6 tips for small businesses looking to really engage on the social web

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Usually when small businesses jump on the social media bandwagon they see the social web as another one-way broadcasting channel such as TV, radio, and print media. Yes, you can use this exciting medium to only broadcast your own message, but that is not what social media is about.

Using social media for your business can help you build relationships with your targeted audience and also increase your brand exposure online. When done right, it can be an inexpensive way to build awareness of your business, products, and services. Even though it is very easy to set up social media profiles on all the top social media channels, if you fail to follow some basic guidelines when engaging on the social web, you will definitely get frustrated during your campaign because you will not get any good results.

Here are a couple of tips to help you with your engagement strategy on the social web.

1. Social media is all about engagement
The number one rule of the social web is to engage with people. Social media isn’t just about having a couple of profiles and not being active on them. People like to do business with people that they can trust. Spend some time engaging on the social web to develop relationships. It’s very important to take a bit of time to establish a presence and to build some credibility before you start selling to your network.

2. Be consistent
Be consistent with your updates on the social web: it’s best to only post updates around your business to establish yourself as the expert in your niche. Create an editorial calendar and schedule that you can keep up with and let your target audience know what they can expect next. People will also remember you if you are consistent with your updates.

3. Social media is not free
Even though you will see this quite often online, in truth social media is really not free. Yes it costs nothing to have a couple of social media profiles on the top web 2.0 channels, but it takes time and effort to be successful with social media.

4. Respond
When others spend time commenting on and sharing your social media updates, be generous and respond. It does take effort to put yourself out there, but remember that social media is all about building relationships.

5. Search for people to connect with
The best way you can start using your social media strategy to build relationships is to go and look for the people you are trying to target. Monitor what conversations are currently taking place regarding your market and join the conversation. You can use the same techniques you are using to build relationships offline: be helpful, ask questions and be friendly.

6. What is your social media voice?
Every business online using the social web needs to determine how they are going to represent their brand and business online. The sooner you find the voice you are going to use with your targeted audience online, the easier it will be to engage with them on the social web.

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  • http://www.engag.io/Abdallah Abdallah Al-Hakim

    great list. I especially liked #3!! The overall point for any good strategy is to have engagement and I believe that this is best done through conversations versus seeking retweets and Likes. There are many great tools to manage your social presence and one of my favourite is Engagio (www.engag.io) – I am bit biased :) because it focuses on conversations.

  • Tony Hymes

    Be funny or sentimental (which I suppose falls under your first tip of engagement). Write a funny blog to update your SM content, make silly videos, play pranks on other people in your office on film, it all falls under the idea of relating to other people. I wouldn’t recommend a hospital to go and film doctors playing jokes on patients, but anything that reveals who the people behind the service are is positive for interaction.

  • http://www.antonkoekemoer.com/ Anton Koekemoer

    That can definitely work, but as you said – it all depends on the market you’re in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danecobain Dane John Cobain

    Agreed on all points, but there’s a mistake in #6 – it should be ‘the sooner’, not ‘by sooner’ :)

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