With the rise in popularity of social media services, there’s a great deal of pressure on every business to become adept at social media marketing. Social media marketing doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are seven social media tips for small businesses to get started on creating an excellent social media presence.

1. Stick to the basics.
It seems like every day, a new social media service pops up. However, the big players in the game have mostly remained the same: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Updating social media services takes time and effort, so it’s best to be realistic about what you can handle. Sign up for the most well-known social media services, but leave out the new, trendy services. Most of those new services will be a flash in the pan, and not worth your time.

2. Find out which social media services your industry uses the most.

Some industries will have a large presence on certain social media sites, but not others. Industries that are more traditional might center around LinkedIn discussion groups, while other trendier industries might center around Twitter and hashtags. Do your research and find out whether your industry has a preference so you can put most of your effort into that social media service, rather than wasting your time sending out updates that won’t reach anyone.

3. Make sure your company information is in your social media profiles.
It might seem obvious, but make sure your company’s contact information, website address, and product information is in your social media profiles. You want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to connect with you through social media, and making them hunt for your contact information can alienate a potential customer before you’ve even gotten a chance to connect with them.

4. Designate someone to update your social media services on a regular schedule.
There’s no point in having a social media presence for your company if you’re not going to send out updates regularly. Many companies sign up for social media services, knowing that they need to “be on Twitter,” or “be on Facebook,” but never update their accounts. It’s just as bad for a customer to stumble upon an abandoned Twitter account with one update from four years ago as it is to have no account at all.

Designate one person or a team of people to adhere to a rigid schedule of posting regularly. Every day is best, but once a week is better than nothing, and more realistic for companies who don’t have a large marketing department. The more you update your account, the more reason people will have to “like,” “follow,” or engage with your business.

5. Share industry updates and news stories that have nothing to do with your business.
Some smaller companies are intimidated when it comes to social media, because it seems like the only appropriate time to post an update is when there is big, company-related news. That doesn’t have to be the case. For smaller companies that don’t have many press releases or announcements to make, sharing news stories related to the industry and general items of interest is a good way to make sure to have enough content to post regularly.

6. Check to see what your competitors are doing.
Chances are, you know who the big players and competitors in your industry are. Do some research to see what they are doing on social media sites. How frequently are they sending out updates? Are they doing anything smart or innovative? Try to observe the positives and negatives from your competitors, and use that knowledge to make your company’s social media presence better.

7. Show the human side of your company with photos and updates.
The type of content that your social media followers enjoy might surprise you. Your customers will like seeing what’s happening behind-the-scenes. A photo of your employees doing their job with a personal caption allows your followers to see the human side of your company. Try mixing in a few updates like this, especially if most of your content contains links to wordy press releases or industry jargon.


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