I see a lot of small business owners using social media, and I see a range of success. Some appear to be reaching their audience, some don’t. At the end of the day, your target market is not necessarily using social media with the intent to buy. So, how does a business use social media effectively? Here are four key social media principles to consider:

  • Establishing Your Brand and Values

One of the beautiful things about social media is the opportunity to show your audience what your brand is about. A person getting to know your business for the first time should be able to go to your page, scroll through, and get an understanding of what your business stands for. Different types of posts – visuals, video, stories, short text – should all play together to create a clear picture of your brand. Any cross marketing you are doing for other companies should be focused to enhance your message and not confuse it. You have the great opportunity to tell your story in countless ways on social media.

You have the great opportunity to tell your story in countless ways on #socialmedia. #smallbiz Click To Tweet
  • Stop Selling So Much

When I go to a business page and see post after post sharing offers, highlighting products, asking for newsletter sign-ups, etc., I find it virtually impossible to connect with the business. And so do your readers. Unless they are already sold on your product/service and need it right that minute, how can they engage with you if everything is about you? What can they say in response to your post if they feel that you don’t care about them? In fact, they may even wonder whether liking or commenting on a post casually will invite unwanted solicitation. People can connect the dots. They know that your business sells stuff. Social media is about getting your audience invested and piquing their interest in the idea of your stuff.

#SocialMedia is about getting your audience invested. #marketing #smallbiz #smallbusiness #smb Click To Tweet
  • Look for Your Audience

People are not just “on social media.” They have specific behaviors on specific platforms. Different platforms may have forums designed for people in your target market. Groups, chats, hashtags, pages. What does your target market do on social media? If you do not know the answer to that question, you are probably not reaching them. You have to know where your target audience is if you are to know where YOU need to be. Sure, you can post blindly to your own page. You can spray a bunch of posts out with a scheduler across various platforms. But how effective is that really if you are not in a space where you are opening up conversation with the right people?

You have to know where your target audience is if you are to know where YOU need to be. Click To Tweet
  • Be Generous…As Your Business Page

Have a business profile and interact with your audience as your business page. It may seem unnecessary, but think about it. If you log in as your business page and go around engaging with other people’s content (go out and look for it!), they start to connect the fact that they feel heard and appreciated with your business name. You are sending a powerful message. Show them that they are noticed and that they have a thoughtful reader, and they will understand. The love will come back to you over time. If you give to others on social media, you will get back – and some interesting partnerships can form out of that.

Have a business profile and interact with your audience as your business page. #socialmedia #smb Click To Tweet

To learn more about how to best utilize your social media, especially in conjunction with blogs and newsletters, be sure to check out A Crash Course in Online Marketing. This is loaded with tips on how to get the most out of your online marketing plan.