Five Social Media Optimization Tips for Small Business

OK, so in my last post I promised I would post a summary of social media optimization tips.   In my SMO presentation, I broke down my tips into four groups of five tips each for: small business, big business, awareness and for a job seeker/professional.  I’m going to experiment a bit and post the tip sets one by one, here in the blog … there … everywhere!

Here are my five Social Media Optimization tips for small businesses:

  1. Create a loyal following
  2. Market exclusive offers via Social Media
  3. Incentivize reviews
  4. Manage your reputation
  5. Educate/Inform

1. Create a loyal following

Social media has the power to create and retain loyal fans and evangelists of your business. Tap into the big name sites (facebook, myspace, youtube, twitter), as well as niche communities and social media venues such as ActiveRain (if a Real Estate Professional) or TechHui (if a Techie in Hawaii).

2.  Market exclusive offers via Social Media

While expedia is no means a small business, I  encourage any business to take note of expedia on twitter.  They do a great job of mixing excellent travel tips with deals/exclusive offers.  Note the frequency of their tweets (about 4 or 5 times a day on average).  Contact your followers, friends, fans, or whatever a particular social media site calls them and show them some exclusive love.

3.  Incentivize and encourage reviews

You need to engage your customers in constant conversation.  Getting reviews (good or bad) will prove invaluable towards that aim .  Bad reviews will help you improve your business (if you choose to learn from them).  You don’t need to bribe your customers, but a survey, review or questionnaire completed for a small incentive or chance to win will bring invaluable, actionable data into the light.  Also, good reviews will do wonder for the next tip….

4.  Manage your reputation

Online Reputation Management is a buzzword these days and should be paid great attention to. Of course you should be regularly checking google and the other search engines for your names and products.  Beyond that, constantly monitor sites like yelp for reviews and feedback.  A powerful tool we went over in the workshop was twitter search combined with getting RSS feeds for related queries.  If you were Hawaiian Airlines, for example, you might want to conduct the following twitter searches:

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=hawaiian+air

http://search.twitter.com/search?q=hawaiian+airlines (Smelly lounge? – What would you do if you got a similar post for you business?)

Search these type of brand terms and any keywords relevant to you (airfare hawaii, travel deals, etc.) and subscribe to the rss feeds for each query … magical stuff this, as it will let you know anytime anybody tweets anything about you!

5.  Educate/inform

Use social media to educate the masses about your industry, your specialty, niches relating to your business, etc.  In the workshop I recently gave, we used the example of a Hawaiian Taro Chips company looking to bring its chips to a broader mainland market.   The group tasked with coming up with a social media strategy for this imaginary biz hit the nail on the head with the following education/information ideas:

  • Post fun, viral videos about “Taro the Purple Chip” on sites like youtube and metacafe.
  • Get on facebook, myspace and other communities and create or find Hawaiian culture/food groups to educate about taro and keep in the know about your purple chips.
  • Write and post articles about the history of Taro chips, the taro chip making process, or even general Hawaii themes (tying taro in somehow).
  • Post pictures of taro/taro fields on flickr,  a taro chip presentation on slideshare, etc.

To conclude, I’m convinced that social media optimization can benefit any small business who creatively and actively uses it.   Get started, get those fans, and have fun!

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