Our clients are constantly asking us about social media and how it can help their online business and reputation. We always start with the basics. Opening a Facebook page for your business is simple enough and all small businesses should consider it. It doesn’t cost anything but a little bit of your time (or ours). Word of mouth has always been an important part of any small business – who doesn’t like referrals. The flipside is that the Internet has made it even easier for those that don’t like your business to bash it online. We’ve seen restaurants go out of business due to bad reviews posted on places like Yelp. So how do you go about protecting your online reputation? Be proactive. Don’t wait for things to go wrong before committing time and energy to your social media accounts. Try to post things to your Facebook page once a week if possible. What should you post? Specials, seasonal news related to your business, discount offers (so people come back), new products or services you offer, etc. Twitter has really taken off in the last year or so and many companies have opened up a Twitter handle. Not a bad idea to at least get your business name on Twitter – think something like Twitter.com/Coke. At least you’ll own your name on Twitter and no one else can snake in and take it. Pinterest is another excellent social media site – think photos. Post photos of your latest work if you are a carpenter or upload pictures of clothes if you run a boutique. Pinterest can be shared by users and so with a little help from your friends you can promote your business for free. Yes, all these social media accounts do take time to manage, so be prepared. We often recommend setting a side a certain day or time each month to look at your social media accounts and take care of them all at once.
One option is to hire a local social media guru and have them update your accounts. Usually cost about $100 to $200 a month, but it can work in your favor if that consultant is good at what they do. Much like anything else in the online world, if you leave social media on the back burner, other companies and businesses will get their services listed online in front of potential customers and you will lose business. You can’t neglect this aspect of online marketing. Embrace it and become knowledgeable of Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Pinterest at the least.