5 Rules for Businesses New to Social Media

If your business is new to the world of social media, it’s important to get off on the right foot, and this is a good place to start.  Here are five important rules to keep in mind for businesses that are new to the online community.

  1. You can’t be everywhere at once.  You don’t have to sign up for every single social media platform available (which is good, because there are tons of them).  Focus on the ones where your customers are.  Facebook is a great place to start because it is the most widely used social media platform, which means it will be easier to reach out to the right networks.  It also means that you probably already use Facebook for your personal life, so the transition to using it for business will be a smooth one.
  2. Every good conversation starts with good listening. Social media, as its name implies, is about being social; you probably wouldn’t stand and listen to a person that just talks at you while never giving you a chance to speak or ask questions and neither will social media users.  Conversations are the key to building relationships, and that’s the real goal.  Facebook isn’t just another way to broadcast advertising like the newspaper or radio where the articles and music lure in potential customers who are then exposed to ads by default.  With social media, you have to create your own point of interest if you want people to pay attention.  Conversation is probably the easiest way to engage customers, but just like in real life, the people who we are more likely to have conversations with are the people who are willing to listen to what we have to say.
  3. Variety is the spice of life.  Links to funny cat videos may get a lot of likes, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you ever post.  Mix things up routinely with a variety of interesting content like pictures, videos, articles, and current events.  The things you post should ideally provoke interaction from your network like comments, retweets, or shares.
  4. Patience is a virtue.  When you first jump in to using social media for your business, it may seem like more trouble than it’s worth.  Don’t let that discourage you; building a network takes some time in the online world just like it does in the real world.  The returns as far as sales will not be immediate, and you may not be able to trace a direct line from Facebook to your cash register for a while, but keep in mind; that doesn’t mean it’s not working.
  5. Don’t be afraid to fail. Some business owners shy away from using social media because they are worried that they will get negative comments from disgruntled customers.  It’s true that the internet gives people a place to vent their frustrations, but that can happen regardless of whether or not you’re online.  It’s always better to be a part of the conversation than to be in the dark about what people are saying.  It can also be a great source of feedback for your business if there really is a problem.

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