Business Owners: 5 Ways to Thrive on Social Media
Each year, at my previous organization, we would recognize individual business owners who went above and beyond to help us spread our message on social media. Monitoring social media activity throughout the year and then honoring those who do it exceptionally well was a favorite part of my job.
These Social Media Ambassadors are also business owners who thoroughly understand the power of the media. They see how using it effectively (or ineffectively, for that matter) really can have an impact on the bottom line.
Social media is filled with opportunity for business owners. And folks who use it correctly are primed to capitalize, while those who don’t are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
If you want to give yourself an edge, here are five ways I believe you as a business owner can set yourself apart on social media.
1. Provide Exemplary Customer Service
This in my mind is far and away the most important step you can take to set yourself apart in business today—and it’s not exclusive to social media.
Be helpful, be considerate, and be the person who responds to comments or questions. If you have a Facebook business page, you can track how responsive you’re being (with private messages, at least).
I’m amazed at how many people let public comments hang there unacknowledged. While it might be fine for your personal social media, responding to comments or tweets demonstrates that you care about your audience and want to strengthen the relationship.
2. Develop a Social Media Game Plan
We’ve all been there. We log onto Facebook first thing in the morning (for me it’s actually Twitter) and before we know it, we’ve scrolled through 45 minutes worth of posts/tweets without really accomplishing anything productive.
You know the old saying “time is money”? Make sure the time you spend on social media is helping you achieve your overall business-related goal (which, let’s be honest, for most businesses involves money).
Bonus: Here’s a cheat sheet to help you get the most out of social media in 20 minutes a day.
3. Be Professional
Social media is an easy outlet to express your personal views (some say maybe too easy). But if you’re serious about using social media for business, I recommend you keep those views reserved for private conversations with existing friends.
When using social for business, you’re not only representing yourself, you’re also representing the larger brand and influencing whatever potential customers may be lurking.
Sure, it’s fine to have fun once in a while (all work and no play… well, you know) but recognize that the audience you’re trying to reach is likely more interested in developing a professional relationship with you.
4. Get to Know Your Audience
Think about the content you’re creating. Is it targeted to the audience you’re hoping to reach? If someone is exploring your product offerings, will they learn something new each time they come back?
Interact with your audience to find out what’s important to them. Learn and adapt.
5. Always Ask: What Can I Do For You?
Providing value to your audiences and offering your expertise or service without expecting anything in return is Social Media for Business in a nutshell.
The importance of making connections and developing strong relationships can’t be overstated. It might sound counterintuitive for a business owner, but selling products on social media shouldn’t be your top priority. Sales, however, could be a pleasant result of developing a strong foundation.
This point is punctuated this short video featuring Gary Vaynerchuk (note: includes a couple salty words).
“When the energy of your tactics is to convert, you will lose. When your energy is to disproportionately bring value and let the chips fall where they may, you will win.”
— Gary Vaynerchuk
A Marathon, Not a Sprint
You might spend weeks or even months cultivating a community online without seeing any measurable results. But trust that the work you’re doing, if you’re doing it correctly, is making a difference. You’re building brand awareness and developing important relationships that are powerful currency in today’s business landscape.
Question for You
What is the most annoying thing you see people do on social media? Let me know in the comments.