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Social media for small businesses – part 3 – Tips & tricks for a good start

Be inspiredby Johan28/09/2015

From the previous articles you have a good idea of why you should use social media and which ones are most suitable for you. So you’re ready to dive in… but what do you need to look out for?
We’ve listed a couple of tips & tricks for social starters.
  • Easy does it
    Start with a single social media channel. If you’re a butcher, shopkeeper,… and work primarily with individual customers, then Facebook is probably the best channel for you. If you’re a consultant, accountant and work mostly in B2B, LinkedIn or Twitter should be more to your liking.
  • Look, read, learn, …
    Have a look round and see what your competitors are doing, or other companies or merchants that you know. How do their customers respond? What works for them and what doesn’t?
  • No need for first-time-right
    Take your time to try out different things, talk to customers, get their feedback, see what works and what doesn’t listen and learn what they expect from you.
  • Be human
    Don’t be too formal or loose all of a sudden. Your customers are real people, even when they’re online! Talk to them like you would if you met them offline.
  • Whoopsie
    Everyone makes mistakes. That’s only human. Better still: it makes you human. And it gives you a chance to put things straight.
  • What’s it all about
    You don’t have to start off with a full mediaplan for all your tweets and posts (but if you have a lot to share, that might come in handy.) Do make sure that you post regularly: a news item, a tip, a promotion… If you don’t, you’ll very quickly start to lose your audience.
  • Perception = reality
    You might notice once in a while that your fast update or comment is misinterpreted by your audience. Readers will believe what they see, no matter how hard you try to straighten things out afterwards. Be careful what you write and how you write it.
  • Add something
    Millions and millions of words are written and communicated every day. If you want yours to be read and heard as well, make sure they offer and add something for your customers.
  • If in doubt: stop!
    Suppose you’ve just written a post but you’re not quite sure if it’s OK: hold before publishing. Do something else. Take a walk. Get a second opinion. Then get back behind your computer and reread what you just wrote. Are you sure it’s something you want to share with the whole world?
  • Don’t write anything…
    that is libellous, derogatory, inflammatory, racist, sexist or any other –ist. Use your imagination. If it’s something you wouldn’t like others to say about you or your business, don’t say it about them.

Getting fans and followers,…

Being present (and active) on Facebook, Twitter, etc. is obviously a good start. But how do you get people to follow and like you?

  • Advertise
    Promote your social media channels on your own web site, in your emails, through flyers or posters in your shop or offices. And why not do a small promotional activity to celebrate your social media launch?
  • Follow and be followed
    Follow other people that have interesting topics to share. If you feel you can add something to the discussion, don’t hesitate to do so. You’ll see your number of followers increasing rapidly.
  • Keywords and hashtags
    Many users follow certain keywords and hashtag (i.e.: #Imfollowingthis). See which ones could be interesting for you, follow them and be certain to share an opinion once in a while.
  • Steady as she goes
    Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t found 1,000 new followers by the end of the first week. It takes time. Especially on channels such as LinkedIn.

Supertip: can’t find the time to get behind your PC for the next update? Why not invest in a good smartphone. After all, there is no social media channel in the world that can’t be viewed and updated with a smartphone app.
Take a snapshot, add a line of text and your next post is ready. Especially with an app like Instagram, which doesn’t only let you take amazing pictures, but also lets you share them on your social media channels for all your followers to see.

Next time: how to deal with negative comments



Proximus-writer and small entrepreneur.

Proximus-writer and small entrepreneur.

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