Just because someone has 1,000 Facebook friends and Tweets every hour on the hour doesn’t mean that they’re a good social media manager for a business. They certainly can be, and many of these skills are transferable, but there’s a big difference between personal social media and business social media. For small businesses and startups, it’s important to keep these differences in mind – they may be few and far between, especially at the beginning, but they will only become more important as time goes on.
The differences in approach, posts, feedback and general social media presence between personal and business is vast. For example, you probably won’t be posting about what you had for lunch on your business site (unless of course you operate a restaurant or work in the grocery business). Before treating your business social media as personal, make sure these simple guidelines are in place.
Remember the End Goal
With a business media site, the goal is to foster an online community of your customers. Your aim is to tantalize, excite and improve the bottom line. It’s still business, even if there are hash tags involved. This means you need to offer them something of value. For example, if you manage a holistic addiction treatment clinic, you might offer daily tips on living with addiction. T-shirt printing shops might give away an item weekly, such as popular but overstocked merchandise.
You need to approach each post and response with marketing in mind. Ideally, you have someone with a marketing background on your team. If not, remember that short and sweet is paramount. Social media isn’t built for epic poetry. Get to the point, make every word count and give your community something they really want.
Reply at Lightning Speed
It takes most businesses a while before people are actually commenting or in-boxing messages. When you do get to that point, reply right away. It’s smart to have your social media business app on your smartphone so you’re instantly notified if someone’s reaching out. People expect instant gratification, so do what you can to deliver it.
It’s also much easier to get into online arguments and even flame wars on social media sites. Resist this at all costs. However, don’t delete comments or posts from people unless they are abusive, offensive, or illegal. Instead, remain professional and use online criticism constructively. Don’t just take it from me – take it from Chick-Fil-A’s 2012 social media crisis.
If you become good at responding quickly and accurately to problems that are brought to your attention on social media, this can become a real boon for your business – leverage the great customer service potential here!
Don’t Take On More Than You Can Handle
Not every business flourishes on social media. Sometimes, it’s because no one has the time to manage it. If you’re already working 80 hours per week and only have a couple of people on staff who are just as overworked as you are, you probably don’t have the time. Social media management requires at least 30 minutes per day, every day, to succeed; then, once you reach success, it can become a full-time job all on its own!
It’s equally important not to jump on every social media site just because it’s there. Go where your customers are, and only if you have the time. No social media presence is better than a flailing one, so choose wisely.