by karen on July 6, 2011

With social media at a particularly dynamic stage, and with new tools merging by the day, how can your business best make use of the available technology to engage with customers, build its reputation and help to drive your performance?

For some, the social media journey has not yet started (NB: business owners take note if you want your business to survive longer term). Your business may have had a toe-in-the-water start with a Facebook page (hurrah), but unfortunately it hasn’t been used for months, and it definitely avoids Twitter, as it thinks it’s ‘mainly for celebrities’ (actually not so) or it doesn’t know where to start.

Here are some quick tips to get things going for your business on social media:

1. Get your business on to Facebook – or if it already is, make sure that your page is properly set up (i.e. as a business page, not a personal profile) and that you are posting regular content, comments, feedback, photos etc to keep your ‘fans’ engaged.

2. Get established on Twitter – this is great for engaging with relevant people, letting them know what’s going on in your business (esp. events, offers, etc), starting conversations, seeking their views, responding to their questions and re-posting positive feedback. Not to mention driving traffic to your website. Your own community can be very receptive to all this, and if you have a local business, it’s possible to engage with people in a certain locality or with specific interests.

3. Use other social media platforms – You Tube is great for posting video material about your business, and for uncovering the real performers in your business, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for professional connections and Foursquare is essential for businesses with retail premises (this phone-based app can incentivise customers for visiting and rewards for loyalty to your business)

4. Blog regularly – your website, designed and used well, is a powerful shop window for your business. A regular blog helps you to connect with existing and potential customers and to keep them up to date with your thinking/ experiences and new developments in your business.

5. Handle any bad press – Any negative comments posted on social media about your business can be responded to appropriately and speedily. This gives you the best chance of turning a negative experience into positive advocacy.

6. Check out your competitors – by watching to what they are doing and listening to what they are saying (and who to). You might not like what they are doing but at least you know and can compete.

7. Recruit – social media is an excellent way to reach out to relevant people who are already connected with your business, and who have powerful networks of their own to help you find the relevant skills and experience for it.

Above all, remember that social media is all about listening and engaging people in conversations, not just talking at them!

If all this sounds too challenging, don’t worry – just get in touch; I can offer support with all of the above, in the form of social media management services and training sessions.

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