Your small business and social media

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Starting up a small business is no easy task, but with the help of social media, you’re able to get your name and message out into the public’s eye easier than in the past. If you’re just now entering your business into social media, there are definitely a few things you should know first. Here are some tips on how to help start an online conversation about your company, with a little help from Whirlocal.

Your company site should link to a company blog. And yes, you do have to maintain both of them! While your company website will help to promote your business, what you do, and how to contact you; your blog will help with the personal stuff. Your customers want to hear from real people, and blogging is just the way to do that. I use WordPress for my personal blog, and would suggest it to anyone starting their own. Blogging can increase your SEO and Google rankings, and getting to the top of that Google search page is very important.

Realize now that customer reviews count. A business with poor online reviews is probably losing a ton of potential new customers. You want to encourage customer reviews, especially from the customers that rave about your business; you can do this by simply asking the customer to write a review or by creating links to review your business on your company site. You want to get on sites like Google, Yelp, Yahoo and Bing; these sites get the most traffic when it comes to reviews. I would suggest emphasizing Google and Yelp. It also helps to respond to reviews, especially the ones that don’t show your company in the best light. If someone writes a bad review, responding with a solution to the problem can make that bad review not look so bad anymore. This will show potential customers that you can own up to your mistakes and are willing to listen and fix them.

Social Media is a must. Get on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and do everything you can to get your name out there- just don’t do it aimlessly. Have a social media strategy and focus on what each social media platform can do for your business, because each one is different.  This may be time consuming, but if you do it right, in the end it will be well worth it.

If you want people to contact you, you have to make it easy. Make your contact information easily accessible on your website, blog and all of your social media channels. Put it where they’d have to be blind not to see it! However, being accessible isn’t all you need to do. You need to respond to people in a timely manner. Don’t let emails sit for longer then 16 hours, that’s almost too long; by then your potential customer may have already moved on. Instantaneous responses show that you care about their business and that you’re available to them whenever they need you.

These are just a few tips; building an online presence for your business won’t happen overnight. Engage with your customers in a way that makes them want to come back, and want to tell their friends and family about your services. Make what you do online interesting, be patient and most of all, be persistent.

This post can also be read on Marketing Conversations and Business 2 Community.

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