The Do’s and Dont’s of Social Networking for Your Small Business

By AK Stout

Posted : September 8, 2011

Category : Editorial

The Do’s and Dont’s of Social Networking for Your Small Business

While there
are LOTS of articles and blog posts out on the web all about the importance of
social networking, and the ‘how-to’ of social networking, it can become come
quite overwhelming to grasp exactly what to do; but perhaps even more
importantly, what NOT to do.  Hopefully
this post will help you navigate your way through the maze of social networking
intricacies in order for you to get the most out of using social media for your small business.

Social Media Do’s

  • Start
    with one platform, establish a plan for using it, and actively participate on
    it before moving on to another.
    When you finally decide to take the leap
    and start using social media for your business, it can be tempting to set up a
    Facebook Page then quickly move on to set up your Twitter account, LinkedIn
    Company Page, etc. – only to have 6 months elapse before it occurs to you that
    after the initial set ups, you’ve neglected your sites. The quantity of social
    networking sites on which you have a profile is not nearly as important as the
    quality of the content, interactions, and elbow grease that you invest in one
    particular platform. Setting up social media profiles only to let them lay
    dormant can be more detrimental to your business than having no presence at
    all.
  • Fill out
    all profiles such that no fields are left blank.
     As was noted above, when creating profiles on
    social networking sites, quality is much more important than quantity. Resist
    the temptation to fill out your business name, upload a logo and move on to the
    next site. Make sure you are utilizing all available fields to enter as much
    information about your business as possible. Not only do complete profiles help
    your target audience learn more about your business, but on many of the
    platforms, the words within your profile are searchable by the search engines;
    such that complete profiles laden with keywords, can increase the likelihood of
    your business being found on the web.
  • Learn how
    to use a social media site before you jump in.
    Much like you wouldn’t look
    at your business accounting and say, "I’ll just give it a whirl," using social
    media sites incorrectly could damage your business. There are many ways to
    learn how to use a social media platform – books, blogs, courses, webinars,
    etc. – but one of the easiest things to do is spend some time watching and
    listening to what other businesses are doing. For example, find Facebook
    Business Pages where there are conversations occurring – people are ‘liking’
    posts and commenting, then study their posting style.

Social Media Don’ts

  • Don’t
    expect to set up your social media accounts and have the leads come pouring in.
    A social media marketing program is not a "set and forget" type operation –
    it takes time, maintenance, and dedication to establish trust, generate
    relationships, and start building a community around your brand. Think about
    using social media for your business in the same way that one makes a lifestyle
    change when it comes to losing weight. In order to lose weight and keep it off,
    you need to change the way you eat and exercise so that you can maintain a
    healthy lifestyle – and though the results may not be drastic and immediate,
    you have a much better chance of achieving long lasting results; it’s the same
    way with social media. When you start using social media, you are making a
    change to the way you’ve always approached marketing in the past – you are
    establishing a new and improved way in which you will communicate with your
    customers and prospects – a way that requires attention and nurturing in order
    to have a much longer, lasting impact on your business.
  • Don’t
    turn your social media channels into digital billboards.
    People are
    flocking to social media sites for information and dialogue. If all of your
    posts consist of broadcasting your product and service offerings and telling
    everyone how wonderful you think your business is – you will quickly alienate
    your target audience. People connect with business on social media sites for a
    wide range of reasons – none of those reasons however, have to do with reading
    marketing messages all day. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience
    and figure out how you can add value to their day with your posts.
  • Don’t
    forget that social media is constantly changing.
    One of the hardest parts
    of using social media marketing for your business is keeping up with the
    ever-changing trends. Unfortunately, what works and is deemed acceptable by
    users one day, could be much different, and perhaps even frowned upon by users
    the next. It is critical when utilizing social media that you also keep up with
    how social media is growing and evolving. You can keep up with trends in social
    media, by subscribing to social media blogs, joining social media groups on
    sites such as LinkedIn, following along with social media Facebook Pages, etc., – essentially, as redundant as it sounds, you can use
    social media to keep up to date with social media.

Written by AK Stout

AK Stout is the Owner of Saying It Social, LLC. AK has been working with
social media for the past 6 years, having been amongst the first group
of people introduced to Facebook.


About the author:

AK Stout is the Owner of Saying It Social, LLC. AK has been working with social media for the past 6 years, having been amongst the first group of people introduced to Facebook. With a background in marketing, AK prides herself in finding ways to utilize her knowledge and experiences in conjunction with the ever expanding mix and advantages of new media tools to help businesses enhance their online footprint while establishing trust and cultivating meaningful business-consumer relationships.

Saying It Social is a social media marketing company that offers an array of tailored services to meet the needs of each individual business with which it engages. From creating Facebook Business Pages to completely "Done-For-You" Programs, Saying It Social is there to advise and develop social media plans that fulfill a wide range of business goals. For those who wish to control their own social media presence, Saying It Social provides extensive one on one and group trainings.