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Small Businesses on Social Media: Get It Right

Most small businesses feel a sense of urgency to get onto social media because of the tidal wave big brands have made on all social media platforms. Focus on your social media goals. Whatever they are, the bottom line should be to build relationships and grow customer trust. That means that social media is not the place to display your promotional copy. Get rid of anything remotely resembling a “BUY ME” button. Social media is about social engagement. Think of yourself in a social situation – do you spend the entire time talking about yourself? Hopefully the answer is no. This type of etiquette applies to social media as well. Just as you would in a social environment, strive to be interesting on social media. Post content that gives your followers or friends something to react too. If someone were to walk up to you and give you a compliment or ask you a question, you would never just ignore it. You would acknowledge it with a “thank you” or a reply. The same thing should be done on your social media platforms.

You are a small business. Your budget is probably much smaller than that of Starbucks. Inevitably, your social media strategy will be different than those big brands – that is okay! You don’t have to keep up with Pepsi. If you do not have the budget to giveaway the latest IPad – don’t do it. Offer a prize your company can handle such as a service, discount, or small product.  This also means that the participants in your giveaway are likely to be interested in your company, and not just in it for the free Ipad.

You have probably already picked up on the fact that there is no physical cost to join social media.  As a small business, marketing without fees probably sounds like the best kind.  But don’t be fooled – social media marketing is anything but free. Doing it right requires serious man-hours. The commitment to social media is unrelenting and endless. Engaging with followers and sharing valuable content is a full time job.

As a small business, you do not need to be present on every social media account. If you use Facebook over Google +, it does not mean you are a social media failure. The biggest error you could make is to have a Google + account that is completely neglected and shows inconsistent activity. It is better to have one or two active and up to date social media accounts than have five accounts that are not receiving adequate time and management.

Small businesses tend to make these mistakes, which can do serious harm to their social media success. Make sure your business gets it right!

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