Social media may have a low cost of entry—but it’s not easy to do well.
Small businesses are struggling to adopt social media, according to a report by eMarketer, which reports that only 24% of small companies have integrated social media in a structured way into their operations.
Knowing where to start is perhaps the No. 1 obstacle. Knowing what to do when you get there is a close second.
Whether you are new to social media or looking to improve your efforts, here are 10 ways to make your social media activities rock.
1. Pick the site(s) that works for you
New social media sites spring forth almost weekly, and it’s easy to become distracted or lost in the speed of change. So where to focus your efforts?
Erica Ayotte, social media manager with Constant Contact, advises companies to start with one channel and then diversify.
“Spend a little time each week exploring new platforms and figure out if they might be for you,” she advises.
2. Share interesting and visual content
This is one area that really does take time. What’s interesting, anyway?
Start with the basics. If you have something newsworthy to share (i.e., something that impacts your customers directly) then go ahead and share it—things like holiday opening times, new offices, charity events, etc.
Then, share something you do well that will help you stand out in a crowd: blogs, white papers, tips, or quick “how to” videos hosted on YouTube or Hulu. Use social media to amplify it.
Feel free to share content from others (without breaking copyright) if it is relevant to your fans. And don’t be afraid to ask people what content they want you to share.
Great content drives engagement and grows social communities, but equally important is the art of listening. Think of social media as a form of conversation—a two-way dialogue.
If you’re not prepared to listen to what is being said to you, about you, or with you, then you simply aren’t “being social.”
In addition to listening to your customers, carve out time to listen to influencers in your business, to your competitors, and to those who can help you perfect your social media strategy—Hubspot, Mari Smith, and Social Media Today to name a few.
4. Be authentic
Again, be social. Drop the corporate marketing speak; people like dealing with people.
So don’t be afraid to loosen up a little and when responding to problems or complaints, and sign off with your first name.
NEXT: Foster fan-to-fan engagement