Communication is a 2-way street. So if you want your social media efforts to result in genuine connections with potential customers, you’ll need to regularly interact with the network you build up. The aim is to continue developing the connections that you hope will assist your business to grow.
In this post we’ll discuss how you can effectively go about achieving that without wasting time or becoming overwhelmed with the ‘responsibility’ of maintaining this new channel you have created.
How much time do you need to spend each week interacting with your network?
For the small business owner venturing into DIY social media marketing, time is already extremely valuable. Again, it’s difficult to be specific, but I’d suggest that you would probably want to commit at least one or two hours a week (perhaps 3 x 20-30 minute sessions) to working on your social media. This is in addition to the time you need to take to prepare the post you want to add for that week.
These ‘sessions’ can be slotted in to suit your schedule. Perhaps there is a quiet period after lunch or at the end of the day that you could use to maintain your accounts. Or for those of you strange ‘morning persons’ out there, you may be able to use some of that pre-7am time for your social media interaction.
So let’s look at the basic tasks you’ll need to perform to maintain and grow your budding social media presence:
1. Reply to (genuine) messages you receive
One of the first things you need to check for are genuine messages you receive. I’m stipulating ‘genuine’ here because there is a ton of ‘spam’ out there, which warrants ignoring. (Thankfully, it’s usually fairly obvious.) Just use common sense when communicating directly through social media. Handle enquiries and requests for information promptly. Compliments and general comments can be ‘liked’ and responded to appreciatively. Be careful how you respond to complaints as your reaction is on a public forum. Move in-depth communication off the public forum to a more direct and meaningful method.
2. Browse through the posts of your existing connections and interact with them
Scroll through and like or comment on applicable content. Be genuine. If you are following key suppliers or working with other businesses, make sure that you support their content. If you have had positive contact with a potential client, be sure to interact positively with them too. Its good to remember that most of us small businesses are on social media to achieve an increase in positive exposure – so ongoing collaboration (which we touched on in the previous post) can be a mutually beneficial way to build social media momentum.
3. Follow up (genuine) connection requests
As you build up your social network, your account will appear as a suggestion for other people to connect with. This can lead to your being ‘followed’ or ‘liked’ by other businesses that you may not yet have connected with. If these new followers match the profile of the kind of account you’d like to interact with, be sure to ‘follow back’ or ‘allow the connection’ (sorry, but each platform has its own lingo that usually amounts to the same thing…)
4. Continue the search for potential connections
If you have time left in your ‘social media maintenance’ allocation, why not continue to search for other potential connections? Perhaps, as you travelled through a particular area, you noticed a new business in your target market that is about to open – have they got a social media account? Why not search for them and connect? Is there a community or trade event that is generating interest in your area or industry? You may find target businesses that are liking and commenting about these events.
Your social media activities are an opportunity to introduce yourself and demonstrate your relevance to a whole new audience – be sure to commit to the ongoing effort that is required to make this new form of communication work for your business!
This concludes my initial series designed to help small ‘B2B’ businesses to understand the basics of what is involved in getting their social media marketing ‘off the ground’ so to speak. I’ll be adding plenty more content regarding digital marketing and sharing what I’ve learned in the coming weeks…