Tips for small businesses looking to market themselves on social media: The cadence of your engagement on social media is important. Keep your posts, updates, and engagement regular and relevant. To keep it regular I use a social media recipe that lists the social media channels we will target for a particular campaign (e.g. blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, Google+) as well as the quantity of posts, key terms to listen for in posts from others and expected outcomes (e.g. retweets, click-throughs, registrations, likes etc.). Like any recipe, the ingredients change depending on what you’re making. We have different recipes for small announcements, industry news and major campaigns. Like any gourmet, the recipe can and should be changed when you need to create something unique and special. To keep social media interaction relevant we are very active in social media listening. We use social media monitoring tools (some free, some paid) as well as tools like Google alerts and a sizable list of news and blog sources we scan every day for the latest trends and breaking news. We engage on interesting topics and share anything of value to our audience. The results have been incredible. With our regular cadence of relevant social media engagement our fans, followers and audience has grown by over 100% in the past year. We’re looking for even speedier growth in 2014.
Mistakes to avoid: The biggest mistake I see is a gross under-estimating of the time it takes to properly engage and market via social media. People think that because social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn are free it means that there is no investment required. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It requires a dedicated time and focus each day to stay relevant and keep up a cadence that gains and keeps attention.
Networks on which to focus: This will always be governed by your own business and industry. Many industries have their own social networks, forums and portals where communities naturally gather. But I would always focus on the big 4; LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Then add in the networks specific to your industry.