So you have started a Facebook page for your small business or not for profit organisation, but now what do you do? It is simply not enough to just create a social media page, it has to be monitored and maintained by the business to achieve the full potential social media offers.
How can small businesses use social media to promote their organisation?
Social media is a great tool to promote your small business and best of all it’s normally free (except for your time)! But,it is a patience game. Like Rachael Hunter use to say “it won’t happen over night, but it will happen”.
Social media is a great place to build customer loyalty, answer customer service questions, promote new products and build a community of follows. All of which take time and patience. But how many do you use and what ones? There are so many different social media sites available these days that it would be a full time job to try to keep up with them all. Something that most small businesses cannot afford. I won’t go over them all (because there are just too many) but I will break down the three of the most popular sites:
Facebook – Still the most popular social media website, its a great place to keep customers up to date with the in’s and outs of your organisation. Take SPCA Auckland for example, weekly they post photos of their animals available for adoption to help boost the animals profile and chance of adoption. It is recommended to post frequently to keep in mind the front of your customers minds. See this webinar (web seminar) for more information about how to build your presence of Facebook.
LinkedIn – Want to connect to other professionals in a similar area? Looking for new suppliers or customers? Stuck on something and need advise from like minded people? Join in the on discussion on a forum. Or are you looking to employ someone? Advertise on LinkIn and you can see the applicants work history and experience (like an online CV). LinkedIn is the site for professionals to connect with professionals.
Twitter – A website where you can send microblog (short messages) called tweets. It has very similar features as Facebook. You can link your tweets to photos, videos, webpages or other social networking sites to direct your followers where you please.
But are there risks?
This biggest risk to businesses who engage with social media is to their reputation. With the world going viral it’s even harder for businesses these days to stop bad publicity. If a customer has a bad experience they can immediately send out a tweet or status update, tagging you company and spreading it viral in seconds. Ensure all social media activity is being managed by an appropriate staff member. If you do get bad publicity it must be acted upon quickly so that it does not spiral out of control and damage your brand.
Once you join social media you have to BE on social media. Not engaging in customer comments, whether good or bad, is terrible customer service and can damage your brand. Social media must be engaged daily to ensure customer satisfaction. You wouldn’t let your office phone ring for days without answering it, nor should you leave you social media.
Employee’s can also be another serious risk and who looks after your social media accounts. If top management is not the one activity communicating on social media, they need to assign the responsibility to a trusted employee. A negative comment posted by a disgruntled employee can cause serious damage to your business reputation.
So tell me:
Does your company currently use social media?
What types of social media do you use?
Are you finding it successful?
I look forward to your comments below.
Until next time,