Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn… These words can be very daunting for small business owners that already have a million and one other tasks and responsibilities to take care of. I have reached out to my esteemed network of entrepreneurs and business/social media experts to find out their 80 best tips and strategies that small businesses can use to best leverage social media (which are presented below in no particular order).
You may notice some similar concepts, but I kept the insights separate, as something in the way it is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Tweet Some Love
One great way to use social media as a small business is tweeting some love to your followers. Actually check their status updates and be a real pal by sharing your thoughts and perhaps giving them some interesting tips for their day. Whatever you do, make sure your followers know you care, and that you're acting in the most genuine way. Be genuine, and your community will love it. Show them some love and they'll love you back.
2. Don't be a Lemming!
Like many fads, social media has given birth to "the" latest and greatest tool that will do everything for your business. Before jumping off the cliff with everyone else rushing the new tools, take a step back. Think about 1) if and how this tool can be used to further your business strategy and 2) is it this best way to reach your target market(s)? Before jumping, do some research and planning - and evaluate how social media fits with your goals, plans, budget and resources.
3. Offer Free, Useful Info
Each day, I post "Today's Simple Solution," on twitter and facebook. These are short, actionable and helpful parenting tips.
4. Stay Active
If you plan on using social media - stay actively involved and participate so that people get a sense of who you are and what you bring to the table. Eventually, meaningful relationships will start to form and you will connect with others who are like-minded. Be sure to "Work It"!
5. Building a Brand Via LinkedIn
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to solidify a network of industry peers, as well as build a company brand. There are multitudes of groups that are available to join or, for maximum exposure, a new group can be created. By connecting to other members and developing a database of customers, partners, and suppliers, a platform will be in place to promote content in the form of discussions, white papers, and other communications enabling a company brand to be shaped.
6. 3 Levels & 30 Minutes
We use social media on three levels: Customer, Local Business & Industry. 1. Primary focus: become the "go to" place for customers, providing solid content, even if promoting someone else. 2. Networking with local business, including competitors gives us insight into their practices that work and affiliates us with other companies that can benefit our customers. 3. Working to promote our industry as a whole shows we want what's best for the customer. Spend 30 minutes a day updating your media sites.
7. Shrink Your Echo Chamber
Social media marketing is noisy-- like shouting into a vast echo chamber with lots of people talking, but very few listening. As a result, the ROI on time and effort can be quite low. To get a better hit rate, aim your messaging, content, and social media outreach at an extremely narrow group. For example: "Chesapeake Bay Retriever Owners in San Francisco" instead of "Dog Owners." By being more focused and laser-like about who you target, you'll get a better ROI and ultimately, more virality.
8. Aggregate Your Efforts
The problem with social media is that there are just too many damn sites! Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Buzz, Tumblr -- the list is endless.
The goal of all media is to get your message out to as many people as possible. That means you have two options:
1) Visit all those sites and post updates often
2) Use a social media aggregator
Personally, I use http://ping.fm to aggregate my social media message. It compounds my efforts and lets me share my ideas quickly and easily.
9. Social Media Give and Take
The best way to utilize social media is to start a conversation with your customers. Everyone loves being asked for their opinion, so why not use social media to solicit it? With Facebook, it is easy to set up a poll, asking customers what their favorite product or service is etc. There are also services such as MobilizeUs that enable you to initiate polls/voting via text message. These types of campaigns provide participants with the instant satisfaction of knowing they are being heard.
10. Building Buzz for New Products
I have 1000 Facebook friends and I post news of my new book project every week or so. I have selected a unique photo to mark each of these posts. I am keeping a notebook with the names of those who respond to my posts. I will ask these people, influencers, to send out an email, which I will write, to their email lists when my new book publishes, to drive sales.
11. Ever Present
Upload interesting, valuable & useful material often and on a regular schedule. Clients and customers will learn to depend on you and as this happens, they will feel more and more comfortable with you. You will find yourself quoted. Others will contact you for more information and services. Don't let your site grow stale. Keep it fresh. For example, I upload another Key for "52 Keys for Living, Loving and Working," every Monday and "Thankful Thursday," every Thursday.
12. Tweet for Best Results!
Twitter offers a highly efficient communication model. Frequently Tweet helpful advice without links. Many fear that if they do this, prospects will not need to convert to clients, but the opposite is true. Prospects are attracted to you and your generosity; they want to learn more and will list you as someone to follow. You position yourself as the expert in your field attracting more opportunities. 20% of the time, add a link to your website to be found. You will convert prospects to clients!
13. Be a Clown!
When businesses use social media, they're often... well, too businessy. When FBing or Tweeting personally, people are funny, witty, smooth-talking, and eye-catching. If you can use social media to create your own audience, your business messages stand a much better chance of being followed by people. There is plenty of room for self-promotion, but we need variety. Putting in some funny posts, some witty remarks, or some eye-catching links are the perfect way to keep your audience reading.
14. Give Me High 5!!!
1. Treat online connections precisely the same way as your offline network, because these are real people, not numbers. Never forget that!
2. It is very easy to get lost in the social media jungle, so have goals & a strategy to achieve those goals.
3. Social media can be addictive & may steal all of your time, so cap your time.
4. Be giving. Give to give, not to get, & let it come back in folds.
5. Provide value to your connections, answer questions, be a connector, be a customer...
15. The Law of Reciprocity
As a blogger, my most useful social media tool is Twitter. Almost a third of my traffic comes from there.
Perhaps surprisingly, I've found the best way to promote myself is to promote other people that do amazing work. Seems counter-intuitive, but when people notice that you're sharing their stuff, they become far more interested in sharing your stuff.
Over time, this leads to tons of people repeatedly sharing your stuff instead of just yourself.
16. Strategy First!
Don't jump in feet first without a content strategy and knowing what you want to achieve from that content. Social media chews time so you want to laser focus your efforts where it will count. Your content strategy must be delivered consistently and be valuable and interesting to others - engagement is key if you want social media success.
17. Roll Up Your Sleeves!!!
Social media sites are a good source for tips on how to establish a business network, to capture new clients and maneuver your way through the business world.
Online networking has proven to be highly successful for a number of entrepreneurs, but don’t rely solely upon it. The important thing is to utilize every networking tool at your disposal. If you’re serious about promoting and growing your business, you must be willing to roll up your sleeves and play in the big league.
18. Let Endorsements Go Viral
The power of social media is in groups. When a group member loves your work, ask them to share their praises with the whole group. Instant credibility! This was the single largest factor in growing my business.
19. The Word Social Comes First
The word social comes first in social media, which should be used as a way to connect and interact with your customers and potential customers. There are so many distractions fighting for our customer’s attention, so it’s important to keep your audience interested with updates of useful information, coupons, specials/discounts, contests, and prizes.
20. Be the Connection of Choice
Think of the type of person you want to connect with. Do you want someone who continues to harp on you about buying their product? Social Media is about getting people to pull information from you! The goal: Inform and Educate. Above all, keep them compelled to come back for more.
The key here is to be a resource. Be their advisor. If they trust the information you put out, they will grow to trust you. This way you can build name recognition and top-of-mind awareness.
21. Paying Forward the Positive!
Social Media is an incredible tool to pay it forward! As a small business, I use social media as a means of sharing inspirational messages, business tips, and recognizing other people's success and accomplishments. Paying forward the positive is a great way to stay connected and make a positive difference in business, and in the world.
22. Facebook- Great for Biz!
A lot of business people are hesitant about jumping into social media- especially Facebook.
My advice is JUMP- take a big running leap, and jump onto the money train! The PPC (pay per click) campaigns are easy to create, and can be targeted to your exact demographic- no matter what that may be. It's become my best passive referral source.
23. Targeted Blogs
Most companies have a Google Alert set to their company name. Why not blog about your expertise (design, marketing, PR, etc.) in the context of what your targeted company is doing well or can do better (with one or two suggestions about how they can improve)? I landed my largest account by accident in this way and have been intentional about using this social media strategy ever since.
24. Give Away Your Best Stuff
I use social media sites -- especially Twitter and Facebook -- to build my subscriber lists. I give away a free download to my "Success Tweets" book on both sites. People see this as valuable information, and are happy to give me their email address in exchange for it.
25. MicroChunk Your Message
Digestible bites (or “microchunks”) of information about your business can potentially reach a proliferation of micro-cultures, using “micromavens” to play a key role in building up brand awareness. A single Youtube video can impact a company's market share -- conversely, a strong social media message can resonate throughout the internet and bring you valuable visibility.
26. Don't Be a Social Snob
It's unreal the amount of people that use social media, especially Twitter, that don't actually use it as a "communication" tool. So many others blast people with junk and only promoting themselves that it's a complete turnoff. So make sure and use social media as a way to communicate with potential customers, partners, networks etc. and engage with them. Let them know that your business has a personality and it's not just to talk about yourself and your business. Don't be another social media snob.
27. Keep Social Media Professional
What small business owners don't say online is every bit as important as what they do. Do not discuss your personal life on social media. No one cares if you are not famous. Focus your interactions on your area of expertise. Be quick to share that expertise with those who ask questions online. You want to become the go-to guy/gal in your niche, whether it is pet care or laying tiles. The smallest business can compete with much larger rivals by using social media to build trust and likability.
28. VALUE, VALUE, VALUE
The best piece of social media advice I can give to any small business is to add value to the conversation. If you are going to tweet, reference the blog or website and say why you think it is valuable. If you blog, know what you are blogging about. Don't make it random; have a plan, a theme and reference materials that support your point of view. As well, it is better to pick a few mediums that work for you. You can't be everywhere, so choose wisely 🙂
29. Just Be Helpful- For Free
Social Media can be a great means to find new customers and new business. While many approach it as an opportunity to gain, a rare few see it as an opportunity to give. People discuss their problems all over twitter, facebook, etc. Try helping a few people with their problems (in your field of expertise). They will greatly appreciate the help. It might turn into new business, or even a referral. Either way, you helped someone out in their time of need. That's something to smile about 🙂
30. Plan to Succeed!
Social media marketing is a commitment. If you treat it like your eMail or phone calls, it's not as daunting. Also, you must have some expectations of what you want it to do for you. Most people try it and say "It's not working and I am getting no sales from it... so I give up!", but what they miss is the reciprocal effect. Social media should drive traffic to your website and your website should drive traffic back to your social media. My tip is to track the effectiveness through analytics.
31. Use Targeting Tools
Use Tweet Adder or Listorious (or other similar tools) to find people with interests that align with your business. These tools allow you to target who you follow, which builds a relevant audience for your tweets. It's important to not simply follow anyone and everyone, but to seek out those who will be interested in your services. These tools help cut down on the amount of time you'll have to spend seeking out new followers.
32. Take Your Eyes Off Yourself
While you want attention, so does everyone else. Shining the spotlight on others, without expecting anything in return is good for your mental health--and good for business. The Random Acts of Publicity Week (http://www.darcypattison.com/pr-notes/random-acts/) for writers to help each other has taken off especially on FaceBook and garnered a lot of good will for my projects.
33. Blogging - Fun and Profitable
We're heavy bloggers, using our writing to not only connect with warm-market customers, but for Search Engine Optimization as well. Your blogging platform should do both. Your platform should support RSS feeds allowing you to syndicate your blogs. RSS feeds allow you to write the blog once and feed it to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. You also want a platform that indexes well with the major search engines. Part of the reason for blogging is to improve your rankings.
34. Landing Right on Facebook
One of the most important social media strategies is the creation of a powerful landing page on Facebook. You can select which tab you would like users to be directed to on your page. To create excitement and build a following, I recommend offering a promotion unique to those who like your page on Facebook. Add in a contest to engage your fans and build brand loyalty. Build up buzz for the announcement of the winners.
35. Listen Up
Across Social Media are literally thousands of conversations about your brand, your cupcake store, your law firm and perhaps more importantly...about your competition. Social Media is not a broadcast or advertising medium. It is an entirely new genre of marketing that provides many potentially powerful and insightful opportunities. The ability to listen to a conversation, learn and implement is extraordinary...so listen up.
Robert Rippee of FORMO
36. Don't Reinvent the Wheel
Steal ideas from your competitors! Not the exact idea of course - but let your competition fail or succeed and then use that insight to create a strategic campaign. You can use free tools like HootSuite or Tweetdeck to track keywords and competitors initially, and then inexpensive tools like Swix or Argyle Social to track the campaign you create based on research. The wheel doesn't need to be reinvented every day - you just need to make sure you are engaging in unique, captivating ways.
37. Mind Your OWN Business!!!!!
"BE, BE, BE"
BE open to new ideas,
BE willing to trust someone else with social media strategies, or simply
BE seated and watch the world pass you By.
Do what YOU do best, which is run your business, but be open to bringing in people who are experts at Social Media to do it really well for YOU. By holding on to traditional forms of marketing and not embracing new marketing tools, you're only sabotaging your success.
BE in the now & live the true essence of BEing in business!
38. Be an Aggregator
To use social media to grow your small business, create a list of other businesses or resources that are aligned with yours and share that list with your followers. People will look to you as a resource for everything associated with that topic.
For example, if you run an organic/vegetarian restaurant, create a Twitter list (you do have a Twitter account, right? 🙂 of local yoga studios, cafes, farmers markets, book stores, and also your "competitors".
39. Cross Purpose Your Content
It's free to set up accounts on Social Media sites i.e. Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. Depending on the type of business, a company should select 3 sites to establish profiles and use the tools to triangulate content and build relationships. E.g, on Facebook, the company can post updates and photos, and invite interaction with fans. Facebook feeds into Twitter where they can interact one-on-one. YouTube feeds Facebook and Twitter and provides another venue for interaction.
40. Sign Up for Media
I have signed up for as many media avenues as possible. I have had success in "friending" local TV stations looking for people and/or companies that promote a particular specialty, event or subject matter. I receive excellent, often free, publicity as well as obtaining information my clients may need. I have found utilizing social media is a win-win situation!
41. What's Your Social Media ROI?
The number one strategy that will help you monetize your social media efforts is to move people from social media to your main list. There are a variety of ways to do this, but one of the best is the use of a simple squeeze page where prospects can leave their name & email address in exchange for some great information. Now, you can market to them off of social media, like email. By integrating your marketing, you will have a greater overall effect & more success with all your marketing efforts.
42. Boost Results 400% with This!
Simply take your online leads off. If you capture leads online through a capture system or auto responder, then you have emails, names and maybe numbers.
So once they opt in or enter their info for your original offer or "bribe", then you send them what they were promised, but also offer a special report, info, gift, etc... available if they reply to your email with their offline address. Then take the online lead into another medium, which is now offline...which pulls better.
43. Keep Your Ear to the Ground!
Always listen! Set up Google Alerts, run searches through social networks, and do everything you can to keep your ear to the ground. It's important to be a part of the conversation, but it's just as important to know when your business is being talked about.
Google Alerts is a great free resource that every business needs to use. You can also use a service like Hootsuite (hootsuite.com) to search for key phrases on twitter, and monitor multiple networks at once.
44. What's the Difference?
Most social media business sites communicate a marketing message that's virtually the same as their competitors. The focus is on quality of work, expertise, and service. These are important, but don't necessarily give people a reason to do business with you. Here's a tip: Develop your differentiation strategy before you begin your campaign. Perception is key. Give your market a reason to buy from you rather than your competition. Remember, being better is one thing. Being different is everything!
45. Preserve ROI by Using Twitter
Most marketers should be aware of a well-known reality - every time you lose a customer, it costs 5 - 6 times more to acquire a new customer than up sell to your existing ones. Simply put, sales and marketing bring in a customer and customer service takes care of retention.
Instead of spending huge amounts of money on acquisition costs and ignoring the leaky faucet (poor customer service), brands should incorporate Twitter and show they are socially hip and transparent.
46. Social Media for Profit
How do you use today's social media tools to turn visitors into clients? Simple, invest in optimizing your social presence. It's never been easier to generate new leads, impress visitors with video and even sell your product on your fan page. One secret is to build an impressive landing page on Facebook. Your satisfied clients are happy to share you with their Facebook friends. Want more new clients? Make sure that when visitors 'find you on Facebook' they'll be impressed with what they find.
47. Blind Date...
Social Media's most engaging responses come from simple queries like what's your favorite movie, dinner item or time of year. Relating from GENERAL to SPECIFIC works great for me. Take the time to Interactively engage them (Social Media) where they are and as you listen to them, they will lead you to where you need to be. Once you get there, ask specific questions. It's official, you're dating now.
Relate from GENERAL to SPECIFIC....
48. Get Personal and Play!
Social Media is about being social, developing relationships and then they leverage into business connections. Get out there and play! Let them know who you are and what you are about. Then E.I.I. (Educate, Inform & Invite). Be sure your posts do all three and you will see success. Don't forget to play a little too!
49. Tweet Coupons, Events & Maps
For location based businesses, I do not link tweets to their web site, but to either Schmaps (http://schmap.it/) or to their Google Places account. For either Schmaps or Google Places, when someone clicks on the link, they will get information about the business or event that includes copy, photos, links, maps and directions. Schmaps lets you schedule multiple tweets, while Google Places has coupons, business hours, and reviews. Both services have statistics for tracking traffic.
50. What's Your Strategy?
Having a good strategy is more than just knowing which social networking platform and tools to use to reach your people. It's also about knowing what to say, when to say it, and how to plan as much out as you can in advance, so you can be viewed as the expert that you are- all while knowing that even when you plan to schedule posts, you still need to get on live and in person, interact and join the conversation. So, what's your strategy?
51. Schedule Meetings with Ease
Tell clients they can view your available times on the Web after you get the free social app from Tungle.com. It synchronizes with Outlook or iCal and doesn't show details publically, but you can see your own details and block out additional times. Clients can send you meeting invitations, proposing multiple times without signing up for Tungle. Tungle handles replies, adjusts time zones and prevents double bookings.
52. Use Lindsey Lohan
Make your tip relevant to today's news. For example--when Lindsey Lohan went to jail, I told everyone that the jail where she was held, and most other jails--are not Feng Shui...because the toilet should never be next to the bed! It was funny and made me a hit with everyone who read it.
53. Transparency: A Marketing Tool
Transparency has become the norm with social networking. You have a barometer between too much information and not enough revealed. There is a difference between personal and private. A guideline is don’t reveal anything you wouldn’t want to see on a billboard.
Social networking and your marketing campaign are designed to build relationships. There is value to allowing people to catch a glimpse behind the curtain. Transparency helps foster the know, like and trust factor.
54. Use the Power of Video
Pick the 5 most commonly asked questions that new customers often ask you and create five series of 2-3 minute videos where you answer each question in detail. Upload each video to your Youtube account, post them on your blog, and then promote each video post on your twitter & facebook account. Remember that people want to do business with people they know, like and trust, so by using this strategy you will convert prospects to customers faster and build a solid relationship with them at the same time!
55. Words Attract Traffic
Since more people are using Twitter, Facebook, etc. search capabilities, remember to include your best keywords in your social media posts so people find you. "Fast Company" recently stated that Twitter is the fastest growing search engine. Twitter itself said users do 800 million searches a day on the platform. Knowing and using your best keywords in your posts will drive more traffic to your business.
56. S&M Marketing
For small business, figuring out how to effectively leverage social media can be a conundrum of epic proportions. To drive real value from social media, I suggest providing value driven information that can be utilized by your audience. For example, provide free information such as position papers, articles, white papers, research, market information, how to's, etc. Be careful to not make these sales pitches or a brochure in disguise. Provide genuine value.
57. Using Facebook to Boost Sales
As an entrepreneur, the best tip I have to offer is to leverage Facebook as a networking tool. Facebook is the #2 rated sited according to Alexa.com, only behind Google, so use it to your advantage by going where the people are already congregating. Create your Fan page and post useful content there. Position yourself as the go-to resource and it will naturally spark curiosity and drive traffic to your main site or blog for future selling opportunities. It also has powerful targeting features.
58. Connecting with Bloggers
Identify 2-3 blogs in your industry, or those that focus on small business, and get into the habit of regularly reading the content and participating in the discussions. Whenever you can, try to add value by sharing a personal story about what has/has not worked for you. Get to know the writers as they will be valuable contacts for you.
59. Blogs Need Calls to Action!
If you have an active blog, it will often attract even more search traffic than your regular site (it's stuffed with your keywords by default since you're talking about your favorite subjects).
So whenever you mention a product or service that you offer in a blog posting, include an in-text link directly to the page on your Website where visitors can find out more. Make sure that there are clear navigation links to your home page and contact details. Don't waste all that valuable traffic!
60. Event BUZZ! with Facebook
Videos can be uploaded to Facebook on the day before a big promotion. Contact your friends a couple of days beforehand to solicit their comments on your wall in exchange for a special coupon or giveaway just for them. Each of your friends that makes a comment on your Facebook Wall stating how much they like your business creates a notification to all of their friends. You have now started a domino effect that could put the promo video before the eyes of hundreds of thousands of people.
61. Brand Your Business!
"Just do it". "You deserve a break today". They don’t have to say Nike or McDonald's because their name and reputation precedes them. Corporations spend billions of dollars on branding and name recognition. Why don’t most small businesses spend any money on it? Social media can establish a small business brand easier, faster, and less expensive than before. The key is consistency in naming their social media profiles, a recognizable tag line and a constant presence on various social media sites.
62. Make Friends Now...Guaranteed!
People you meet on social networks are more likely to do business with you if they feel they know and can trust you. Earn their trust with these simple steps: (1) find out what problem your new contact is trying to solve (yes, they all have one); (2) do what you can to solve their problem, whether or not it benefits you directly; and (3) follow up with a message asking if there is something else they need help with. You will soon have an army of people willing to refer you, and to help you.
63. Build Connections to Content
I contribute compelling content about holistic health to many websites, ezines, and blog radio interviews, all aimed at promoting my book. I share the links to that content to my followers on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter so they can learn from it. This builds trust for my brand. This brand building then generates more requests for my content, and the cycle continues.
64. 6 Steps 2 Social Media Success
1 Use Facebook ads since this is the most socially utilized website.
2. Bring the user to a unique page just for that ad and have google analytics on the page to track users.
3. Inform and compel the user on that page that you can help.
4. Have a form on that page to try to capture their email address.
5. Follow up 2 weeks later if they do not buy or respond to the initial ad.
6. Check your stats from Google analytics to see how many users followed through to rate you success.
65. Word of Mouth Works!
Word Of Mouth marketing (WOM) is a free, easy entry point for small businesses into social media. Begin by rewarding and recognizing those repeat customers who are part of your most loyal network. This loyalty makes them your "ambassadors" or "centers of influence." Recruiting these people to infiltrate their own circles of friends by recommending you happens virally, but can be stepped up by asking for referrals and recognizing those who "produce" results with free or discounted services.
66. Build Your Brand with Contests
Using social networks like Facebook or Twitter to promote a contest is an effective way for small businesses to connect with existing and potential customers online. The leading social sites require companies to pay big bucks to run a contest on their platforms; however, companies can avoid paying a huge cost and still use these sites to host a contest. The key is to position the promotion as a "campaign," referring to the prizes as "gifts," in order to avoid censure - or worse.
67. An Empowered Community
A business that uses a give-and-take approach to communicating via social media can empower itself and its customers, while creating a community of loyal advocates. The keys are sharing, listening and discussing. News, special discounts, feedback on ideas, services and products, and the acknowledgment of complaints, ideas and concerns can now be done directly. Lastly, daily interactions give people a view of the personalities behind the business, making customers feel like they are a part of a special group.
68. No Media Directory? No Worries
By doing a Boolean search using keywords plus the Word AND in between search terms, I can mine for valuable media contacts and get insights on how to pitch them. This will help me read sample articles of journalists, or listen to archived broadcast segments before I contact them.
View a short screencast to see a demo:
69. Keep a Personal Touch Online
While the new social networking tools are a powerful way to reach a lot of people, what really makes a difference is keeping a personalized touch. That means you need to let the Golden Rule govern your behavior online, and treat people and situations as you would if you were interacting face to face.
70. LinkedIn for Prospecting
I use LinkedIn Advanced Searches for continuous prospecting by first defining the parameters (keywords, location, etc) then have LinkedIn email me the search results each week. I've been using the LI search/update formula for about 3
months now and the results have been outstanding.
71. Resonate Means Relate...
RESONATE with people. I tell my clients that in order to have effective social media initiatives, you need to connect with people on a human level through your brand. Give your brand personifications and connect with your followers based on that "personality". As funny as it may sound, everyone eats, sleeps and goes to the bathroom every single day. This is a simple starting point on things to connect with people on a human level. Inject humor and relate it back to your brand.
72. Social Media Tip
I link my Social Media pages together. My Facebook fan page, Twitter page, and blog are linked together to avoid having to post to all areas individually. I also link my YouTube account to my blog so that my videos go directly to my blog.
73. Hosting a Social Media Contest
To host a contest on your website, have participants complete social media tasks to earn points. Participants can choose which tasks they do, and the person with the most points wins a prize. An example task would be to post the contest link on Twitter. Use a designated "code" word to track. Set up the tasks based upon the goals you would like to achieve for your business (branding, sign ups, etc.), choose something people want for prizes, and make it fun and easy to participate.
74. Hold a Social Media Mini-Event
Use the power of social media to stage your own mini events.
Invite your Facebook friends or Twitter followers to a one-day online mini-event. You can have several short audio clips, a downloadable handout, a short video and an online quiz/worksheet. Offer a free bonus item as a ‘thank-you’ for attending. Promote the mini-event in advance and plan to be available live that day to answer questions on Twitter and/or Facebook. Announce that you’ll Tweet on a topic and take questions.
75. Social Media for Small Biz
Small Businesses can best leverage social media by creating a plan for their presence, building a professional profile on LinkedIn (the Chamber of Social Media Commerce). On LinkedIn, you get to show your full professional credentials, education, interests, and accolades. You're an accomplished business owner, so strut your stuff here to build and enhance credibility online and off. Use this as a starting point for networking relationships to help people learn how and why you can help them best.
76. Simply Empower Your Customers
Empowering your customers to easily share details of their experience with you in a compelling manner is key. For instance, if you have a restaurant, your customers don’t just want to share where they ate. They also want to easily share how it looked, tasted, what it cost and what the atmosphere was like. Having a website that features strong integration into Social Media platforms like Facebook, combined with a multimedia rich presentation will allow them to effectively share the experience.
77. Social Media Policy, Please!
Your social media policy should spell out the rules of engagement for employees who will be active in the online space, both personally and on behalf of your business. Include items such as whether employees can blog about your company’s topic on their own and if they can tweet during business hours, as well as tone, style, and acceptable content. The goal is to minimize risk and maximize opportunity. So, gather your troops for a policy talk BEFORE you send them out into the field.
78. Navigating Social Media in B2B
Small businesses can best leverage social media by using search and RSS to their advantage. B2B companies like our clients can be challenged on social media sites like Twitter, so we recommend http://search.twitter.com/ to set up advanced searches for certain keywords, tone and location. Then, set up an RSS feed to see if the accounts tweeting in these parameters are a right fit for your audience. This is effective to find the right people to follow, who in turn, could be prospects.
79. Social Media Photos Matter!
Quick with social media? Don't be quick to upload just any photo. Use 2 dynamic close-ups:
1. Business attire, head & shoulders only. Look happy & confident, but no big grin.
2. Outdoor or business environment, like a reporter asked you to stop and share your expertise.
Others will use these photos to decide to interview you, book you as a speaker, publish your article, or call you as an expert. Spend time and money so your photo at first glance presents a vibrant, powerful image.
80. Who Has Time for Social Media?
One of the easiest ways to find new clients is through social media, but it takes a lot of time. You can leverage social media for your business without a huge time investment by outsourcing it to a professional. The key is to be consistent, engaging, provide interesting content and be helpful! Typically, they have the insider techniques to get real results($) fast. Plus, you will have a road map for your social media campaign and it can be outsourced for a few hundred dollars per month.
Do you have another suggestion or tip that wasn’t included? If so, please share it below.
As always, many thanks to everyone who contributed to this article!