Monday, 30 June 2014 17:00

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Social Media

Whether you’re preparing to launch your small business or have been open to customers for years, it’s never too late to get started with social media!

This post will focus on quick and cost-effective ways to use social media to help customers learn about you, monitor conversations about your company, track reviews and comments, and improve your business.

1. Control your digital footprint and help customers find you.

Make sure your business is easily found online and that all of your key information is up to date by setting up your business on Yelp, Facebook, and Foursquare. These networks allow customers to share information, tips, and reviews about businesses and to share where they are with their friends.

Even businesses without a brick-and-mortar location can benefit from claiming their brand names online. Make sure to add a well-written description that includes keywords people may use to describe your business, like ‘brunch,’ or ‘web development.’ Users who search for these keywords may find your business this way.

2. Share your company’s unique viewpoints and stories.

While social media won’t replace face-to-face interactions at your business, you have many opportunities to share your company’s story with prospective and current customers before that first visit.

Think about what makes your company’s services or products special and how you can share that online in a way that can educate, inspire, or intrigue your reader. Is your signature dish based on a multi-generational recipe? Or do you have tips for DIY stain removal that are fail-proof?

Once you’ve posted your content, make sure to check on how it’s performing. Are people liking, commenting on, or sharing it? Learning about what your audience likes and dislikes can guide future content and how your company represents itself.

3. Monitor online conversations and find company mentions.

Social monitoring can help you find customers looking for help or talking about your company.

You can search Twitter for keywords that are related to your product or service. If you run a local business, you’ll really like advanced Twitter search, which enables you to search for public posts near you. It can also help you find posts that mention your business’ name (‘My Restaurant’) without using your business’ Twitter username (‘@myrestaurant’). And both versions of Twitter search will work even if you don’t have a Twitter account.

You can also search Facebook for mentions of your company or non-branded products, but you’ll only see posts that are publicly shared. Most Facebook posts are shared with friends only, so you may not see as many on this channel.

4. Track your business’ reviews and check-ins.

Set aside some time to check your company’s Yelp, Foursquare, and Google Places reviews and tips on a regular basis. While you can’t delete reviews, even if you disagree with the content, you can always publicly respond to a Yelp or Google Places review. In addition to a public response, you may also want to reach out to the reviewer via private message.

5. Learn from customers’ opinions and improve your services and business.

Use the information that you’ve gleaned from social media monitoring and business reviews to improve or change aspects of your business — at your discretion, of course. While rushing into major changes should be avoided, social media feedback can provide a different point of view that you’re missing.

You may want to get more information about customers’ perspectives by reaching out to them directly. Remember, though, that the best social media conversations — especially if the author did not directly notify you by including your username — should be similar to a face-to-face conversation. Be polite and courteous; build a relationship before jumping right into selling or promoting your product, especially if you’re responding to a criticism.

Are you using social media in your small business?

Have a question about how to start or what you’ve just read? Let us know about your experiences by leaving a comment!

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Jaime Nacach

Marketing Strategist

I love helping small businesses with their digital marketing and business strategy. I'm a young man with a passion in entrepreneurship and international experience in business development, marketing, sales, and web/graphic design. 

Find me on: Team Page | LinkedIn | Google+Personal Website

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