1. Research your competition. Do they have a strong social media presence? What kinds of things do they talk about? How many friends or followers do they have? The best thing you can do when establishing your social networking presence is to check out what your competitors are doing and see how you can differentiate yourself.
2. Reward customer loyalty. Celebrate those who appreciate you. This may mean featuring customers on your YouTube channel or posting their photos on your Facebook wall. Try to develop engaging campaigns that get customers involved and interacting with your company. Also consider offering discounts or special promotions for social media followers.
3. Be authentic. Statistics show that customers prefer to buy products from real people. Talk about things that genuinely interest you. Start discussions and become an opinion leader. Above all, be honest and transparent about all that you do.
4. Deal with negativity. When people post negative comments on your social networking handle, deal with them immediately. Whether your policy is to respond in private or comment after them, take care of negativity right away. Offer to speak to these people in person or over the telephone. Whatever you do, do not delete negative comments unless they are illegal or include profanity; this goes along with transparency.
5. Be a perfectionist. There’s no time for sloppiness. I know. Twitter only allows you to post 140 characters, and people tend to talk in abbreviations on social networking sites. So what. It’s no excuse to not pay attention to your message. Stick with continuity. Be professional. It will benefit you in the long run.
6. Stop promoting yourself. Research demonstrates that consumers are turned off by companies that constantly promote themselves. So get off your soapbox. Social networking sites were not meant to be self-promotional. They’re about harnessing lasting relationships with prospective and present customers.
7. Take advantage of free tools. Being a small business owner leaves little time to monitor or update social media. Download free tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite to help manage your social networking handles. You can also schedule tweets and posts for those busy days.
Remember, social networking is all about building and harnessing relationships with people. Consumers want to learn more about your products and services. Be engaging and you’ll go far with social networking.