A few years ago I re-read Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and discovered how bad-tempered all the characters (including Alice) seem to be. Users of Social Media are a bit like Alice. Perhaps when they first fall down the rabbit hole, this new world is amazing; it affords glimpses into so many worlds! But as the novelty wears off and Alice explores, this world becomes increasingly infuriating.
There are millions of people out there and most seem to be angry. The Brexit vote is a recent example. Annoyed Remainers blame Brexiters for the pointlessness of their enterprise and annoyed Brexiters blame Remainers for not seeing the reasonableness of Brexit. The debate has rumbled on over the months and Mr and Ms Angry are still out there, although for the moment they seem to occupy the left of the political spectrum.
I’m inclined to respond to the question: how do I use Social Media to market my business? with “are you out of your mind?” But perhaps that is an angry response. So, I’ll offer a few thoughts that might be helpful.
A Few Social Media Guidelines
- Remember, you do not own your chosen platforms and businesses can have their membership suspended. Usually, this is because someone (or more likely a robot) has decided the business is spamming. If this is not true, it can still take a long time to have your membership reinstated. So, the message is: don’t allow your business to depend on social media alone and certainly not one platform.
- One way to mitigate the risk is to encourage followers and friends to visit your website. Once they are there, the ones who are interested will sign up to your email list. You have a lot more control over your email list than you do over any social media account.
- Have a clear goal for your social media activity
- Be clear about your business identity on your social media site. It is better to have at least one platform solely dedicated to your business. Don’t mix in personal stuff or things like politics or religion. You could decide to use Twitter for business and Facebook for personal. Linked-In will always be a business site. You can have personal and business Twitter accounts and on Facebook you can have a business page as well as your personal account.
- Use your business social media to build brand awareness. Use your website to sell stuff and social media to present your identity – preferably helpful and not angry like Alice.
- Always post useful stuff and don’t spam, ie don’t try to sell stuff through social media, except through recognised sales channels, eg Facebook adverts.
- If you know of businesses making similar offers to yours, look at how they use social media. Don’t just copy them, do it better!
- Once you’ve worked out your approach, get content posted – keep in the public eye and don’t worry too much – your postings are ephemeral and so be realistic about the time you devote to each.
- Link your blog posts to your social media sites so that your posts appear automatically on your chosen platforms.
Do you have any tips for using social media to promote businesses or causes?