Today, we asked @yellbusiness followers on Twitter and Yell Business fans on Facebook what their advice would be for a new business just starting out on with social networks, or thinking about signing up.
Here’s what they said…
Try to have a least one Twitter conversation per day. Doesn’t need to take long.
Proofread your tweets. Even in 140 characters it’s ossible to make silly mistakes.
Keep your profile pic distinctive. Many people see it on a small screen, such as a smartphone.
Don’t use auto tweets, unless you’re there & ready to answer when someone replies! Otherwise, you’ll look a bit silly.
Keep tweets short & sweet, that’s what twitter is designed for. Writing essays into a “twit longer” website is often ignored!
Stay on the topic of your business. Nobody wants to see a business account tweet thoughts on Eastenders or the latest football match.
Keep the content fresh and decide on your ratio of biz to fun and stick to it. Overtweet = #losefollowers
…and last but by absolutely no means least
Have fun with it!
The 2 main mistakes I see being made:
- Trying to sell right away. Don’t do it. Social media is about being social, engaging your community and user base. People are very unlikely to buy from a brand they haven’t heard of before – so you need to invest the time into building trust and relationships first.
- On a similar note to that, things don’t magically go viral and your social profiles don’t take care of themselves. They require consistent effort and grafting. Yes your content can go viral, but you need a fairly loyal and responsive fan base before that happens. It’s not a magic overnight process, you need to be willing to put in time.
Nikhil Sharma (@HipHopInformant on Twitter)
Businesses need to understand what Social Media is right for them. Not all businesses will find their audience via Facebook. A lot of businesses see that other places are taking advantage of Facebook so they think that it would be good for them to join and start using it, but it can be a big mistake if you don’t understand your user and understand what Social media platforms will help you the most and are relevant to your business.
That also goes for Bloggers too, build a relationship and be “Social” as the name suggests.
Interacting with others is the key. You need to get to know people, comment on Facebook posts and reply to tweets. You can’t just go in for the hard sell, people won’t buy into it. You need to be professional and personal at the the same time.
Easiest way is to always remember ‘People buy from People’. Don’t use automated tweets & replies. Listen to what your customers are saying, understand them, adapt and engage.
Companies should learn from the experts who are already established with Social Media, which means you can learn from them without reinventing the wheel. Spending some time looking at social media campaigns or discussions that appeal to you can help in the long run.
However, this does not mean you copy what successful brands and companies are doing as what is effective for them may not be effective for you.
What you can do is learn from them and tailor their successes to your own needs, goals and customers. But looking at other businesses will give you an idea as to how to reach your own audience. Remember with over 850 million Facebook users worldwide, your audience is already there, you just need to reach them 🙂
Ask yourself who your audience is, and where they are likely to be. Empathise. Ask yourself what your customers want and then think how you can give it to them.
And do as much as you can yourself for free while you are starting out with very little money. Get independent impartial advice.
If you are operating business to business, find networking groups so you can network with real people in the real world, and back that up with networking online. Play the long game and don’t expect instant results, but you will get solid results in the end.
Thank you very much to all who contributed – hopefully this will give fellow small business owners some pointers when it comes to using social media to promote their business.