Social media for small businesses– a 5-step approach

Small businesses find it hard to embrace social media. Not because they are conservative, but because they tend to dedicate all their valuable time to their core business. The consequence is that they risk missing out on opportunities to get new leads and new clients.

Small businesses stand to gain a lot from social media. The question is, how do we get engaged without making a lot of mistakes and losing valuable time? The following 5-step approach can be used as a guide to get your business quickly and safely involved in social media.

  1. Plan and measure

Every social media campaign starts with a plan; what are your goals, who do you want to reach and where do you find them, how much time and money are you willing to invest. By putting this carefully in writing and keeping track of everything, you create measurable goals. With the help of tools –some of which are available as ‘freeware’ on the web- you can measure the effect of your campaigns on a regular basis.

  1. Start small and be careful

Don’t start straight away with Facebook AND Twitter AND YouTube AND… Think carefully which medium fits your business. Find out what clients and competitors do. Develop a feel for one medium. Develop your profile, make sure the information about your business is complete as well as representative. Build from there and expand your network.

  1. Communication is not the same as promotion

Have you ever managed to get a new client by telling him how wonderful you are? Social media are not suitable for sales talk but meant for serious, honest communication. Listen, ask questions and respond to online comments. Especially to the negative ones! The main issue is to come across as authentic and reliable – just like your products.

  1. Give freely of your time and do it with passion

And I thought it didn’t take much time! Time which we haven’t got. Well, it’s not about spending a lot of time, it’s about spending time on social media consistently over a long time. Even if it’s only ten minutes a day. If you are not seriously and passionately engaged, you might as well forget it.

  1. Don’t do everything yourself

The classic pitfall of many a small business entrepreneur. Thinking that you need to do everything yourself, while there may be someone in your company who has a passion for social media. Make him or her responsible! And don’t hesitate to engage outside help, it will prevent you from making costly mistakes and losing valuable time.


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