Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5 Engage Your Audience

Once you’ve determined where they are, how do you engage your audience? Here are some DO’s and DONT’s for the “Big Three,” Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.

Engage Your Audience

In social media, marketers often forget Rule #1 – It’s social. In traditional advertising, it is a “Push” medium. Meaning, commercials on television or the radio interrupt what you are doing to send you a message. In social media, it is a “Pull” medium. People seek out the info they want or need and often rely upon trusted or respected sources to help make their consumer choice. That could mean asking a friend, posting a question on a message board, reviewing comments on a blog or reading an article from a trusted source.

So, how do you provide them the information they are seeking?

 

FACEBOOK DO’S & DON’T’S

DO:

 

  • Inform – This is where you can talk about fun or interesting things going on with you or your business. Or, give tips or helpful advice related to your industry.
  • Post Regularly – Fans will periodically check in to see what you are up to. If they get the same info as before and you have neglected to update, they will neglect to come back.
  • Upload photos! Business Insider published an article on 16 Heatmaps That Reveal Exactly Where People Look. As you can see here in this facebook heatmap, photos get the most eyeballs.

DON’T:

  • Broadcast – This is not the place to announce promotions and sales. Rule of thumb: If it requires your follower to spend money, don’t mention it here.
  • Ignore your Fans – If someone takes the time to post something on your site, take the time to acknowledge it. Nothing turns a passive customer into a promoter faster than feeling acknowledged. Likewise, nothing turns a detractor into a passive faster than a quick fix of a problem or an apology.
  • Violate Facebook Policy – Read the terms and be sure you are abiding. Common mistakes are running contests and tagging people in an image without their permission. You could get reported.

Obviously, if you haven’t already created a business facebook page, you ought to consider starting one. Here are some tips to make yours successful:

  1. Check for URL Availability. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is use a free service called Name Vine http://namevine.com/ – just type in your company name and see what is available and what is taken
  2. If you have a Facebook page already, get a free anaylsis by Edgerank Checker. They will review your page and tell you what keywords drive your audience the most, what day of the week and time of day get you the best response and what type of media best suits your audience.
  3. Use Facebook Insights to review and export data. See which status updates perform best, what your audience responds to, why you are getting likes and so on.

TWITTER DO’S & DON’T’S

DO:

 

  • Provide information relevant to your audience. If you are a restaurant, mention your specials. If you are a real estate company, announce unique listings. If you are a retail store, announce “Twitter only” special deals, and so on.
  • Have a real person represent your business. It is all about developing relationships.
  • Use hashtags # before keywords to help others find what you are tweeting

DON’T:

  • Set an auto-follow thank you message, as it comes across as impersonal.
  • Tweet an emotional response. Think twice before responding. Even if you delete your comment, it still may exist online.
  • Forget to pay attention. People may be using Twitter to ask you questions. Again, it is about building relationships and you don’t want anyone to feel ignored.

LINKEDIN COMPANY PAGE DO’S & DON’T’S

DO:

 

  • Create a strong personal profile for yourself and ask your employees to do the same (make sure you get 100% completed).
  • Create a company page and use all four tabs: Overview, Employees, Product Pages and Statistics.
  • Post recommendations. You can tell everyone in the world how great you, your company or product is. But nothing beats having others say it for you.
  • Update your status a few times per week. Keep it professional, not personal.
  • Join and be active in LinkedIn groups. This is a great way to participate in communities with people with similar interests – you can join up to 50 groups so, take advantage and join 50 that make sense.

DON’T:

  • Use LinkedIn to discuss personal topics. While Facebook may be perfectly appropriate to post your manager had a baby, stick with business on LinkedIn.
  • Turn down or ignore requests to connect. As a public entity, you don’t want to offend someone who says they want to follow you.

 

Wherever you are on social media, the main objective is to direct them back to your home site. While your social networks are for informing and interacting, your website is where you can really promote.

For Tips on Making Your Website Better, Blogging and Pay-Per-Click, read Part 5B Engage Your Audience.

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