This article highlights 5 rules to keep in mind when setting up social media for a small business or a startup, in other words - Do’s and Dont's of Social Media Marketing.
If you are a small business or a start up, you know all about the buzz of using social media. However, social media is not as simple as creating fan pages for your products. Different social media platforms have their pros and cons and must be used in certain ways. These are the five things you need to keep in mind when thinking about using social media for your small business.
1. DO NOT assume social media is free
There is a general misconception that social media is free, because all you need to do is register an email and sign up to each media channel. However, to use social media successfully, you must put in energy and time by constantly monitoring and optimizing. There should also be a budget set for social media advertising, such as Facebook ads or promoted tweets, because these will help amplify the reach of your social media opportunities.
2. DO NOT generalise your audience
If you are simply planning to reach a large audience, opening a Facebook page because it is the largest social media platform is not a good idea. Each social media channel appeals to a different audience with certain demographics, interests and behaviors. For example, LinkedIn is more suitable for B2B, while the majority of Pinterest users are females, who focus on ecommerce and travel sectors. You need to do your homework and have a detailed understanding about your buyer’s persona, so you can better plan which channel is most suitable for engaging the right audience.
3. DO NOT use all the channels independently
Once you have defined the specific channels you want to focus on, prepare an integrated plan to spread your message across them. Focus on your goal, whether it being lead generation, driving traffic to the website, or brand awareness. From there, plan your engagement strategy across the selected social media channels.
4. DO NOT post sporadically
Make sure you have a game plan on how you are going to reach your target audience and at what time. You can easily identify the best times of the day and week when your posts are most engaged, by using tools such as SocialBro for Twitter analytics. You can also experiment with automating your posts across different channels at different times of the day with Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. However, generally, try to be consistent with your posts. For example:
- Twitter posts every 2 hours + monitoring and engagement
- Facebook and Pinterest posts 1-2 each day
- LinkedIn and SlideShare posts 2-3 weekly
- Google Plus posts 2-3 weekly + 1/day in target groups
5. DO NOT be passive with your audience
Do not use Social media as one-way communication, by limiting your posts simply to special offers and promotions. Instead, try to engage with your audience by replying to comments, retweets, new followers and mentions. Let there be a two-way interaction between your business and your target audience.
These are some general do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. This list is by far not exhaustive and there are further strategies for each social media channel. With this mini guide, you are off to a good start in using social media marketing to improve your small business.
What other guidelines do you apply which are not highlighted above? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.