It can be hard to imagine a world where social media wasn’t at the heart of our world. Even though it’s pervasive in modern society, many people still haven’t realized how useful it is for growing small businesses. If used properly, your social media accounts can dramatically grow your base of followers, thus increasing your potential customer base and help your business expand. But you must do the following things.
1. Be authentic.
There is a trend in business where so many people think that they need to be completely polished and fake at all times. However, social media has changed this for so many professionals. With social media accounts, you have the opportunity to be a bit more of yourself, to let people in and to allow them to see the real, authentic, you. Being authentic on social media is mutually beneficial -- it forces you to create the best product possible, which means no half-baked ideas. It also gives you the opportunity to show just how great your product truly is.
2. Don’t bring up religion and politics. Stick to neutral subjects.
Unfortunately, many people today think that stirring up controversy is fun and that social media accounts are simply a soapbox for them to spew their opinions. However, what many business professionals don’t seem to realize is that doing this can hurt your company and your reputation. It’s a big world out there -- sooner or later, you’re going to run into a potential customer or business partner that has opposing views.
There’s absolutely no reason for you to bring up these subjects -- at best it will make your professional relationship uneasy and at worst can completely destroy the relationship, subsequently harming your business. Stick to safe topics like sports, hobbies, etc.
3. Be consistent.
Consistency is an important part of being a respectable professional in today’s business world, and it is something that is just as important when it comes to properly managing a social-media account. You shouldn’t be posting 40 times a day for six months straight and then disappear from the social media site for several months.
Remember: Sales aren’t built in a day. You need to get to know your customers instead of trying to win them on the spot. Consistency in your posting frequency and the type of material you post will help you attract the right customers.
4. Try a little bit of everything.
As a business owner, it is important to be flexible and to try a variety of different approaches until you find tactics that work with your target market of consumers. This not only means trying different social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Periscope, etc., but also different mediums of posting. Try videos, pictures, commentary, etc. Mix it up and see what people respond to the most.
5. Focus on long-term credibility.
Do not expect big money at first. Instead, focus on long-term credibility. Remember that credibility and reputation are built over time. Your biggest successes -- the ones that solidify you as a reputable source of information -- won't happen right away. In the meantime, you can actually adapt your products over time to make them best for customers. This will also teach you to be adaptable, as the tastes of your customers inevitably change.
6. Don’t be overly promotional.
A social-media account is not just an avenue to post ads. In business, it is important to remember that you need to find a balance between being genuine and doing your job and focusing on sales. You need to be a person, not just a sales machine. Do not be overly promotional with your social-media account, and don’t be overly promotional with your business. This doesn’t mean you should be afraid to have sales. Remember -- you are a business, not a charity. People will understand. It is all about balance.
7. Think about your posting times.
This is an important lesson for business pros to remember, whether it has to do with their social-media accounts, their phone calls or their blast emails. It is important to think before you post. Don’t post too late in Eastern Standard Time anywhere on the web. It will get lost in most people’s feeds by the morning and they won’t ever see your message. If you are going to take the time to use social media to your advantage and to post messages to your public, do it at a time where people will see it. Remember, one of the cardinal rules of business is timing is everything, and this old adage can even be applied to your social-media efforts.