10 Social Media Tricks for Small Business Success

Engaging in social media is a popular pastime for millions of people. From teenagers to grandparents, just about everyone has at least one social media account. And social media isn’t limited to individuals—businesses can get in on the action, too. If you are not sure how to start using social media for your business, here are 10 easy tips to get started.

1. The big names. There are a lot of social media options, but it is hard to go wrong with the classics. Although Facebook is one of the oldest social media sites, it remains one of the most popular, reaching into all demographics. Twitter is another commonly used site, and it has been a big part of everything from celebrity connections to political posturing. There is no reason you cannot use one or both of these sites for your small business. These sites are often easier for novices since they appeal to a wider range of people.

2. Upcoming stars. Social media is always changing. Take Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, which rely more on text, these sites are graphics heavy, which encourages a whole different means of connection. For businesses that have visually appealing products, trying these sites may be a great way to make an impact on customers. To get a sense of what may be the best site for your business, it might be helpful to ask customers about their favorite sites so you can select one that will properly connect with your particular customer base.

3. The written word. Social media posts are great for announcing sales, new releases, important dates and more. This is your chance to tell customers anything you want, so be sure to post relevant and engaging text to capture their interest. It can be especially helpful to develop a certain tone in all your written posts, whether it is authoritative, quirky or silly. However, just remember that the Internet generally likes text to be to the point, so be careful about not making your text posts too long. Text can be broken up with bullet points and subheadings to make it easier to read.

4. Picture perfect. Sometimes a picture says more than text ever could. If you run a bakery, take a close up of your best cake. If you operate a clothing store, post photos of some of your best apparel on a model. If people can see what your business is all about, they will be more inclined to stop by. While simple photos can make a difference, better quality pictures are going to attract more of a following, especially on sites that feature photos often.

5. Lights, camera, action. Many social media sites also support videos, which can be an even better way to capture the life of your store. These videos could be informational, offering tutorials about how to use certain products. They could also be reflective, showcasing special events and fun interactions. Some businesses may even be able to create edited videos, complete with music and voiceovers for added impact. However, even amateur footage can be a hit if the content is good enough.

6. Where others have gone before. Social media is not merely a showcase for original content. Almost all social media sites have some form of reblogging function. This function allows users to highlight posts they enjoyed and advertise those posts to others. While the hope is that your original content will be liked or reblogged, you can also highlight other interesting posts. Pick posts that are relevant to your customers, community or store, and it can definitely pay to highlight posts from loyal customers as a way to build a relationship.

7. Asking for it. Sometimes the best way to get feedback on a social media site is to ask for it. Frame your posts with a question at the end. Try to post things that will start conversations. Even making contests can be a great way to get people talking. This requires a small shift in thinking while creating a post, but it can make a huge difference in the quality of the response.

8. Silence can be deadly. It is not enough to ask people to reply. You have to actively make time to reply to others. If people ask questions on your account, be sure to answer them. If your business gets mentioned in a post, make a point to respond. If you have relevant expertise on an issue, never be shy about jumping into the conversation.

9. Marketing on the mind. Be sure to let people know about major sales or other promotions. Offer coupons and other special deals. However, do not forget the other side of advertising. If you want people to know about your social media sites, you have to make sure you advertise that they exist. Include a URL on your letterheads or business cards. Invite people to visit your account on store receipts. Mention it when customers check out at the cash register. Get the word out if you want people to check it out.

10. Scheduled success. When running a business, success requires ongoing effort. You never stop pushing to excel, and the same is true when operating a social media account. The account must be active with at least several posts a week. If you do not maintain this level of activity, customers and guests will not be inclined to keep up with your online marketing action. That’s why, most businesses find that scheduling online posts as part of their weekly business plan can be a real asset to building a following.

Any business can use social media as part of a successful marketing plan. With these ten tips, you can get started and see where networking takes your business.