Social Media Tips For Small Business Owners

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We asked some of the SteamFeed authors to answer the following question: If you could give one or two pieces of advice to a small business owner who just signed up for their first social media account today, what would it be?

Here’s what they answered:

 

Carrie Keenan (@carrieatthill):

1. Learn a bit about the “rules and norms” of the social channel you are joining. (No hashtags or #FF on Facebook etc). Once you have an idea – jump in!

2. Take the time to grow & nurture relationships with people. Don’t use social media as a billboard, it is about the people. Find and build your community.

 

Mallie Hart (@themediabarista):

Begin as you hope to continue. It’s easy to go gangbusters as you’re starting out, but it can be hard to maintain the momentum. Social marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Pacing yourself is key to success, as it’s easy to get burnt out. Successful social presence and sharing requires research, reading and response. Only have time to research and read the content that will become one or two good posts per day, as well as carve out the time to respond to any questions or comments those posts might create? That’s fine, as long as you can maintain that going forward.

 

“Engage but don’t overdo it! Be genuine!”

 

Albert Qian (@albertqian):

1. Figure out what your goals are. Nothing is worse than being on social media without a goal.

2. Make time to engage with your audience. Audience is not just your customers through the door, but also those whom talk to you online! You can miss valuable opportunities by not speaking to your online audience.

 

Keri Jaehnig (@connectyou):

1.  Many people hop onto social media and feel like, “Okay, now, what do I do with this digital thing?”  If you boil it down, social media is just the opportunity to put “old time” business and customer service tactics back into place via modern technology.  We’re no longer just websites online.  You can put a face to your brand, and offer more personal attention than we have been used to doing for a number of years.  We can just reach more people with the power of the social platforms and the way they work.

REMEMBER: It’s not about you — It’s about them.  If you want people to react to your social media efforts, find a way to put your fans and followers in the spotlight; find a way to feature your customer.  If all of your messaging is broadcasting sales & marketing about your brand, those you are trying to attract will tune you out.

2. Resist the temptation to click those buttons and connect your Facebook and Twitter.  While you’ll think you would be saving time by posting to both at the same time, each network is different.  Facebook users don’t typically take to “Twitter-ese.”  And Twitter users don’t typically click on Facebook links in their tweet stream.  Find other ways of creating efficiency and appreciate each network for it’s unique ability to forward your brand.

 

David Schwartz (@brand_education):

The first thing that I would do is congratulate the small business owner on jumping into the exciting world of social media. I would encourage them to take time to learn the format, depending upon the social network, the communication can feel like learning a foreign language. Don’t get discouraged, social media success does not come over night, remember it is a marathon not a sprint.
Once they familiarize themselves with the medium, strategize a plan of attack. How do they want to use the social network?
  • Customer Service
  • Relationship Building
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Build Awareness

Once they create a plan; set goals, track growth and activity. Analyze the results and re-set goals and adjust the strategy. Be flexible, have fun and engage with the most wonderful vehicle created for company and customer interaction.

 

Daniel Hebert (@danielghebert):

1. Make sure that your profile is 100 percent complete. Update your descriptions/bio, add links to your website, update your profile pictures, etc. Make sure that your audience knows exactly who you are, and what you do. This will make it a lot easier for your fans to engage with you.

2. Protect your brand identity throughout all platforms. Reserve your brand name on different social networks (even if you’re not necessarily using it). Use a tool like KnowEm to quickly check if your brand name is available on all of the popular networks.

 

What advice would you give to a small business owner that is just getting started in social media? Please leave a comment below!

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DJ Thistle
D.J. Thistle is a co-founder of SteamFeed, a blog that focuses on the latest trends in social media, technology, and marketing. His passion in technology is only rivaled by his desire to connect with others through social media. He has been a featured speaker multiple times on how to get started in social media at various wine industry events. He has spent the last 9 years teaching in public and private schools in Massachusetts and California. He is happily married and enjoys every moment of raising his beautiful daughter.
DJ Thistle

@djthistle

I'm a husband, father, educator, geek, bookworm, stock market enthusiast, and some would call me an Apple fanboy. Co-Founder of @SteamFeedCom
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Comments

  1. Great tips all! Thanks for participating. :)

  2. Excellent advice guys. To paraphrase Albert, you can't choose your tools until you know what you're building.

  3. This is all amazing advice. If I could add my 2 cents it would be:

    1) Don't be scared! Just remember that these social media platforms were designed and built with the general user in mind. Meaning Facebook, Twitter, etc, wouldn't have been as adopted as it now is if the platform was too confusing for new users to sign up and interact with. Many of these sites have their own built in walk throughs when you first sign up too! Your clientele was able to pick it up, and they're there waiting for you!

    2) Make sure your profile is 100% complete (just as Daniel stated above) and no profile is complete without visual elements. So add captions on photos, and descriptions on albums. (specifically Facebook, or Google Plus) to better engage your audience and prompt them to continue browsing through all of your photos. (Aka keeping them on your page longer!)

  4. Love it all! Sorry I couldn't get my advice to you in time! If I could add anything, similar to Jacob, I'd say "be fearless!" It can be intimidating to start randomly talking with people but if you're honestly excited to meet and find out about them they will love it and detect your excitement. My grandfather also passed down advice that my dad taught me: "Always ask questions. People like that."

    • I love your grandfather's advice Anne. Thanks for taking the time to comment and we'll definitely get you involved on the next one! :)

  5. Good post DJ and as a constant learner, insightful and helpful advise from all! …. I will add one more nugget to my contribution and that is–> Listen.

  6. Great advise from everyone- including the commentary contributions! I particularly agree with Randy's addition to the list (LISTEN), because If we are not actively listening, we cannot effectively engage. If I were to add to this already awesome list, I might suggest consistency of voice; i.e., participate(speak) in social media in a voice that is consistent with your brand and relevant to your customers.

  7. Really great suggestions here and I'll add my 0.02 worth: listen, engage and respond. When you do this, you are sure to add value. The consumer is looking for real answers to challenges they have, so through offering valuable content you are helping real people and contributing good to the world! It's not about you, rather it's about how you can HELP. :)

  8. Excellent advice. This is a frequent topic, and is beneficial especially because there are so many new business owners starting Twitter, and it can get a bit overwhelming.

  9. ideagirlmedia says:

    DJ, this is a great collection of answers — A good resource for any small business owner! Nice job – Thanks for making this available!! :D

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  1. [...] We asked some of the SteamFeed authors to answer the following question: If you could give one or two pieces of advice to a small business owner who just signed up for their first social media account today, what would it be?  [...]

  2. [...] We asked some of the SteamFeed authors to answer the following question: If you could give one or two pieces of advice to a small business owner who just signed up for their first social media account today, what would it be?  [...]

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