A social media alphabet for small business
As a small business owner you know that social media is no longer just a way to connect with friends and relatives. It’s a tool, a resource, a series of channels that have transformed into a worldwide marketing and advertising tool for businesses.
On any given day you’ll find a plethora of advice for businesses on how to, when to, and why to use social media. You could spend hours on learning about Facebook or Twitter alone. So, we thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be nice to have a short list of the basics all in one place. Thus, we’ve created the Social Media ABC’s – an alphabet for small business. Enjoy!
A- Authentic Behavior: Be authentic to your brand, your business, and yourself. Do not let social media change the way that you do business. Personal feelings to a bad review or other negative things can ruin a response to a post, message, or review. Be genuine to who you are as a company and how you run typically.
B- Brevity: Any post on any social media site should be short and to the point. Long messages will get ignored and passed by. Tell the consumer what they need to know in about 140 characters.
C- Communicate and Create Content: Communicate with consumers, create a call to action by asking them to respond, share, like, etc. This will increase interaction with content. Content itself should be constantly created. Try not to copy from others, but create raw content through your company. Consumers like to see new things and uniqueness can help your business stand out among competitors.
D- Disclosure: Disclose only information that is appropriate to be shared among consumers everywhere. Do not go in depth on items personal about the business or leak information that could harm the business or offend other businesses.
E- Evaluate and Measure: Use analytics provided by the page, analytic measurement pages, or hire a measurement and evaluation team to complete your analytics for you. Watch how customers react, what is popular, how many like there are on posts, how many new likes have been generated as well as views on posts. Base posting techniques on these results as well as compare them to sales increase in your product or service.
F- Feed Their Curiosity: Show your customers what is going on behind the scenes and bring them into your business. Help them relate and show them that you want them to be a part of your business and not just another customer. They want to see what is going on in order to create the product or service they are purchasing. What is normal work for you, may be something that intrigues and entices consumers.
G- Generosity and Giving: Giveaways, contests, deals, and specials bring in new customers. When used wisely, these offerings of generosity will bring in new customers that can be maintained for repeat purchases. Too many will lose you money, so be careful. If possible show the behind the scenes of how winners are picked so that consumers better trust that someone wins fairly. Before you begin, however; you must know the rules.
H- Humor vs Harm: Use humor as you see fit, but watch the type of humor you are using. The jokes and funny posts that you share could be offensive to some. Taking risks is ok as long as you are willing to take the judgment. Beware of appropriateness and the image/voice you are portraying for your business.
I- Interaction & Influence: By interacting with your market through social media you have another advantage when it comes to influence on their interest and their purchases. The relationship that you create through social media sites will remind those possible customers that you care and they will remember the experience. The better the experience, the more influence you have among interaction with consumers.
J- Join In: Join in on the fun and show consumers that you are up for the new and innovative. Get them to join in by asking for ideas, comments, and reviews. Ask them what they would like to see, new products or services they would like to have offered, and even what is the most popular things in their life when it comes to choosing products/services like yours.
K- Know Your Stuff: Know what is appropriate, what is currently trending, and what social media sites attract what customers. Know the type of social media to use in your industry or to reach a certain objective. Know how to answer consumer questions and persuade them to buy via your business.
L- LISTEN: Pay attention to feedback and what other companies are doing. Listen for your company being mentioned and for other companies /products similar to yours making the headlines. Listen to the changes in social media policies and stay up to date. Listen to what new social media is entering the market and how it is being perceived by consumers. Here are some free tools that can help!
M- Maintain: Maintaining your social media sites is just as important as content and interaction. Maintenance must be constant both with simple posting as well as information updates. As the business changes, the sites should change to match. Hours should be up to date as well as links; pictures should be current and relevant to the company. Keep content appropriate and accurate, keep up-to-date ownership of the site to ensure correct and honest posting, keep privacy as privacy and don’t allow too much personal information out. Bad maintenance can lead to failure or worse, the damaging of your brand.
N- Network and Niche: Network with the right people and create your niche market to hit. The more people you can connect with, both personal and business-to-business, become connections that can be used later when needed. You can get referred, provide referrals, or even suggest a partnership for something that you both need.
O- Own the Offline Opportunity: Use social media, but also incorporate it into offline events involving social media through consumers’ eyes. A tweetup for example.
P- Publish, Publish, Publish: Create a publishing schedule for media to be added and updated. Manually publish everything and do it on a schedule that is constant so that consumers never miss a beat and lose track of you. Daily post, have a weekly update for events and coupon deals, create at least one giveaway or special a month, have a quarterly re-vamp of pictures and content, bi-annually hold a large contest, and annually measure the sites to check posting progress. Most of all know when to post, tweet, and e-mail!
Q- Quality Questions: Hold Q&A sessions or Tweet events, etc. in order to get response from consumers. Create questions with a purpose to discover more about what your customers want and hope for.
R- Response: Respond to all inquiries, posts, messages, etc. in a timely manner so that customers recognize that the business cares about their involvement as well as get customers will be happy to get a reply.
S- Share: Share posts from other businesses that you support, interesting topics, and posts from related to the business social media site.
T- Trust: Trust is trust; just like in life you must create a means for the consumer to trust you. Make sure that your site is free of bugs, viruses, and infected posts. Make sure that links are secure and that your website locks the customers’ information so that nothing can be stolen. Also show them that they can trust your product or service by providing testimonials, warranties, and stories through social media. Be open with the good and bad to show them how you take care of a problem.
U- Understand Ubiquity: Social Media is 24-7! Everything is everywhere all of the time. Your business is available to consumers every second of every day, there is not break or shut down period. Businesses must maintain their social media presence and make certain that the business social sites run the same from morning till night.
V- Value: Create value with posts and other items shared on social media. Do not post just to post or share just so that you have activity that day. Provide a value with your posts that customers can perceive and understand. If there is a value to them, then they will be more willing to click through the post. Value can be created in many ways, but here are some lessons.
W- Work: Social media is no easy task, it takes work, work, and more work. Content needs to be made, posts shared, customers analyzed, information received, questions answered, deals given, contests held, options given, information updated, and much much more! It is a full-time job, not just something that many can handle in the background once the business is on its feet.
X- Xerox: Copy from anywhere and everywhere, but make sure to give credit as needed.
Y- You: Be you, be personable. Customers are not robots and hate being treated as such. Be the person behind the social media, but maintain a personable and professional stance when it comes to running social media. You are what connects the consumer to the product/service you offer. You drive the passion and fuel the fire behind what customers are looking for so keep the “you” behind the media. Stay true to who you are.
Z- Zero Excuses and Catch Your ZZZs: Do not provide excuses to customers or yourself for not keeping up with social media. If social media cannot be up kept then do not take on the challenge of that opportunity yet. No social media is better than a social media that is not present, out-of-date, or taken over by fake and spam accounts. Also catching ZZZ’s when it comes to social media means to take breaks. When social media getting on the nerves or long hours are causing trouble to you, then take a break. Get sleep at night and set scheduled times to post and work on social media for both you and/or the employee in charge of the paged. Don’t let social media run anyone’s life.
About the author
Logan Hildebrand is an active intern at the Kansas Small Business Development Center and is currently attending Washburn University in pursuit of 3 degrees: business marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. She has a passion for capturing the awes of consumers through social media and marking and has been interning both here and elsewhere for the past 2 years in order to develop her experiences. Adapting to the ever changing field of marketing and social media is a strong point of hers, as well as making a delicious cup of coffee. Her dream is to one day open her own coffee shop and continue her marketing aspirations through that venture. Until then, she will be providing this blog with insightful, interesting, and useful posts to aid in the development of marketing in businesses that need assistance.