March 15, 2012 - by Michael Raia |
Small Business Social Media Guide (Part 3: Advanced Tips)
In Part 1 of this series we helped you dive into Social Media. In Part 2 we helped you start swimming in the Social sea. In this third installment, we’ll help you swim more efficiently and teach you a few new strokes so you can make a real splash. As it turns out, we had more to say than we thought. Instead of three installments, there will be four. This post will focus on advanced tips for Blogging and Twitter, and the final installment will focus on Facebook, Google+ and Social Listening. And we’re off…
Think from your potential reader/prospect/customer’s standpoint. What matters to them? Not necessarily about your specific product, but what, in general, matters to them and what connection does that have to what you do? For instance, you may provide home inspection services that people only need once in a while. However, people always need tips for keeping their homes safe and working properly. You could post regularly about common household problems and how to recognize them. A restaurant could blog about recipes and home party planning.
Look for the Crazy
Every business has crazy stories. In our case, for instance, we did a series of posts about the bizarre places our GPS tracking system
helped our customers find their drivers. This included everywhere from public parks to Atlantic City. Do your customers tell you crazy stories about how your product helped them? That’s great material!
Write Compelling Headlines
Don’t be afraid to push the envelope when it comes to writing headlines. We’re not saying to outright lie, but make your blog posts sound fresh and exciting. Why say “Three Reasons You Should Rent Widgets from ABC Company” when you could say “3 Ways Renting Widgets Will Change Your Life?” Sure, it’s probably tongue in cheek, but if you write something truly entertaining or educational, you will be forgiven.
Look for Guests
There are two types of guests we often look to. One type is an outside writer who writes about topics relevant to our audience. We’ve had outside writers talk about auto and truck insurance, for instance. We’re not insurance experts, but we know our audience is interested in the topic for their fleets. Where to find outside blog writers? Try Blogger Link Up (http://www.bloggerlinkup.com/
), a service that emails you each day with opportunities to find guest writers (or do some guest writing of your own).
The other type of guest we like is even better, customers. We have a place for our customer to come and post stories about their experiences with our GPS tracking software
and they tell better stories than we could come up with. Ask your customers to tell their stories and offer a little thank you (free visit, discounted product, etc.) for their time. When a prospect reads about how much your customers get out of your product, they’ll be a lot more open to your pitch.
Make a List
People love lists and they’re fairly easy to write. Again, think about things your audience is likely interested in and connect it to what you do.
- People want to be safe. You’re an electrician. How about “5 Home Electrical Tips That Might Save Your Life?”
- People like to throw parties. You’re a pool installer. How about “7 Surprising Ways to Party in Your Pool.”
- People hate cleaning. You’re a maid service. How about “10 Amazing Tips from the Pros to Spend Less Time Cleaning.”
Make Your Profile Useful
A lot of companies on Twitter fail to take advantage of the limited space Twitter gives you to explain what you’re all about, your Profile. Make sure to include contact information like a phone number and email address as well as an elevator pitch
. If there’s room, talk about the types of things you tweet about as well.
Where You @?
Twitter was never intended to be a one-way communication vehicle and the best way to get conversations started is by using @. When you use the @ symbol plus another person’s Twitter name (or “handle”), they are alerted that you mentioned them. They may respond, they may start following you, they may ignore you completely. The important thing is you’re opening connections.
Share The Love
The best way to keep a steady stream of tweets going AND open communication is by retweeting other people’s tweets. Retweets serve several purposes:
- You don’t have to keep coming up with your own content.
- People can see that you retweeted them and may follow you or mention you.
- Retweeting customers (or other companies if you’re B2B) raises awareness of your company.
- Helps you appear “connected.”
Try a Tool
There are hundreds of great tools to help you get more out of Twitter. It’s to the point that a lot of people never actually go to Twitter.com, they instead use Twitter through a third-party application. Some of these applications take Twitter to the next level, allowing you to see more of what’s going on, find great people to follow, and even measure how well you’re using it. Here are some great tools to check out:
Use Hash Tags
Hash tags are simply a way of indicating what your tweet is about. For instance, if you tweet about gas prices going up you might finish with #gasprices or #fuel. The cool thing is that when someone searches Twitter for the term “gas prices,” your tweet will come up (along with all the other tweets that put #gasprices in their tweet). Hash tags are also useful when you’re looking for similar tweeters to follow or network with. Just search a topic using Twitter’s search tool and see who else is interested in the topic.
Check out the 4th and final post
in our Social Media for Small Business series on Facebook and Google+.
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