By Rachel Gilliam
It goes without saying: If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, marketing yourself REQUIRES a social media presence.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Many small businesses have found success by developing their social media platforms and engaging clients online.
But how do we build that presence? If you don’t have the budget for a staff of people to manage how you’re communicating with your audience online, here are some helpful tips to remember when setting up your social media profiles and growing them.
1. Pick platforms you’re comfortable using and have experience with. Don’t complicate things for yourself. If you’re already rocking Twitter, keep using Twitter. Allow for a learning curve if you DO need to set up profiles on Pinterest or Tumblr or wherever else your audience might be. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Participate in conversations where your audience is already talking. Research your audience demographic and figure out where they’re posting online. If your audience is composed mostly of women, ranging in ages from 25-48, there’s a good chance you’ll need to be on Pinterest interacting with them.
3. But don’t just set up a profile and then leave it. This can actually be more damaging to your online presence than never setting up a profile. It’s like walking up to a group of people at a party and starting a conversation about this awesome experience you had, and then leaving mid-sentence. Consistency, y’all.
4. Share information that will matter to your audience. And you know what that entails, right? LISTENING! Get to know the trends and topics that your audience cares about. Research those topics and provide useful information in conversations that your followers are already having. This makes you a resource (and a superstar).
5. Entertain them. When your community starts to see you as that resource, it’s also helpful (and super engaging) to provide them with a good laugh. A mix of relevant, useful information and humorous content will keep them coming back to you (which, of course, means that you’ll need to stay consistent with how often you post).
6. RESPOND. It really shouldn’t even have to be said, but if people are commenting on your posting or retweeting what you’re putting out there — talk back to them!! One of the worst habits businesses seem to get into is not responding to their followers. DON’T DO THAT. Just don’t.
Hopefully these few guidelines are helpful. I’m really just scratching the surface, when it comes to having an effective and engaging online presence.