When the internet started to get commercial, a lot of people said that it had levelled the playing field between large and small companies. For a while, that was the case but gradually the main search engines such as Google have become more commercialised and the playing field is anything but level.
Fortunately, social media has stepped into the gap and the nimbleness of small companies often gives them an advantage over their larger counterparts.
Some conversations will take place on your Facebook page and other places where you should get alerted to them.
These are easy to keep track of but you need to make sure that you have a system of responding as fast as possible to comments – both good and bad – to make the best use of the word of mouth nature of social media.
Get inside people’s heads
Not literally – that would be wrong.
But you need to figure out where most of your potential clients are hanging out online and then make sure that you have a social media presence in those areas.
A few years ago this was relatively easy as there weren’t many social media sites and they were fairly well separated: Facebook (or MySpace before it) for consumers, LinkedIn for business, Flickr for photo sharing and so on.
Now the lines have become blurred: business to business is happening on Facebook, Pinterest is used to share photos as well as videos but these can (and often will) show up on Facebook as well, customers may well find your name as the owner of the company and contact you via LinkedIn.
The list goes on.
So you need to not only know where your clients and potential clients most commonly go online, you also need to monitor the other areas just in case they don’t follow the route that you thought was the most logical one.
You can also turn this to your advantage by using these slightly unorthodox channels (at least for your industry) and reach potential clients who everyone else is missing.
Keep things up to date
It’s a bad experience for a client or potential client to get to one of your social media properties, only to find that it resembles an online ghost town.
If the last update was ages ago, that’s a sign that you don’t really care about your social media presence.
If the last update was a message saying “we’ll update this soon” that’s even worse!
You need to diarise to keep posting to any of the social media you use on a regular basis.
And regular doesn’t mean an annual “happy New Year” Tweet!
Just as you should keep your own website regularly updated, you need to make sure that all the various places you use for social media are also kept up to date. Ideally with messages that are tailored for each individual social media site rather than sent out as an automated “one size fits all” blast to all the different sites you’ve decided to use.