Small Business Professor: Using Social Media To Help Your Small Business

By Bruce Freeman
The Small Business Professor

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Small business expert Bruce Freeman suggests polling your existing clientele via email or phone to evaluate your customer base and figure out how they best respond to marketing/communication (is it twitter, facebook, pinterest?)

The Small Business Professor

Q: I am a small-business owner. Everyone tells me I need to have a presence on social media to grow my business, but I have no idea on how to get started. How can I take advantage of this resource?

A: Getting started on social media is easy. It’s maintaining your presence that is hard.

Begin by evaluating your customer base. Some people respond better to Facebook posts and tweets than information shared on business-focused sites like LinkedIn.

You can do this by polling your existing clientele via email or phone or by using an online polling service such as Zoomerang.

Once that’s done, you’ll need to create an online identity, in the name of your business and perhaps in your name as well.

All the major social media sites have simplified this process. If you’re using Facebook, you’ll want to focus on creating a business page dedicated to your entrepreneurial venture.

A personal profile is another matter, though one could be used to complement what you’re doing on your business-dedicated page.

The major social media sites will ask permission to send “invitations to connect” to everyone on your contact list.

Just click yes and let them do the work.

Post to these sites and respond to comments every day, hiring a web-savvy high school or college student to do this legwork if need be.

Browse the internet for articles related to your business and post links to them on your business page. You can also use this page to promote sales or events in your area. Things not related to your business should be reserved for your personal page.

Facebook will offer to advertise your business page to a select number of users for a fee, which is based on the number of people you want to reach daily. You can also pay for services on Twitter that will increase your number of followers, and LinkedIn has a premium service.
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These may be useful to you when starting out, depending on your budget.

Again, it’s essential to stay active on these social media sites. If necessary, hire someone to help out so you can concentrate on the fundamentals of running your business.
Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor and co-author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Random House), is president of ProLine Communications.)

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