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Six Tips for Small Businesses Using Social Media

blakesanders October 31, 2011

With increased numbers of social media users, small businesses have more opportunities for connecting with the public than ever before. Additionally, many users have access to high speed internet service; therefore, staying on top of the competition is easier with a social media presence. Using online groups such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is a great way for a business with budget restrictions to reach out to the community without spending more than it should. Here are six basic tips for small businesses to follow as they become involved with social media.

Start Immediately If Not Sooner
First, a small business should immediately create an online presence instead of waiting for several months. Doing this immediately will attract new customers and create conversation among interested, potential customers. In addition, having a social media circle will greatly help when the business expands and begins marketing through email. This will also give the business itself the ability to see what competitors are doing in their community and what the trend is within their business sector.

Engage Locally
Secondly, it is vital to work closely within one’s own community. This is especially important for virtual businesses. Large businesses may be able to create inroads throughout the state, region or even nation; however, small businesses must concentrate on their locale to gather a viable customer base. As local consumers notice a new business, they will begin to tell their friends, family and coworkers who will then be able to search for it online.

Connect to Other Pros
Thirdly, a great way to create a consumer base even faster is to reach out to other area businesses. This will show that the intent of the business is to reach out to the community and to build a close-knit, friendly group. These businesses will then do the same in return by spotlighting the small business on their website or social media page. This especially applies to those who are making use of another’s information. Giving credit to the originator or author is always the best option.

Cover All Platforms
Fourthly, a small business should become involved in as many social media networks as it feasibly can. Since a large number of people have access to high speed internet service, they can easily check multiple sites quickly. Creating business pages on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will make the business more accessible and visible in the virtual community. Many social groups have search engines that will allow similar businesses to find each other and interact together.

Do… Not… Spam
Fifthly, businesses should refrain from using anything that sounds like spam. The biggest culprit here is automated replies. There are a number of applications online that can create automated replies to personal comments or messages. However, most of them produce messages that sound positively fake or that misinterpret the original message. Seeing these sorts of replies on a business’s social media page is an immediate deterrent to potential clients.

All consumers respond more positively to personalized messages and replies. Of course, there are times when some automation is perfectly acceptable. For example, some businesses choose to schedule updates to their pages even when they are not online themselves. Others post RSS feeds from one of their sites to another site.

Separate Business and Pleasure
Sixthly, a business’s social media page should be completely separate from the owner’s personal page. While many beginners believe that their business will grow even more quickly if they link with their personal friends first, new clients will distrust the professionalism of the business. A business should be marketed as such if it is expected to grow.

These are six of the best ways to create a strong business presence by using social media. Most consumers begin their search for a particular business online now that high speed internet service is available in the majority of areas across the country. A small business should never underestimate the power of virtual networking as they engage with its community.

Note: Photo courtesy of gavinjllewellyn via FlickR Creative Commons.

18 comments
Laura Dern
Laura Dern

What a brilliant post. You should do a series! :)I did a sort of blogging for dummies over on one of the craft forums and I thought it was too simple for them, but the amount of emails I got asking questions just like what you addressed was unbelievable. As young people today we have grown up with computers, but it's easy to forget that even people just a few years older have not! Really good post! :) My recent post free birthday cards to print

Noel Addison
Noel Addison

Great tips! Social media plays a crucial role to the success of any business. But as they say, it can bring your business both positive and negative impacts. So make sure that you are using social media for your business the right way :) My recent post 5 Things to Look for in a Web Dev Company

Neil
Neil

Hi Blake, You have some really good points. I think your last point on seperating business and pleasure is a good one. You see too many people that try to combine the two and end up giving mixed messages. if it is a personal account then keep it personal.

jewelry making
jewelry making

Do not spam! I absolutely agree! I am just wondering if spammers also get good money out of it. For me, it's illegal and I shouldn't follow it.

Joseph
Joseph

This is solid advice for anyone looking for basic advice for beginners. It covers all the basics without getting too in-depth about any one thing.. social media has a vital role for the success of internet business.

Austin Realtors
Austin Realtors

Social networking websites and as well as other Internet resources has indeed made their marks in being part of the most effective marketing mediums for businesses. Together with this guide, I'm sure that any type business would most likely be successful in utilizing such tools for the betterment of their businesses.

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Well; as far as success in field of small business is considered spam avoiding is highly important in this regard; during commenting or article spam avoiding is quite important.

Steve
Steve

Social Media, Facebook, linkedin, twitter etc has become a fundamental marketing strategy for any business trying to reach a wide customer base. The chief reason is the expanding number of users using social media. For a business to grow, the importance of social media cannot be under emphasized! I totally agree with what is mentioned here. My recent post Some Stress Relief Games Reduce Anxiety

Leo
Leo

Social media has become a hot marketing tool for every business and as you have mentioned here, for the small businesses as well. It all happens through the word of mouth and spreads like a wild fire. All your tips are excellent! My recent post La dieta necesaria para dejar de fumar

Frank
Frank

Thanks for sharing Blake. I do believe that Social media is very powerful tool to use when promoting your business. Its easy to find your target market and almost everyone has facebook or other social media accounts too. Frank @ solar power for the home

Gian
Gian

Nice points out there Blake! No doubt about it, social media is a good way of advertising your business or product in the internet. As you mentioned about "Do not spam" it will affect your brand image on people, so never harm your business like that. My recent post State averages for auto insurance premiums

Goa Holiday
Goa Holiday

Many marketers joining social media for marketing purpose but they usually result in spamming and hence their account got banned. So it's really important to create strong relationship with targeted people along with marketing your products or services as well. Don't send your selling page link again and again instead invest your time in finding targeted people and build relationship. My recent post Goa Trip

evergreen homes
evergreen homes

Social media has become a really powerful advertising tool. Because of this, small businesses can easily compete with the large ones. The 6th point cited here is important. People tend to mix their personal profiles with their business profiles. It'll hard for one to establish the brand if you do this.

Extreme John
Extreme John

I think the tips are awesome. Thank you very much for sharing them. Social media can be a good way in establishing a business on your own and your advice will lead the path to have a successful business using social media. My recent post Business Blitz: Is Advertising on Facebook Good or Bad For Small Business?

Alexander Finch
Alexander Finch

Well I agree with all of your tips since I did them all but not in order. I was only starting back then and i gotta say it was a great success for me.This is rather useful to all newbie, My recent post Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas

Michael
Michael

Well Tory - To participate in discussions regarding politics, religion or other topics that have tendency to become "hot", is most certainly not a very clever thing to do when it comes to doing business. :D To keep you private opinions strictly separate from you business profile, I believe is absolutely crucial. I do not absolutely agree on, that small businesses should spread on all social platforms. At least not from the very beginning. Although it is desirable and now a days much can be automated, it takes precious time from the company's core tasks. Of course you can outsource or hire someone for the "social presence" task, but many small businesses do not have the resources or knowledge that makes this possible. My advice is to build your online presence up, one step at a time and at a pace so you feel you are mastering the process. Rome was not built in a day. Thank you Blake, for an interesting article:) My recent post Backlinks, The Key To Succeed As An Online Marketer

Tory McBroom
Tory McBroom

There's a local business I was friends with on FB that would get in political arguments with it's fans! lol Blew my mind how they were even still in business. My recent post Is Your Email List Non-Responsive? Wake Them Up With This…

Sunny
Sunny

Hey. I personally dont think businesses should cover all platforms. They should have a presence everywhere BUT they should concentrate their efforts on one of two. Being a small business it is hard to connect with users everywhere. Most of my meaningful conversations happen on Facebook as I simply dont have time to be everywhere. It's often just not feasible to do everything

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