Sunday, March 06, 2011

Five Rules Of Reaping The Rewards Of Social Media For Your Small Business

If you frequent Twitter, you'll be aware of the ubiquitous presence of dozens of self-proclaimed 'social media gurus' - promising to unlock the secrets of Twitter, Facebook and other shiny social media portals for your business; for a fee.

I don't mind saying that I consider 90% of these 'gurus' to be total, unequivocal hacks. I can say that with a certain amount of authority, too - much of my work focuses on social media and I've got more experience, better results and a larger dollar value riding on my work than half of these 'gurus' - and I certainly don't consider myself to be an expert on the subject.

I just know how to take a company's social media presence to a certain level, which happens to be a level above what many 'gurus' would take it to.

In fact, in all the time I've been working in digital marketing, I've only met one person I would consider a 'social media guru' - and compared to the trite service offered by many of the self-publicists on Twitter, the results he produces are nothing short of witchcraft.

Anyway. Given my proclamation that I know more about social media marketing than most of the hacks out there, an exciting new digital Advertising Agency (one of the few that actually deliver value for money) asked me to write about the five rules of reaping the rewards of social media for your small business.
  1. Don't be afraid NOT to spend money: Like with the early days of the Internet, the beauty of many social media outlets at the moment is that they're free. You can design a company page for your business on Facebook without spending a penny - and even get an exclusive Facebook URL for it if 25 of your employees, family or friends 'like' your page. The social media hacks want you to pay for their services - but often you can get equal or better results for free.
  2. Give value for that 'no money': Much social media is 'free' - but that doesn't mean you need to deliver what you paid for it. If you start promoting your company on Facebook or Twitter, don't just create an account and sit back resting on your laurels - make sure you give something to those who 'like' or 'follow' your new account. I'll explain what I mean next.
  3. Be an active player: Too many businesses create a 'page' for their business, and then never do anything with it. Your social media productivity should represent the real-life productivity of your business - so post relevant, interesting material on your Facebook or Twitter accounts at least three times a week, and court 'likes', retweets, comments and posts in response by picking topics and raising questions that will cultivate discussion and reaction.
  4. Don't be too active a player: Less is more - nothing gets people unliking a page, or unfollowing a Twitter account more than incessant posts that add nothing of value. As a company, you should aim to post no less than once or twice a week, but no more than once or twice a day.
  5. Measure your results: Whether it's the amount of comments, 'likes', retweets or responses you get, actively quantify the results of your social media campaign - and then strive to improve upon them. Those are the standards to which these so-called 'social media gurus' are expected to be held; so hold yourself as accountable as one of these 'experts' and you'll soon discover that you are one.

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