The following post was written by Danielle Antosz, a freelance writer for legacybegins.com.
You know social networking sites are an important aspect of running a successful business, but do you know what to do once you put your business there? Follow these five rules to make the very most of social networking sites and get them to work for your company.
1. You can’t just be a business. Social networking sites are foremost about being social. Sure, tell your friends/follower that you have a new products in or that you are now offering new services but you also need to build a relationship with your friends/follower so they look at what you post. Mix up purely promotional posts with interesting links or questions that will start conversations among your followers. Keep in mind that most social networking sites allow users to block pages from showing in their feed. If your posts are too frequent or annoying, your followers will block your posts and never even see them.
2. You must give in order to get. Offer your followers a coupon or freebie for following you or checking in at your business. Use twitter to announce flash discounts “Stop by in the next two hours for a free brownie!”. Make it fun, and make it worth it. “Come see Jenna at the store and mention purple dinosaurs for a 15% discount between 2 and 4.” or “Check in on Foursquare for a free small coffee!”. Just remember that networking is not a one way street. You need to give your followers a reason to pay attention to you.
3. Use Social Networking to Get Feedback. Social networking sight provide a unique opportunity for businesses to get honest, direct feedback from their customers. Ask for suggestion, ask what you did great what you can do better. For example: “We are looking at two new product lines, what do you guys think? <link 1> and <link 2>” You should expect to get both positive and negative feed back, and that is fine. You will find people are far more likely to be honest from their computer chair. Use the opportunity to find out what your customers really think and build your company.
4. Stick With It! You may get frustrated when you are not able to engage your customers right away. But don’t stop updating! Add new pictures and respond to questions about merchandise, make sure you share upcoming sales or the debut of new product lines. Try coupons, quizzes and even contests to get your fans engaging on your site. Not every group will respond the same, but keep trying. Social networking is an amazing tool if you can truly connect with your customers or future customers.
5. Participate! Make sure you are interacting with other people on blogs and social networking sites. Remember that these are SOCIAL networking sites, not business networking sites. Make sure you are actually socializing with your followers. You wouldn’t show up to a Halloween party at someones house and start spouting your sales pitch, would you? Don’t do it on social sites, either.