Social Media for Business: 5 Common Questions and Expert Tips to Clear Up the Confusion

By now most everyone has a pretty good idea of what social media is. However, differentiating what your kids do on Facebook and what you should do as a business owner to increase profits using social media can be a bit more confusing. Your success in enforcing your brand and attracting new clients using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn depends on two factors: Value and Consistency, but there’s more to the puzzle.

Today we live in an urgent world. We want everything fast, from food to information, patience is at a premium. Information is taken in by most people using millisecond bites, and information moves quickly. To be successful in social media venues, it is important to keep this in mind, since you only have a sentence or two to grab your prospect’s attention and real them in. Social media outlets are ideal for this purpose.

1. Provide Value

Remember that the only one who really cares that you washed the dog today is the dog. Don’t overload your “Friends” and “Followers” with trivial information, especially when promoting your business. Providing value to your readers can be as simple as inviting them to an event, then sending them a reminder or posting about new products in your store, services you now offer or deals in your restaurant. If you’re into blogging and writing other articles and content, post a link to your latest writing to draw them in.

2. Be Consistent

Back in the urgent world, where everything is taken in quickly, people will also forget about your business just as quickly if you don’t keep reminding them that you’re around. This is especially true in today’s economy, as many businesses go under and disappear quickly. Stay on the regular radar of your prospects, and when they need what you offer, they will think of you. You should not drop the bar you set. If you usually post once per week, keep it up. If you post several times each day, that’s great too, as long as your content is perceived as valuable by your potential buyers, they will appreciate the regular contact.

3. How often should I post?

The answer to this one is easy: When you have something to share that is of value to your readers. If your company hosts events several times each month, then by all means promote them. If you’re always running sales and specials in your store, let people know. If there is event news, post it. In other words, some businesses may post every day or several times each day, while for others twice a week is more comfortable given what they have to offer.

4. Business is Personal

As a business owner, you know keeping your personal and business finances completely separate is key in keeping your accountant and the IRS happy. The same is not true for social media. On Facebook, business is personal, meaning you must have a personal profile page in place prior to creating a business page. That doesn’t mean you have to use it – you just have to have it. A personal page can actually help your business in that your clients and prospects can see who is behind the business. We all like to do business with people versus corporations, so let your personality out a bit, and let them know you’re real. That said, as with anything published about you on the internet, if people are looking for it, they will find it if it’s there to see. Keep that in mind when making personal posts. Make sure you let your personality come through but think twice prior to posting anything you wouldn’t want your customers to see.

5. Which social media sites should I use?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, FourSquare… the list is endless and can be extremely overwhelming. The fact is, each social networking site has its own purpose for businesses to connect to their customers, though they do overlap. Twitter is for sending out really short messages, often with a link to more content. LinkedIn is a site geared more toward professional people and can be a great resource for referrals and direct connections depending on your business. Facebook is more all-purpose, and there is a lot of social interaction that is far from business related, but building personal relationships is akin to building your business.

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