Today, we invite Megan Trevarthen, Big small Brands’ Marketing Coordinator, to share another guest post with us. Thanks, Megan!
5 Tips for Social Media Newbies, By Megan Trevarthen
I have a small confession to make: prior to working with Social Media for Big Small Brands, I hated it. I saw Social Media as the demise of face-to-face interaction. And, in a way, I was right. However, in the past few months I’ve undertaken starting up a Twitter and Facebook site for clients and I’ve come to learn that while business interactions may be increasingly done on a virtual platform, the same rules of social etiquette apply, whether you are at a party or using your Twitter account.
Still, I recognize that Social Media can be intimidating for beginners (like me!). So, I’ve compiled a few basic musings to help get the most out of your Social Media Marketing efforts. No matter how much Social Media evolves, these rules will always be the same:
1. Make the right friends.
Say you’re at a networking event. If you only have one hour to make connections, most likely your best plan of action would not be to talk to every person there, frantically passing out your business card. You would ideally want to spend more time with fewer people and find out who’d make the most meaningful connections for you or your business.
Going into Social Media, keep in mind that while gaining a lot of Followers is a good long-term goal, you want to be most concerned with making connections that are relevant to you and getting those people to engage with you. I recently participated in a webinar by Likeable Media, “How Brands Can Leverage Facebook’s Timeline & Newest Changes,” and one of the things they talked about was the rumor that Facebook will soon stop showing how many people “Like” a page on public profiles. Why is this being considered? Because people have become so obsessed with gathering a large following that they don’t properly engage.
Bottom line: Following 1000 people at random may get you Followers quickly, but it will be largely superficial and won’t reap the same benefits as actively researching and engaging with pertinent people and conversations.
2. Keep your promises.
In the real world, if you tell a client you’ll do something, not completing the task will ultimately make you look less credible. I’ve learned first-hand through my experiences running Facebook and Twitter accounts that people expect you to follow through and they will remember when you make promises and don’t keep them.
On that note, it’s extremely important to relay honest information on Social Media. If you post a link, be sure it is authentic and cite your sources. People are more likely to trust a business or an individual who they find reliable and genuine, just like you probably prefer not to surround yourself with flaky people in the real world.
3. The more you engage – the more people will like you.
Say that you make a connection with someone at the aforementioned networking party who helps set you up with a meeting with a great new client. What would happen if you didn’t send a “Thank You” letter?
When people are behind a computer, they often disassociate themselves with the most elementary rules of social etiquette. In order to be successful in Social Media, don’t forget the simple art of “Please” and “Thank You,” …and always, always respond to your customers and prospects!
4. You may get some unwanted aggression/advice.
The truth is, not everyone is going to like you or your business all the time. A potential issue with Social Media is that it gives people more platforms to speak their minds and you’ll probably find yourself facing a negative Wall Post or Mention at some point or another.
There is some good news coming. According to the Likeable Media webinar, Facebook is planning on incorporating Private Messages for Fan Pages for the first time when Timeline officially launches at the end of the month. This may take potential complaints away from the public sphere; however, whether you are dealing with a public or private complaint, it crucial to respond, resolve, and develop deeper relationships with fans.
5. It can eat up your life.
Social Media needs constant attention to grow properly. Many newbies become either quickly demotivated, or start strong and then slack off. On the other hand, social media can become quite addictive; you can easily spend hours researching hashtags, people to follow, and articles you come across in your searches.
To help with your start-up, I suggest making a document or schedule with pre-written, interesting posts ready so you have them in your arsenal. That way, you always have things ready to talk about and the plan will help you keep up and post regularly.
While Social Media is ever-changing, the rules of conduct will always generally be the same. If you follow the social rules that you obey in the real world, you will likely be successful in the Social Media realm.
If you’re interested in moving in Social Media for your small business, check out our previous post “Get Socially Savvy Round-Up: 6 Questions to Ask Before You Go – or Grow – Social” and also my first guest post on getting started in Social Media: “Get Sociall Savvy: Megan Trevarthen’s Reflections.”