Social media is fast becoming one of the best ways to create awareness of your small business and let customers know what you can offer them. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more recently Google +, all offer extra web presence and ways to communicate directly to the people that are most likely to need the product or service you offer.
While you should not spread yourself too thin, one thing to remember is to try and focus your efforts on the types of social media that are best suited for you. Facebook and Twitter are the two top ways to communicate with your customers and should not be ignored, along with LinkedIn and the up and coming Google +.
If you are using videos on your website then signing up to Vimeo or YouTube is a good idea too. But there are plenty more out there, which may be especially suited to your business, so don’t ignore the lesser known networks!
How to get started with social media
If you are new to using social media, then begin by signing up to Facebook. It’s the most widely used form of social media and you have a variety of options when it comes to presenting your business on the network. You can choose from creating a personal account, a business account, or a business fan page.
Each has its differences and unfortunately the business account has the most limitations on it, so it is probably best to go with one of the other two. Creating a business fan page is a great idea because all your updates will automatically be sent to anyone that is a fan of your business.
Next sign up to Twitter and try to register your business name as your username. Creating a LinkedIn profile should be your next port of call. You may or may not already have a blog for your business, but if you don’t, start one now!
WordPress is widely regarded as one of the best web blogging platforms out there, and it’s simple to set up and is easy to integrate with social media websites. Get some quality content up on your blog and try to keep adding to it regularly. The more interesting your posts, the more people will look at them, so don’t post any old drivel.
Combining your social media accounts
It can take a while to get all the accounts setup but once you have it’s time to combine them and really harness the power of social media for your marketing goals. Connecting your different accounts is not particularly difficult, just go to the account or profile option pages once you are logged in at each website.
Begin with connecting your Twitter account to your Facebook page, as this will then post all of your tweets onto Facebook. This is very easy to do with the Twitter app on Facebook. To configure the app, simply press “go to application” and then click “allow”, following prompts to log in. Now you will update not just your Twitter followers, but also you Facebook fans every time you tweet. This will save you time and your message will reach more of your customers.
Next you need to think about how to make the most out of your blog. Using the ShareThis tool is a great way of giving the reader a wide range of options as to which social media they want to share your blog post with. Enable this tool on your blog and your blog’s content should start spreading across the web. Also, install one of the varieties of Twitter buttons available so that readers can instantly retweet your blog’s content to all of their followers too, with one click of the mouse.
To let all your LinkedIn connections know instantly when there is a new post on your blog, link your WordPress blog to your LinkedIn account with the WordPress app for LinkedIn. Search for the app and follow the instructions, but remember that your LinkedIn and Twitter worlds are now intertwined.
HootSuite users can also amalgamate the two services using the third-party app. This handy tool will then automatically publish a short introduction to your new blog post on your LinkedIn profile, so that people can link through to your content from the LinkedIn website.
Once you have done all of this you will find your updates, tweets, messages and blog posts reaching many more people than they did before. The result should be more awareness of your business and what it does, an increasing amount of fans and followers, along with an integrated way to communicate with all your customers.
About the Author:
Olivia Lennox is a London-based SEO and social marketing consultant. Having pioneered 2011?s most prominent viral campaign, her ambition for 2012 is to lead small businesses into social media success.