Most small businesses simply do not have the bandwidth to be a good citizen online. The amount of effort it takes to do the right thing online across all social media platform can be extremely overwhelming for a small business. Often my small business friends ask me about the most useful or effective social media platform so that they can consider focusing on one instead of all — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to the name the major social platforms. Unfortunately, my short answer is: well, it depends on your customer! Here I will try to give a better explanation.
First, we must dispell the misconception that you have to hit all of the social media at full steam all the time! It is actually virtually impossible without spending a good amount of resources. If you are like most small businesses, you have scarce resources to aim at the social media.
Some businesses make the mistake of trying to be everywhere and stretch themselves too thin and do nothing but create noise online. Stop doing that!
So before I tell you what social media is right for your business, you need to know a golden rule of social media.
Don’t push. Listen first and then engage!
If you are new to the “business” of social media for business, you need to unlearn the traditional “push” marketing technique and instead focus on “engagement.” It is hard at first but it is very simple to learn.
Remember your customers get bombarded with thousands of ads every single day. Their attention is hard to get as there are too many distractions. So instead of pushing content for attention, find a way to engage them which means let them interact with you on social media so that you can serve them with meaningful engagements and micro services.
For example, say you have added a new support staff member named Jane to better serve your customer. Instead of posting a message on social media saying:
We strive to improve our businesses all the time and we have recently added more resources to our support team to better serve you in the future.
Say something like:
[A GREAT PROFESSIONAL PHOTO OF JANE] Meet Jane, she is our newest support team member. Let Jane know how she can help you with your support needs.
This is a more engaging way to make the same announcement. The latter is more personal and friendly. That is the method of taming social media madness.
Now back to the question of which social platform is best for your business. Well, it all depends on your customers. Ask yourself: where do my customers expect my business to available on the social media. If your answer points to a specific social platform, focus on that one!
For example, say you provide accounting or legal or other professional services to customers. It is very likely that your customers expect to see a professional LinkedIn profile of you or your business before they will consider hiring your services. This is why you will see most of the professional services including consultants focus heavily on LinkedIn over other social platforms.
Similarly, if you run a restaurant or bakery, your customers expect to see photos of delicious dishes or cakes on Instagram more than Twitter or even Facebook! So Instagram might be the best choice for businesses in the food service industry.
Now, what if your business is interested in reaching press and media on a regular basis because you have newsworthy stories to offer to the local or national or international media? In such a case having a healthy Twitter account is a must as media professionals search and monitor Twitter for stories.
Now a local bakery spending time on Twitter might be interesting but probably not the best use of their time. Instead, they should spend taking awesome pictures of their creations and create customer stories on Instagram instead.
So to summarize, focus on the social platform that your customers expect you to be on. Engage them by listening to them if they are already onboard. If you’re new and don’t have an audience yet, post engaging content and not boring PR. The olden days of boring PR is over. People are noise conscious. Create content that is personal and human-made. Do not rely heavily on bots and automation. Don’t underestimate your customers, they can sniff junk pretty fast and move away. Unleash your creativity and create original content that engages your audience!
Don’t hire article firms in far away land or use generic imagery to clutter your channels of engagement with your most important resource — your precious customers!
Let me know if this helped you or not!