Many businesses contact me at BrightonMums.com through Facebook and Twitter to access our parent network of followers. Which is great, as it helps us keep up to date on local enterprise and offers for customers. But many of the messages come across confused and sometimes a little rude.
Social media presents a huge opportunity for smaller locally based business. It’s low cost in terms of investment, although requires a bit of time to prepare content and network with other users. But as small businesses are geographically closer to their customers, they can connect through shared experience of the local areas, creating content that is instantaneous and current.
I have worked with various companies, large and small, offering training and content strategy to harness the power of social media to support their business goals. I get most excited when working with small companies and niche offerings because of the huge potential.
Here are a few of the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for local business to achieve social networking success:
1. Network on social media platforms as if you’re networking a room. You wouldn’t approach someone at a business networking event, tell them what special offers you have on at the moment, then walk off! Be polite, introduce yourself, be clear why your message may be of interest to that person and their followers.
2. Know your audience. Before you tag someone, make sure you read that persons profile, blog or any other public content they produce and share. Understand their interests and motivations. Check your analytics at least monthly to see who is reading, clicking and commenting and when.
3. Read, favourite and share or retweet content from others. Comment on their posts in a professional, relevant way but show that your business has a personality and takes interest in their potential customers.
4. Don’t spam. Repeatedly tagging on Twitter or posting on a Facebook page wall without interacting or at least reciprocating a share or retweet is spam. Cultivate a common connection through shared experience relative to your business or organisation. You are most likely to imprint your business in their memory, given the thousands of messages we read on social media each week.
5. Acknowledge your followers. Thank and welcome them to your feed privately or publicly. Respond to any messages within 24 hours where possible and if appropriate.
6. Focus on your content. Make it relevant, engaging with vital marketing information but also posts that will enhance readers’ lives. Think of the busy parent, looking for life hack ideas or activities for families and what your business can offer. Remember that images and video are often shared much more than plain text with web links.
We LOVE our organically grown social media network, built through hours of targeted engagement by our own hand (not promoted posts!). We have a relative high level of engagement, meaning we’ve attracted quality followers who connect with our message.