In this article you will find the answers for the most asked questions by Small Business on social media subject.
Paul Sackmann from Hootsuite (the most used social media management platform in the world) was our guest at SME Business Academy Interviews Show with Jon Covey (Multi Award Winning Speaker & Motivational Sales/Business Mentor).
Paul shared with us his best tips and business advice for SMEs to get the most out of social media.
Why should a business use social media?
Social media is a place when conversations take place around everything. Businesses should join and use social media to join these conversations. The can make prospects aware they can drive traffic through social media to their websites and they even can drive conversions using social media.
Basically it’s a great benefit to using social media no matter how big or small the business is.
What is the future of social media? Where do you see it going?
It’s really hard to predict where social media is going. Even the big players and big analysts have started predicting no further than towards three years ahead. In a short and midterm the video is going to get even bigger on social media.
Real time communication aspect of social media is also going to be more and more important. Response time are getting shorter and shorter. Apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Periscope are evolving and getting stronger and that’s because people demand information on spot and everything has to happen real time.
What social network best fits business users?
In entirely depends on the kind of business the person is in. Facebook is more or less imperative these days. Everybody is on Facebook, everybody is looking up for stuff on Facebook and it’s important to maintain a presence there. Every business should keep in mind as soon they have a presence on a social media platform they need to maintain it and it means more time and resources to allocate.
What is the biggest mistake people make when using social media for business?
Selling too much. People shouldn’t oversell on social media (most of them with automation). When I start following people on Twitter and two seconds later I have automated message in my inbox like “Hey Paul, do you want to download my free eBook blah blah blah…” I think:
“Come on, we’ve just met each other and you are throwing stuff at me. Why don’t we get to know each other as it’s called “Social Media”. Take some time to know me and you’ll find out if I would even be suitable for your free eBook or whatever you have to offer and if I am not… please spare me because I am overloaded with information.”
Social media levelled the playing field for small businesses vs. large organisations. With social networks limiting post visibility is there still a place for small businesses in social media?
Absolutely and definitely. It all depends on the target group and its size. If you take a Facebook ads for example, the smaller the target group is the less you have to spend on your advertising. As a small business with a relatively small target group, especially local businesses, you don’t have to spend so much on your Facebook advertising.
Twitter and Instagram are definitely a different story but there’s still a lot of benefits for small businesses to using social media. It can be customer service done via social, it’s creating awareness through entertaining content. The smaller but engaged audience provides a lot of visibility and it has a lot of benefits. If we look at the engagement rates of small businesses and compare them with engagement of large corporations the small businesses are actually the winners here.
What’s your top tip for getting the most from social media?
It’s all in the planning. People should be organised and should always keep their goal in mind. That’s most important for being on social media and getting the most of it. It’s kind of ease to lose yourself in the vast ocean of information. So make a plan and, if you need it really, make a schedule and let’s say “Half of that day I invest in social media” and stick to that and don’t get lost in that.
Do you have any free resources i.e. strategy, blueprints/work books that users can download and use as a game plan?
We have various toolkits on our websites so next to our blog we have also resources section on our website where we have a lot of toolkits white papers, guides and templates. I would definitely recommend to check that out. On a daily bases we share practical oriented content on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Plus).
Also my mentor Dan Spicer from Palladium recently started seven weeks email course on “How to win at social” which people can sign up for free entirely.
How users can get the verified status from Facebook/twitter? Are there any tips?
I am afraid no. It depends entirely on a network to verify your account.
I haven’t been applying for our accounts to be verified even though some of our regional channels have been verified. I didn’t have any part in it.
You can apply for it and there’re to ways to do it. If the Twitter or Facebook recognise you and they verify you without you asking for it or you can apply for it. If you go to support.twitter.com you can search for verified it and there’s basically frequently asked questions section where you can get information on how to get verified. Twitter even have @verify so you can send them a DM and request to be verified but you need to fulfil certain requirements and if you don’t or you’re just a “too small player” I am afraid there’s nothing you can do.
What kind of requirements there are? The most basic one is if you are a public figure for example or really big public brand so for SMEs it’s more difficult.
I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s just a little badge next to your account and at the end of the day it’s all about information you are sharing and the way you’re behaving and managing your social. If you are doing good job you don’t need to be verified to get recognition.
Are there any big No No’s, what shouldn’t be done?
Not really. Actually applying common sense always help. Is this a way how I want to be perceived, is this a way how a brand that I like should be talking. Everyone has a different way to win at social and I don’t think there’s the one way of doing something right or wrong.
What priority order would you place on social networks i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc.?
Facebook is a good place to start. It depends on the target audience and target group where your users are most active. If we look at younger generations you see that some niche groups and niche markets won’t work on some networks (Facebook vs. Snapchat) so it’s quite hard to put a priority there.
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