Do’s and Don’ts for a Happy Social (Media) Life

If you just started up a blog, twitter feed, or Facebook page for your small business, congratulations! We applaud the desire to broaden your customer base using this avenue of interaction. Are you a newbie to the social media world? Do you have a full calendar of posts or topics ready to go? Are they everything they 1should be? Do you have no idea even where to begin or what the protocols are to maintaining a social media page?

The advice below might seem like common sense, but being aware of these do’s and don’ts can make a big difference with likes, sharing, and customer approval of your page.

Don’t get too friendly. That doesn’t mean page managers need to be cold, or even cool, to visitors. It does mean they need to stay professional and impersonal. Scale back on TMI (Too Much Information). Remember that this isn’t a personal blog or twitter page, this is one of your business faces – quite possibly your most user friendly page, making you easily accessible to millions. Customers don’t want to know what you ate for breakfast, unless it pertains to your business.

Do have fun. People like positive, happy people. It comes through in a person’s writing voice, regardless of their intention. It’s especially important that whoever manages your social media page does so with a balanced perspective. Customers will be offended if a page manager takes a serious issue too lightly. They’ll also be turned off by a manager who regularly treats lighter issues like he’s Atlas holding up the world. A zest for life is beneficial to the success of your social media page because it acts like a people magnet. Think, ‘Young at heart.”

Don’t be antagonistic. Being snide, patronizing, or sarcastic toward those who comment is a sure way to narrow your customer base. As customers, we want to believe we are respected, and the first step in respect is a suspension of negativity. Even if you profoundly disagree with a customer, do so with respect and professionalism. If you really want to be safe, don’t limit this rule to engaging with commenters.

Do engage with commenters. If someone leaves comments on your page, even negative ones, be happy! They cared enough to respond, rather than just clicking out. If it’s a criticism, acknowledge their complaint, and tell them what is being done to deal with the issue, or why nothing is being done. Customers might disagree with a company’s reasons, but knowing them is the first step to transparency. And transparency creates a reputation of reliability. Whatever you do, don’t ignore visitors! Thank them every so often, perhaps even with a product discount.

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Don’t engage in flame wars. Sometimes a commenter might leave an inflammatory comment on your page. It sits there loaded and waiting for just the right spark to blow up your page. Leaving it on your page can cause a commenting thread that goes crazy. But that could result in more shares, and more shares are always good. On the other hand, leaving it without responding to it could make it seem like your company waffles on the issue. If you do engage, be careful. Be professional.

Do pick your battles. If you really care about an issue, showing that you are willing to take a stand can gain you the admiration of the public. Whatever the issues are, make sure posts are representative of what the company stands for. Saving face is never fun for anyone. Defending your position on things that matter to you will help define your company. But that doesn’t mean be defensive. So when you do feel like you need to assert your opinion on something controversial, do so with as much reason, and as little undue emotion, as possible. Customers don’t want vanilla, they do want respect and professionalism.          

Don’t clutter with inconsequential posts. This can be a hard rule to follow for a person new to the social media world. Where is the customer’s “I don’t care” line? Similar to the “TMI Rule,” not posting inconsequential things means staying away from trite commentary, information disconnected from your product, or useless information. If we are fans of your rental equipment page, we don’t want to be seeing shares on ISIS (unless terrorism is somehow affecting your business). Whatever the post is, if it doesn’t seem relevant to your business, make sure you show the connection, or risk leaving your customers scratching their heads.

Do pick one of the big marketing three with each post: amuse, inform, or inspire. Our society is notorious for being short on time. Hence the tweet (aka, the mini blog). We want things fast, yesterday, and if time consuming, as streamlined and to the point as possible. Keeping your posts to one of the three above (inspiring, amusing, or informing) ensures your social media posts are pertinent to the reader. If they are going to like your page, it is because they have discovered some sort of utility involved – be that of education, enjoyment, or hope. Give them a reason to engage with you, to share your posts and your page, and to come back for more.

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The Changing Face Of YouTube

Like every business known to man, YouTube exists to make money. Gone are the good old days when digital age dinosaurs like myself thought of YouTube merely as a home video-sharing platform. When my brother-in-law tells me to look up a tutorial on YouTube on how to take apart my laptop, when I can watch a movie length web series remake of Pride and Prejudice in two to three minute clips, when beauty vloggers are becoming the face of Marshalls, I know YouTube has a much wider sphere of influence than I previously thought. It’s reality TV, sure, but with the right methodology and strategy, it can be a highly effective tool for a business.

Are you tapping in?

For those of us who have protested the ever-progressing changes of the digital age, the idea of using YouTube as a marketing tool can sound both terrifying and exhilarating. Young people with their own cooking channels and stylists shows have attracted thousands of followers with their fearless and intrepid, if simple, video work. All this, while we’ve floundered around using the classic marketing tools of flyers, cold calls, and mailers, and seeing pathetic percentages on return.

Do you YouTubeThe tried and true methods need to be revamped given the abilities of modern media outlets. The days of paper, while not over, don’t stand a chance. At least not when it comes to marketing. Paper flyers and advertisements simply don’t have the effect businesses need in order to spread the word to a wider audience.

Entrepreneurs can now reach thousands of potential customers. Some, like certain indie artists, can reach such a height of popularity from a single video posted on YouTube, that their meager following explodes into serious business and record deals.

It’s time that small business owners afraid to jump on board modern technology realize that their traction and growth can be exponentially increased by embracing all the possibilities presented us through the digital marketplace. With constant access to a wealth of information, if businesses want to be remembered by viewers, they can’t be afraid to embrace the more personal aspect of being online.

We viewers want to know that businesses are in tune with us. We want to know that they know what we want. Or we’ll take our business elsewhere.

So now that you’ve been sold on why it’s necessary to bone up on the latest digital marketing possibilities, you might be wondering, what are the basics involved with successfully engaging a YouTube audience?

Marketing strategy from across the internet seems to agree on several basic principles. There are a veritable plethora of articles on marketing strategy and easily found, so I encourage you to explore vigorously.

Nevertheless, as with any marketing or public relations strategy, the most important principal is to ensure that your video informs, educates or entertains. Seems basic, but even huge companies are only just realizing that they aren’t receiving the same number of hits as Julie Jolene the Make-up Queen who shoots make-up tutorials out of her bathroom. Why? Because they are failing to provide viewers with something they actually want.

Viewers don’t go to YouTube for an advertisement (although they’ll suffer through them), unless that advertisement is informing, educating, or entertaining.

If you decide that YouTube is a good fit for your business, don’t fall prey to YouTube mismanagement. Do your research. Figure out what would be something your customers would want to see. And then don’t be afraid that your video isn’t a studio production. The beauty of YouTube, as a “grassroots” platform is still there in all its simplicity.