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Idea Box: Use Social Networking Effectively
Using social media for marketing a business can be an effective and affordable option if done right. But understanding some important rules is key to success.

By Staff
Date Posted: 7/1/2014

                Small businesses are constantly looking for ways to make money without spending some. One of the easiest ways to do this is using social media for marketing. Using social media can essentially be free advertising if done correctly.

                But just setting up accounts or profiles for your company on social media sites is not enough. It takes time and a plan in order to reap the benefits. If you are unfamiliar with social media, there are some rules and tactics for effectively marketing a company. So before you log on and start making posts, make sure you understand the following strategies and concepts for marketing with social media.

                • Test it on a small scale at first. Think of it as enhancing your current marketing efforts, not replacing it. Try committing only one to two hours of your marketing time per week to it at first to prevent it from taking away from other marketing efforts before it is even viable.

                • Don’t give up too soon. It takes time to build a social presence and voice. Social media is a tool and you need time to learn how to use it effectively before you can truly judge whether it is going to be beneficial. Work on it consistently for at least two months to see if it is producing positive results before you pull the plug.

                • Set goals and create a plan. What are you trying to accomplish by using social media? Improve your customer service? Increase traffic to your website? Knowing your intended destination is key to building and executing an effective social media plan.

                • Be picky about which social media sites you use. Some will not be a good fit for your business. Determine which social media sites are best for your company and focus on one to three of those sites. Do this based on which ones your customers use, your social media goals and the type of content you plan to share.

                • Use keywords and phrases. Social media pages can show up in search engine results. This means that if someone does a Google search for “ISPM-15 certified pallets,” a post you made that mentions your company treats pallets to ISPM-15 certification standards can show up in that search, drive traffic to your page and result in a potential customer. Make a list of key industry words and terms and use them when possible.

                • Use images and videos. A page full of text is boring. And social media users are not interested in anything boring. Research has shown that posts that include photos or videos get a significant higher response than plain text.

                • Keep your profile images professional looking. Your company logo is always a good choice as it will help build brand recognition. But don’t worry, there’s still room for some creative photos on many social media sites, such as Facebook and Google+ and Twitter, with cover photos. This is the place to feature special promotions, specific products, your team members or a holiday greeting.

                • Don’t try to sound like a huge corporation if you’re not. Keep it personalized; capitalize on the human-to-human connection that customers want in social media. If the company owner is posting updates on the company page, let them know who it is.

                • Remember that being social means talking about more than yourself and your business. Share content from other sources that will be useful or interesting to those you interact with in social media. You can make this easy to do by building a list of websites and blogs that regularly produce good content and checking on them regularly to find something. This content can be industry specific, about business in general or anything else that you think those you are connected with will find interesting.








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