« Small business expert sheds light on fiscal cliff, growth issues | Main | Young entrepreneur already making a difference »

Our top 5 tips to improve your #SocialMedia efforts

By Susan Linning

SusanlinningdownloadSo you’ve jumped on the #SocialMedia bandwagon and have opened accounts on every social media platform under the sun: a professional, customized, Facebook fan page, a Twitter and Google+ account, and even a LinkedIn page to keep up with your professional connections. You’ve experimented with YouTube and Pinterest in order to appeal to a more visually oriented audience.  Now, you may find yourself asking, “What’s next?”

There’s a big difference between simply participating in social media marketing and developing a quality social media presence. Below, find some of our top tips for making the most out of your online initiatives.

Be original: While there’s definitely something to be said for retweets and posting industry articles/links, be sure to include original information and to banter with your online audience, too. Make your posts and tweets interesting, informative, engaging and FUN. Your fans/followers want a unique reason to like/follow you instead of the 500 other similar businesses out there.

Network with other businesses: It may seem counterintuitive to follow your competitors on Twitter, or to “like” their pages on Facebook, but connecting with your competition via social media can be extremely valuable.  Not only will these networking efforts keep you abreast of the latest industry trends, promotions and marketing tactics, but you may also be able to establish cross-promotions or develop a mutually beneficial online relationship.

Spelling and grammar go a long way: Even though this is the age of the Internet, “LOL,” “BFF,” and “OMG,” it’s no excuse to slack on proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. Your audience will appreciate well-written status updates, tweets, and email blasts, and it also reflects well on your business and brand.

Be personal – but not TOO personal: If you run a small business and have established close relationships with your customers and clients, it may be appropriate to add a personal touch to your Facebook updates or tweets. Give a shout out of congratulations to the newlywed couple dining in your restaurant or post a photo of the cute, new puppy a customer brought by your salon, but leave out the images of last night’s meatloaf.

Use visuals: Visuals almost always produce a higher rate of click-throughs, impressions, interactions, likes, retweets, etc. Remember that you only have a small window of opportunity to grab your audience’s attention. Visuals are a great way to stand out in a newsfeed!

The best way to improve your social media presence is to continuously experiment, pay attention to the level of audience interaction and invest in social media education or online learning opportunities.  
No one is an expert right off the bat!

 Susan Linning is president of ECHO SOCIAL MEDIA + MARKETING of Miami, which develops and executes social media and integrated marketing strategies, creating custom content and maintaining pages on social media platforms. ECHO also provides blogging and copy-writing services.

Read Susan Linning's recent guest post on Pinterest here.