There is little question about social media’s ability to make a powerful impact for small businesses. However, as more and more small businesses clamor to participate in the social web, there is greater pressure to find the secret to use social media successfully.
But like most things, there is not a magic bullet or secret recipe to success.
It’s about mastering the basics.
Despite what some gurus may tell you, the basics still matter. If you can’t get the fundamentals right, there are no tools, apps or advanced tactics that will help you.
Here are the seven basics skills you must master to be successful in social media:
1. Show up.
To be successful in social media you have to show up and be present. You can’t just create a profile and then do nothing with it. Don’t let things sit for days, weeks or months. You have to participate on a regular basis to get anything out of it. As the old saying goes, you get out of it what you put into it.
2. Share the good stuff.
Although this may seem counter-intuitive, social media thrives on people who give. Share your knowledge, ideas and your best tips and tricks. By giving away good information, you are showing people what you have to offer and they will be much more likely to do business with you.
Part of what makes social media great is the ability to have meaningful two-way conversations. Just jump in and start talking with people. It could be as simple as weighing in on who will win the Super Bowl or offering restaurant suggestions to someone who’s visiting your town.
Chat with people just as you would in real life. And yes, that sometimes means sharing what you had for lunch. Although sharing this type of information sounds trivial, it is these kinds of personal conversations that often translate into friendships or even business possibilities down the road.
4. Show your personality.
Just because you are using social media for business doesn’t mean you have to be buttoned up. Let your hair down and let people know what makes your business fun, exciting and different.
Social media offers the incredible opportunity to give your business a face. Show pictures of the people who are answering the phone or who are responding to the emails. Give a tour of your office or share what goes on behind the scenes.
5. Spread the love.
Tell your people about the great things others are doing. If you see a good article about a topic in your niche, share it, even if you didn’t write it.
And don’t just share other people’s stuff because you’re hoping for them to reciprocate. Share other’s stuff because it adds value to your people. Promote others because you like what they have to offer and you want people to know about it. Do it because it feels good and it’s the right thing to do.
6. Don’t spam.
No one likes spam, including your clients and prospects. If you want people to do business with you, you will steer clear of spam.
That means don’t send automated direct messages on Twitter. Don’t send emails to people who didn’t sign up for your list. And, don’t employ bots to post comments on blogs all over the web just to score back links to your site.
7. Make it about them.
Don’t make your Facebook wall or Twitter stream sound like one endless promotion. People don’t want to be sold to, they want their problems solved. They want you to listen to their needs. They want answers to their questions.
So help them.
Ask them what’s on their mind. Ask them what’s keeping them up at night. Show them that you care about them, not just about their potential to write you a check. When you do that, you won’t have to worry about finding new customers. They will find you.
What basic skills would you add to the list? Which skills are you having trouble with?
Image credit: Richo.Fan