So you've caught the entrepreneurial bug and you want to start a new business. Wonderful. You've developed your expertise, found a way to fund your venture, and have maybe even hired a few people to help. So what's your social media strategy?
If you're "old school," this might not be a question you want to answer; but if you are going to operate your business in the "new school" world, there really isn't much choice. But simply signing up with the major social media sites isn't enough. You need to make use of them as a platform to truly engage.
Social Media- The New Telephone
For better or worse, social media has become a big player in how people communicate today, and for a business not to participate is like not having a phone. Failing to monitor and maintain social media relationships is like having a phone, but never answering it.
But who can afford to sit by the phone all day, or for that matter play on Facebook or hashtag all over Twitter? Too many businesses take this attitude when they are starting out. They might check messages once a day, post their weekly special, and pray for the magic to happen. But it doesn't. Just like it doesn't work to leave the phone off all day and simply check messages in the last few minutes.
Put Your Best Face Forward
Social media presents an excellent opportunity to make a positive impression with your brand. It's not about trying every social network and seeing what sticks, but knowing what sites your customers are active on and being active on them as well. Consistency is key as well. For those who follow you on both Facebook and Twitter, seeing that you don't contradict yourself inadvertently speaks to how much your business and services are trustworthy and reliable.
While your pages do serve the purpose of building your own PR, the focus ultimately needs to be on your customers or potential customers. Yes, you can announce your specials and let customers know that following you will get them all sorts of secret goodies that won't necessarily be available to the guy walking in off the street.
But it's important to be fun too. Find a silly picture or an inspirational quote. Finding a coupon is nice, but can be dull and pushy if that's all customers see. These types of things help keep your business approachable, both online and off. But even as you entertain, business is business, and personal stuff is personal. Rarely do you want all your customers stalking your personal page.
There are people that are incredibly brave online, much more so than they are in real life, and they may sound off on your Facebook page even if they would never say the same thing to your face. This is another reason to monitor frequently, even if it means you have to hire someone. If there is negative feedback, the sooner you are aware of it, the sooner you can address it. That dumb tweet you posted can be deleted, hopefully with minimal damage.
It's also important to remember that your business is about your competitors as well. Follow them as well, look for those moments when their customers are unsatisfied and take the opportunity to present them with a better alternative.