For small businesses, getting started on social media may be daunting. With dozens of outlets and billions of users throughout the world, social media can seem very overwhelming. If done well however, social media has the power to enhance relationships with current customers and drive new ones. So, whether you’re just getting started, or have been in the social media sphere for years, it is important for small businesses everywhere to remember these simple steps.

1. Engage: Don't talk at your customers, talk with them.

Sometimes businesses use social media to push agendas rather than engage with customers. To grow your fan base and be successful on social media, remember to facilitate conversation as you would in person. You wouldn’t tell your customer about every coupon or deal you’re running over the two months while you’re face to face, right? So don’t do it on social media. Instead, share interesting material, give calls to actions, and ask questions! Not only will you get much more likes and comments, but you will maintain and strengthen customer relationships!

2. Respond

Ever try to contact a company with a complaint, concern or even a nice comment and never hear back? Frustrating, right? Surprise your customers and respond to all their comments, even the bad ones! Though that might seem time consuming, the more frequently you respond on social media, the more credible you will become. Take at least 15 minutes each day and respond to your customers’ Facebook comments and tweets. Be personable, be transparent, and reach out to as many people as possible. Thank your customers and fans for their responses, address issues publicly, showcase your gratefulness for their loyalty, and watch the fans pour in.




3. Give free gifts:

It’s simple: everyone loves free stuff. Periodically, use social media to give your fans some perks. If you have local dentist practice, give away free whitening strips to the first 5 customers who retweet you. If you run a local pizza shop, give a complimentary small pizza if they like you on Facebook. These small gestures will go a long way in growing and maintaining a loyal fan base.




4. Share Visuals: Everyone loves pictures and videos!

Social media is becoming increasingly more visual. Just look at the growing success of InstagramSnapchat, and Vine in the past months! As a small business, use this visual trend to your advantage! Take a picture of your staff hard at work, or a video customer enjoying your product and post it to Facebook.  It’s that simple! Pictures not only make for great content, but also personalize your pages. When a customer scrolls through his or her newsfeed, they are more likely to like or comment on with a picture video of your product or service, than just plain text. Remember: show, don’t tell your customers how great your business is!

5. Be yourself.

Last but certainly not least, just be you. Unlike traditional marketing or advertising, social media allows you to exhibit your company’s personality to the masses and customers love connecting with personable brands. Depending on your business, find ways to showcase your business. Tell jokes, share insight, ask honest questions, and be true to your company’s culture. Your fans will appreciate your authenticity.

What are your tips for social media success? Have any of these worked for your brand?


By: Meg Riedinger

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