Using social networks to promote small businesses

By | August 19, 2012

This article is about using social networks to promote small businesses.

You can successfully use social networks to promote small businesses, but many fail to be successful, and there are many hurdles. Plus once you stop updating the social network, the traffic to your main website can die down.

Note: You use any advice or information within this blog post at your own risk.

It is important that you use social networks as part of a larger marketing strategy, often as a conduit to growing a mailing list or newsletter. That way when the updates are quiet, some of the traffic has been moved to other communication methods, enabling you to engage with people via one stream, who originally discovered you via a variety of social networks.

Many people fail to find a balance in their social network use, when promoting their small business. Often an update will be shared, that on hindsight shouldn’t of been, and sometimes a person will become perhaps too personal, to the extent they are neglecting other small business tasks.

You also don’t just have to be engaging on social networks, but can also use social networks to share links to content, such as blog posts, images, web page updates and videos. These updates in turn, could potentially be shared, aka ‘retweeted’, which could have SEO benefits, as well as getting more traffic to your site.

Sometimes a business will dilute their social network presence with multiple accounts, which can either hinder or help the social network engagement. You must make sure your core social network accounts are being properly utilised, and also be careful not to fall foul of duplicate content sharing, such as retweeting your own tweets via Twitter across multiple accounts, which is frowned upon, and potentially could see you banned.

Social networks can be a good way for small businesses to show insight, and enable you to perhaps be more responsive than larger business can be at times. Through building up a following, perhaps with many of the business’s followers also following each other, people will at times, be able to see when you go the extra distance for your customers.

Social networks can be a time hog, they can stop you from getting on with your core work as well as being a potentially PR nightmare. It is wise to put together a social network policy and procedure, and make all employees tweeting on behalf of the business or on business matters, stick to the policy and procedure, even if that means they are not allowed to discuss their business activity on social networks.

Don’t forget to integrate social network features into your website, not just for people to share your links on networks, but also for you to maximise the benefits of traffic coming from social networks, such as displaying Twitter hashtags through a promotion.

About the guest author: David often writes about Darlington website builders, amongst other topics.