By Lorraine Wolfe

With 350+ social media sites available to you today, it’s really a lot to wrap your head around. You’re probably asking yourself a lot of questions, like:

  • What sites should my business have a presence on?
  • How do I get my page set up?
  • How much time should I spend each day on social media?
  • Is it really worth my time?

Depending on your industry and your customers, investing your time into a social media strategy will reward you with a big payoff – in time.

Before we get started, one of the keys to understanding the effectiveness of building and maintaining your social media strategy is that it’s not some magical button you just push. You can’t set up your company’s Facebook page and then all of a sudden customers start calling you.

The purpose of social media is to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS over time, where you become a trusted, fun, informative voice in your industry for them to “tune into,” almost like setting a preset station on your car radio. Keep that golden rule in mind as you work on executing your social media strategy.

TIP #1: Pick 1 Site and FOCUS Your Efforts

You’re just one person – you can’t adequately maintain Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yelp, YouTube, and Google+ all at once. Sure, if you’re a Fortune 500, you have a team of social media strategists updating all those sites for you full-time! But in reality, if you try to stay on top of every social media site at once, THAT would become your full-time job…and you’ve got a business to run!

Create either a Facebook business page or a LinkedIn profile page linked to your LinkedIn company page. Twitter is popular, but it requires a lot more constant daily content in order to keep fresh. Whichever you choose, make that page your business’s one-stop shop.

TIP #2: Post Something Fresh Each Day

There’s nothing worse than arriving on a business’s Facebook page and seeing it hasn’t been updated for 4 months. It gives the impression that you either aren’t active, are inept at this whole “new-fangled technology thing” or that you might have gone out of business. If you can’t dedicate yourself to updating your page frequently – at least once a week – it’s better not to have a page at all. Having fresh content really helps you connect with your followers. Posting frequently gets your name in front of the eyes of your customers every day. Even if they’re not looking to buy your stuff today, they might be ready tomorrow. You’ve got to be there to remind them.

Take 15 minutes each day to get things moving on your page. Start taking pictures of your office or store. Introduce new members of your team. Start a “customer of the week” program. Ask for feedback from your followers. Engagement opportunities are endless, which brings us to…

TIP #3: Share Engaging, Relevant Content

Content is king. One mistake I made when getting started updating the ole company Facebook page was thinking I needed to create brand new content every time I wanted to share information with our followers. THAT was overwhelming! Until I realized that I was already spending a lot of time reading articles and news about things that affect small businesses.

Now when I read something cool, I share it on our page! Consider your primary customers: what would help them? What would they be interested in reading? Whatever it is, share it on your page. Over time, you become a great resource to them for interesting, helpful stuff!

For example, a local dog obedience business I follow shares news about dog training best practices, top dog foods, overcoming behavioral issues and dogs available at the local shelter. Because I’m interested in those things (and I’m a customer of hers), I follow and read those updates and it positions her as someone who’s really involved in her industry. You can engage your customers in this way, as long as you can figure out what they want to see.

TIP #4: Social Networking – Offline

I JUST learned this one, and it’s really effective for B2B relationships. In order for this to be really easy, you’ve got to join your local chamber of commerce. They have all these networking events where you meet TONS of prospects, and get OODLES of leads. Once you’ve got their cards, go find them on LinkedIn or Facebook. Write them a quick note so they remember you, then FRIEND or FOLLOW them. They’ll be happy to build their own networks, and they’ll especially appreciate the “Like” on their business page. Plus it makes you look like you “get it” – you know, this whole social media thing.

TIP #5: Ask Questions. Post Offers.

What you really want to do is find ways to get your followers to ENGAGE with you. Ask their opinion of something, or ask them what they think of the ProBowl coming before the SuperBowl. You’re able to start a CONVERSATION this way, and it helps you appear more human than just “some company online.” Posting offers does this, too, but it elicits a direct response from your reader. Try posting a $10 Off coupon as your status message and see what kind of traffic it drives to your business.

To get weekly tips on how to better manage your business’s social media presence along with helpful SMB marketing advice and payments industry news, “LIKE” Velocity Merchant Services on Facebook:

As Illinois’ leading credit card payments processor for small to medium-sized businesses, Velocity Merchant Services is dedicated to providing business owners with all the tools they need to run their company better. By the way…find out how you can save 30% or more on your credit card payments processing THIS MONTH by visiting ASAP!

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