How Should Small Businesses Approach Social Media?

With the way in which many experts are now beginning to say how social media is extremely important for small businesses to grow their “brands” and reach new customers, many owners are likely starting to look into the best ways they can approach these platforms as a means of increasing their visibility online. However, when doing so, they should also try to keep in mind that there are definitely both right and wrong ways to go about this process.

The first thing that owners should try to keep in mind when trying to tailor their social media approaches is that they are not their intended audience, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. While it might be tempting to be as serious as possible about the companies they started – after all, it’s extremely important to their lives and livelihoods – consumers aren’t likely to see a company as being quite so grave. Consequently, adopting a lighter tone right off the bat, and using that to connect with people about the ways in which a company’s products or services can help them when needed, could prove a fairly successful strategy for drawing eyes to a social media page and, in turn, a company website.

It’s also important for companies to know what they should be prioritizing on social media, or blogs hosted on their regular websites, the report said. For example, companies making major announcements can write up a blog post and promote it well on their various social platforms, because the excitement of such an event can be significant, and thus there is great enthusiasm to tell people about it. But what about more mundane updates? The problem when companies are just trying to draw visitors to a site is that they may fall into something of a rut when it comes to their posts, which can then turn off followers and lead them to un-follow or un-like the company. One great way to avoid this problem is to engage with customers who retweet or share statuses and posts, and find out – in as organic a manner as possible – what they do or do not like about the company’s social media efforts, products or services.

What should companies avoid?
One of the biggest mistakes that many small business owners make in controlling their social media accounts is opting not to control it at all, the report said. That is, many companies are now paying outside people or services to run their Twitter or Facebook pages for them. And while that may come at a nominal fee which in theory frees up small business employees for potentially more important projects, it also may serve to sap the enthusiasm a social media feed may need to be engaging. The third parties hired to post these updates are typically not going to care about a small business as much as its own employees do, and therefore the effect may serve to make the posts on these accounts a little less engaging or exciting to potential customers.

Many companies are now even hiring people specifically to run their social media accounts, but this obviously isn’t a viable strategy for every single small business, given how thin their operating margins may be. For this reason, owners hoping to free up some cash that can be devoted to other areas of their enterprises may want to look into whether they can find more affordable small business insurance. Cutting costs for expensive policies such as general liability insurance may go a long way to helping companies be successful in all their endeavors going forward.