Social media for small business: what really works?

MP Star Financial asked people in the trenches what successful social media strategies they’re using and/or what tips they have to offer other small business owners. Here are just two of the many responses we received:

Justyna Krygowska

Justyna manages social media channels for a New Jersey nonprofit agency called Rising Tide Capital. This nonprofit helps people start and grow small businesses in New Jersey – and here are three tips:

  • It’s not all about you. People may love your organization, give to your cause or buy your product but if you only post content about yourself it’s going to get pretty boring. This is why you need to mix it up. Are there any interesting articles that apply to your overall mission? Post a question and ask your audience to weigh in. Find a quote that really resonates with you and has a great message behind it. This will help you become an expert in your field and will keep your audiences inspired and engaged.
  • Social media is all about collaboration. Building a network and utilizing it is a great way to increase your reach and keep content fresh. For example, we have a list of partners that are an excellent resource to our small business owners. Whenever they have an event or program coming up we post about it on our Facebook and Twitter to let our entrepreneurs know. They return the favor by sharing our content, which helps increases its reach and visibility.
  • There is no golden formula, and it’s all about trial and error. We’ve heard it all before. “It’s best to post three times a day. You should post once in the morning, noon, and evening. Make sure to schedule posts on the weekends.” In the end, there is no golden formula for everyone. Social media is constantly changing and so should your strategies! You can start out posting three times a day, three hours apart, but if you aren’t measuring your impact you may be wasting your hard work on posts that aren’t reaching your audience.
  • Make sure you monitor your reach and adjust accordingly. In the end you may learn that you only need to post something once a day at 8PM when your audience is home. And, whatever you do, stick to it! If your strategy is to post twice a day then post twice a day. There is nothing worse than finding a Twitter page for an “expert” that hasn’t been active for the past five months.

Michael Raanan, MBA, EA

Michael is a former IRS officer and currently owns Landmark Tax Group. He offers these tips:

  • LinkedIn has been a great resource for me and my business over the years. I use LinkedIn on a daily basis to network and develop leads and referrals for the company. One way I do this is by joining LinkedIn Groups (I’m in 53 groups, the max) and actively engage in discussions with other group members and professionals.
  • I joined several industry-related groups that help build credibility for me as a tax practitioner and Landmark Tax Group, such as the National Association of Tax Professionals, California Society of Enrolled Agents, and Tax Business Owners of America. In these group discussions, I help answer case-related questions posed by other practitioners in the tax and accounting industry as well as post industry-related news such as changes in the tax laws, new practitioner regulations, or updated publications and forms.
  • I also joined several groups based on the likelihood of reaching potential referral sources. Since Landmark Tax Group specializes in resolving IRS and state tax disputes, I spend a lot of time interacting with LinkedIn users that are excellent referral sources for the company, such as attorneys, financial advisors, insurance experts, escrow officers, and tax return preparers. As such, some additional LinkedIn groups I have joined are Beverly Hills Bar Association, Corporate Lawyer Network, Bankruptcy Law Firms, CPA and Business Professionals, Turnaround Management Association, and Real Estate Funding, among others.
  • In an effort to reach prospective clients directly and to maintain a more local presence, I have joined and am active in additional groups such as Irvine Chamber of Commerce, We Are Orange County, California State and Local Tax Professionals, Orange County Entrepreneur Community, and Los Angeles Times, among others.
  • I’m also a member of the Internal Revenue Service group, which is only open to past and present employees of the agency. By participating in and contributing to this group, I am able to maintain a positive and professional relationship with current IRS personnel, which ultimately helps my clients and my firm.
  • I created and currently manage a LinkedIn group called “California Business Owners” in an effort to stay connected with prospective clients and as a means of providing free tax tips and information to my target market. The group has approximately 180 members and is the only LinkedIn group that caters to all business owners in the state of California, regardless of industry. I personally recruit new members and not only add invite them to the group, but also add them to my personal LinkedIn network. So, as the group grows, my LinkedIn connections grow, which leads to more exposure.

Commentary by Gage Price

Here are a few other strategies to consider:

  • Twitter analytics data is available for free (if you’re logged into the account) by typing in this URL: https://analytics.twitter.com/user/**/tweets (putting your Twitter handle in place of **). You can see impressions, engagements and engagement rate per tweet, along with information about clicks, retweets, favorites and replies. See what is resonating with your audience and what isn’t (and do more of the former and less of the latter).
  • Also consider Klout when looking for news to tweet. By connecting your Klout account with your social media accounts, and then choosing filters of interest, you can get content recommendations to consider sharing with your audience. Even better, certain posts will be listed in the feed as:

o   On Target: when you see this designation, you will also receive a percentage-based number of your Twitter followers who are projected to have interest in that particular topic/piece of content; the larger the percentage of estimated interest, the better

o   Hidden Gem: you will also receive a percentage-based number of your followers who are likely to have already seen a piece of content written on a relevant topic; the lower the percentage, the better

o   Hot off the Press: your target audience is unlikely to have seen these pieces of content (although the topic itself could be overdone; check that out first); when you see this label, you’ll see how many hours ago the content went live, usually 12 or fewer

o   On the Rise: this piece of content is starting to trend above what is typical (2x, 3x and so forth); what insight can you add to the topic being discussed?

What social media strategies are you using to gain visibility and to grow your business? Please share in the comments below.

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