Any small business can pop up a Facebook page and send out a few Tweets every day. But it isn’t technical know-how that sells products and wins repeat customers. That’s where knowing a few key backdoor secrets to succeeding with social media comes in to play.
Secret Number 1: Articulate Why You Are Unique
As a small business owner you must ask yourself, “What makes your business unique?” Do you sell an exceptional product? Do you provide a service that no one else in your area provides? Maybe it’s your fast turn around time or incredibly low prices? No matter what the specific answer is you need to know what sets you and your business apart from the competition and you need to be ready to hype up these outstanding qualities on the stage of social media.
You see, there are customers out there searching for you on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter – and today, more than ever, you need to be there when they look.
Secret Number 2: Decide What You Want to Accomplish
Now that you’ve found what makes you unique the next question is; why are you dabbling in social media anyway? Are you doing it because everybody else is doing it? Well, that’s not a good enough answer. Instead, you need to set goals. Whether you simply want more sales (and who doesn’t?), want brand recognition in your city, state or region, or want to be featured on the cover of a national magazine,
Set concrete goals and then do five things every day to make those things happen
Here’s an example of a few things you could do to get things going:
- Write a thoughtful comment on a favorite industry journalist’s news article
- Retweet an important bit of local news
- Ask a customer to write you a glowing testimonial
- Find 10 places to publicize your online store’s current sale
Sure, those steps might seem like a drop in the bucket, but you must begin to take concrete steps each day to increase your social media presence. You need to do things like this daily and you need to stay consistent.
The phrase “start as you mean to go on” has never mattered more than in social media. There’s nothing worse than, for example, starting out with a strong Facebook presence with many interesting and informative daily posts then running out of steam and not posting again for a couple of weeks. This could mean your business is going strong and you have lots of other things to attend to, but to your community of fans it will look like you disappeared into the ether. That’s no good.
Secret Number 3: Listen, Listen, Listen
One of the most important things a small business can do over social media is to listen – Follow your customers and potential customers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp.com, forums, blogs – wherever they hang out on the web, you should hang out there too. What do they like? What are their concerns? And don’t worry if they’re not talking directly about your business (yet!), you can still gather a mountain of intelligence just from listening and finding common denominators between you and your customers.
Because consistency is key in social media, start small, with more listening than doing and you can eventually increase your social media presence to a sustainable level.
Anybody can send a Tweet or post a funny picture on their Facebook page. It’s these behind-the-scenes strategies that lead to social media success.
About Outright: Outright was founded in 2008 by Kevin Reeth and Ben Curren, themselves web development entrepreneurs who started building their own software to easily track income and expenses online, and quickly realized the 24 million other sole proprietors out there would kill for such a simple, automated tool.
For more information about Outright, visit www.outright.com.