Social Media and your business

Many business owners today are hearing about Social Media.  They want it, but do not understand exactly how to use it. Do I set up a Facebook page? I already have a website and pay my local phone book company for a listing, they set up everything for me. Why am I on Yelp?  Why on earth should I Twitter? Phone apps are for kids (read under 40 here). these are questions that I run into all the time.  I personally come from a family of small business owners, from large to small, some successful, some not.  I have had to explain this over and over, so I thought I would address these issues here, one by one.  Lets tackle the most common one: Facebook.

While Facebook has its perks and major benefits, for the business owner it has drawbacks which need to be addressed BEFORE setting up an account.  The first is – personal profile vs company page.  This is crucial you understand the difference.  Many owners have set up a “personal” profile (or had their front desk person do it) then made as many friends as possible.  While this is not “wrong” it is not in your best interest.  A personal profile CANNOT be seen if you are not logged into Facebook, so you are eliminating many potential customers right there.  Also, a personal profile requires a single email and password, which is not a good idea to have to redo every time you change an employee.  You cannot make Facebook “deals” or “promote” your personal profile.  It is a social network, and that is it.   Set up one for yourself, set your privacy (Social Media and your business – Part 2), then create a “company” page.  My suggestion, make friends with everyone you know, and put them into lists, the most important being: family, your business reach (city, county, state), friends, business associates, etc.  Do this right from the start, it will save you a lot of time in the future.

Create a company page.  Facebook actually has great instructions on how to do this, so I will just highlight, as I am trying to help you figure out what and why, not how.  Have handy on your computer pictures, logos, videos, company testimonials, your slogan or mission statement (this needs to be 140 CHARACTERS only, more on why in part 2), the slogan needs to contain keywords regarding your business and, if possible, your business name. An example that I did for a client is “Diamond Lils Saloon is the hottest bar in Big Bear City”.  I included the name of the business, the type, the location.  Simple and short – you will be married to this slogan so, think about it or skip it until you think of something real clever.  Time is on your side, this takes a while to set up and maintain.  Now let Facebook walk you through the setup.  Next, remember those lists I told you about on your “personal” profile?  Invite everyone to like your page.  You will need 25 likes to change to a custom URL and 30 to gain insights (stats).

Often times you will not get your company name as your custom URL for Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and others.  I recommend you look into all (once again Social Media and your business part 2) and see if the name is available BEFORE committing to one on Facebook – if your business name is not available.  Now that you have created a Facebook profile AND company page, you are all set, right?  Far from it.  Social media takes effort and time, every day.  The more you ignore it, the less it will do for you. Case and point, I will use myself as an example, I spent so much time on customers, that I really let my own page lapse and did not gain enough likes, and my stats and visibility went down. So, find someone in your business who is less busy than you (or you), have them like your new company page, then “use Facebook as” your company, go to “new likes” select all, then scroll down and make them an admin.  No passwords, no fuss, and you can remove them anytime.  Do something on the company page site every day.  Send out invitations for a deal, create an event (your birthday, employees birthday, cake for all on so and so date, be creative), share a funny saying, funny works!, cute pic, new pics of your business, a customers car, anything, BUT – stay off the political and religion, nothing will drive a customer away faster than an opposite point of view, and they usually wont tell you, so keep it light. Now read part 2.  I hope this helps.

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