on social mediaWe humans are creatures of habit. We find something that works and we stick to it, like that morning coffee routine or that muffin you pick up at the corner store every morning.  For the most parts routines are great, but they do get to be a problem when business owners and managers stick to the same thing over and over on social media. It gets stagnant. The same posts (and kind of posts) get boring in the ever-evolving—and crowded—world of social media.

So how can your business stand out among the crowd?  You don’t have to get rid of what works for your business (please don’t!), but you can start to mix some “new age” posts into your social media plan.

Over-the-top images

Three sixty photos, striking images, relevant memes, infographics—all these visuals set your business apart on social media.  They catch people’s eye and can create a connection with their relevancy.  If you want to make your business stand out on social media, up the ante of your social media images.

One note of caution: make sure your images are relevant to your business, and not just random images.  Use the same tone with the images so you create a consistent business voice that drives your customers to a sale—and aren’t just a bunch of random images.  If you don’t know how to tie all the pieces together into a clear, relevant social media campaign, trust your efforts to someone who can. 

Videos

There is some great news in the world of social media videos: you don’t have to be a professional to shoot them anymore with professional editing equipment.  While those videos still have a place in your marketing plan, short videos from your tablet or phone can make your post stand out correctly (if part of a plan and played out correctly).  Your videos don’t have to be very long, but they need to be relevant and interesting.  Not all your posts should be video, but an occasional video can make you stand out in the feed.

Go live

If you want to take videos a step further, it’s time to go live on social media.  Don’t overdo it; many a business or user has lost a good chunk of social media followers because they are sick of getting constant notifications about your live video.

Instead, be strategic.  Go live before an event or when something BIG happens.  Don’t sell in your videos: entertain or deliver value without banging your followers over the head with annoying advertisements.  Use your live video to broadcast advice from and expert about tiling their bathroom or how to fix their bicycle.  Or give your followers the “inside scoop” and broadcast one of your employees (with their permission) participating in a community event—a post that’s sure to make you stand out.