Social media for business is difficult. I don’t mean difficult to do, because using social media in general is pretty easy. It’s a different ball game from a business viewpoint, and learning how to use social media for business can be overwhelming if you don’t have any direction. Either they run their business accounts as a personal one (posting too much, being too casual), or they only push their product with no other interactions.

I understand where a business is coming from. The goal of a business is to sell a product. Every move it makes, every step it takes (h/t The Police) is calculated and designed to reach that goal of making the sale. A business should have marketing systems in place that do this; whether T.V. or radio spots, fliers in the mail or email. A social media marketing campaign should help support these other systems.

Support. That is the key word to remember.

I have heard of businesses who do business strictly through social media, but it’s a rare occasion and should not be considered the norm. Facebook in particular continues to make the site more business-friendly, adding options for shopping and signing up for newsletters right on the main Page. In essence, it could be used as a website, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

People are on social media first and foremost to find other people. No one joins a site with the thought “Wow- I really want to join Twitter so I can follow Pepsi and Nike!” They join social media to follow people, discussions, to learn more (from other people) about something. Adding businesses is secondary, because once they are using it, they see the ease. It’s easy to communicate with other businesses in this way, and it’s more passive than talking to a customer service person on the phone, yet there is still interaction.

Things to keep in mind when using social media for business:

1. Be social, yet remember you are a business. If you run your business social media like they are personal accounts, you are going to turn people off. Decide based on what your business is how personal you want or should be, and then go from there.

(Some ways to be personal on social media: Photos of the office, highlighting team members, acknowledging birthdays and work anniversaries. I’m also a firm believer in the Throwback Thursday.)

2. Be a place of information. Rather than sell, inform. You know your product better than anyone. You know that everyone would benefit using your product. Show that you know what you’re talking about and be on top of trends, reports, and other things pertaining to your industry. Give your thoughts whether you agree or disagree about what you are finding.

3. It’s not direct marketing, it’s PR. Remember the key word from above: Support. The goal of social media is not making the sale, it’s making people want to buy. There’s a difference.

Every business is different, and I’m always open to talking more about your business in particular and helping you bring your social media marketing to the next level. Contact me anytime dcutler@danicutler.com. For general tips and tricks, subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Have fun!

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