3 Great Social Media Tips for Businesses

When the average high school kid tweets, all they care about is getting the attention of their friends. Since many teens use Twitter as a form of public texting, they aren't overly concerned about what they say. Even if something doesn't come out the way they wanted, it will likely be drowned out by their friends in a matter of minutes.

As a business, using social media brings a different set of challenges. The good news is unless you're a huge corporation, you don't have to worry about every tweet you send being scrutinized. Instead of being concerned about a snafu, the real challenge that most businesses face is figuring out how to wade through all the social media noise and actually connect with prospects and customers.

Since using social media as a marketing tool can feel like searching for treasure without a map, here are some useful guidelines for getting and staying on the right track:

Focus on Your Industry, Not Your Business

There are plenty of businesses that start using social media, only to end up annoying most of the people they come into contact with. In the worst cases, businesses put themselves in a situation where they're viewed as social media spammers.

The reason that so many businesses find themselves in these positions is because they assume that getting results requires explicitly promoting their business. While this is true for many forms of advertising and marketing, it's actually not the case with social media. Instead, the key is making your business part of larger conversations.

The best way to accomplish this is by focusing on your industry. Just like you wouldn't go to a party or on a date and constantly talk about yourself, your business will see better social media results by conversing about a wide variety of topics.

Listen More Than You Talk

Very few businesses try to be rude through social media. However, a substantial number are perceived that way. This is because businesses usually think that they're supposed to speak up as often as possible. In reality, listening via social media can be just as useful as sending out messages. By devoting a portion of your social media efforts to listening and observing, your business will be able to find the problems your customers and prospects are having and then come up with advantageous ways to deal with them.

Stay Focused, But Don't Forget to Experiment

Whether it's Twitter, Facebook or another medium, if you notice that a specific social media site is working really well for your business, you're obviously going to want to focus most of your efforts on it. While that's a smart move, it's important to still save a little bit of your time and resources for other sites. Social media is constantly evolving, so it's a good idea to have roots in more than one place.

How has social media impacted your business during 2012?

About The Author

Brian Waraksa

Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.

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