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I have heard this question so many times, you would think my answer would be the same for every occasion right?  If you answered yes, you would undoubtedly be incorrect.  The majority of people that I see using Facebook and Social Media as a business tool are not doing a good job.  I worked with a client for six months to help them achieve close to 9800 new fans only using social media and not any type of paid search to generate those results.  Our six month agreement is over and now I see that they are dropping fans every week.  The posts they make are not engaging and EVERY single mention is about a coupon or an offer.  How about some useful information instead of  “mention this and get 15% off”   Don’t get me wrong, they are really nice clients and they do a great job with all of their other types of media and advertising. They just don’t know how to step away and decrease the salesman and increase the information. Facebook Marketing makes so much sense to most advertisers because they can get solid and truthful feedback on their brand.

Most business owners are obviously fiercely loyal to their product, service, or brand and they let it show on a daily basis.  Social Media allows someone to post a comment, give praise, advice, or criticism without actually having to e in front of that particular business.  If you have a great product and great service- then you are in pretty good shape from the beginning.  If you do not however, you will need to step back and allow yourself to understand that sometimes, you have to make sure you talk and converse WITH an unhappy customer and not AT an unhappy customer.  One of the best things that a potential customer/client/patient can see is that you made a mistake, AND made it right.

A while back I wrote about a furniture store that actually complained and grilled a customer that said they felt the value of their sofa was not what was advertised.  The person handling the business social media for this company told them to “save up and buy a better sofa next time” You should have seen the number of people that commented on that post. It was like throwing gasoline on a fire…  You could imagine that customer probably made a status update that would have been characterized as incendiary.    Here is a short list of common sense tips that  I use when either teaching business social media or handling it for one of my clients…  It’s my “short list of gold tips” but then again… It may not be everyones.

  1. Keep it real- honesty is the ONLY policy online.  Remember that when you are posting something online, the person viewing it probably has some sort of screen capture program.
  2. Have a conversation– Don’t be pitchy or pushy with people who value your information.  If they are a fan, follower, or friend…  they already see value in what you offer.  If someone asked you to buy 293 times in one week, wouldn’t you get tired of it?
  3. Give and ye’ shall receive–  Give advice on what you do.  If you are a carpet store, give stain treatment tips, if you are a restaurant- give away a free drink for a promotion.  You will get a lot more for giving something away when it is something that people like.
  4. Frequency–   If I am selling mattresses, it is not likely that I will have a repeat buyer every six months.  Most people keep them longer so consider giving tips on how to get a better nights rest, or allergy free bedding materials.   If you are only giving away coupons, what value is it if someone wont use it for another five years.
  5. Make It Fun– Use a scavenger hunt, a giveaway, a promotional video, or anything that you can think of to be creative.  Don’t just copy your competition.  People see right through it.

My quick five points aren’t the most important things that you will need to know about social media.  They are just what I practice and preach with my particular clients.  IF you have any questions, tips, remarks, or just plain disagree… leave a reply. After all, isn’t social media all about interaction anyway?