I am taking some time off this week to spend some time with Mr. Indie Fixx’s family. I will be poking my head in from time to time with a post or two, but you will also be reading posts from some wonderful Guest Bloggers.
Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Indie Businesses
By guest contributor Meredith Keller
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years, you know that social media is all the rage. It’s a delicious nexus of fun and business because you can engage with your customers and market to them all in one platform. With this new social and marketing platform come some rules for success and frankly some basic etiquette. Ignore them at your peril, respect them and watch your social media presence thrive and your brand grow stronger.
1. Don’t spam. It’s a simple golden rule but so many people seem to forget it when it comes to leveraging social media. Do not leave a bunch of giant banner advertisements on your friends’ walls or comments. Do not auto-follow on Twitter hoping to get as many follows as possible while engaging with none of them. Customers come to social media websites for fun and they don’t want to feel used and steamrolled by your sales agenda. If you’re going to sell stuff, you’re going to have to do it with some style, charm and a personal touch. That said…
Robot plush from Little Brown Byrd Creations
2. Do join the conversation. Don’t use social media like a marketing robot, get in there and act like a human being. Let your friends/fans/followers see that there’s a person behind your brand. Share a funny link you found, post cute pictures of your dog, tell your peeps about your amazing margarita recipe. Make your audience feel like they’re engaging with a person, not just a faceless corporation who only wants their money. Social media is a great opportunity to give some personality and character to your brand, leverage this tool wisely to build brand loyalty. People like to buy from someone they know, someone they like, someone they trust. You can be that someone when you truly engage your audience. On the other hand…
3. Do be willing to give in order to get. You want friends, you want fans, you want followers. You want throngs of people listening to your messaging, right? Well, what’s in it for them. Is your sparkling wit and charm enough to turn casual passers-by into superfans? The best way to sweeten the pot is to offer people something for engaging with you. Offer a sweepstakes to win a product if you’re selling a product. Offer special discounts that are only made available to your social media audience. Offer special insider tips from an expert if you’re selling a service. Make sure there’s incentive for your audience to engage with you and make sure they know about it. On our t-shirt website, we have links to our Facebook account on every page of our site, the link says “Win a FREE T-Shirt, Become our Facebook fan”. Everyone who comes to our site knows they can be registered to win a free prize for joining our Facebook fanclub. We also announce this deal in our newsletter each month. The more your promote your sweet offer to connect on social media channels, the more you’ll be able to rack up friends and fans.
Hung Out to Dry print from Fall Down Tree
4. Don’t get too personal. Social media is not the platform for airing your dirty laundry. Don’t tell your audience that your boyfriend is a jerk or that you’re 3 months behind on your mortgage. Being a drama queen might illicit a little sympathy but it’s mostly a turn off. Your audience doesn’t want you bringing them down with your bad news or annoying them with cyber begging for business. Think before you post, how does what you’re about to say affect your brand’s image and the way in which your audience sees you. Is what you’re about to say going to make you new friends or influence people to think of your brand in a positive light?
5. Don’t neglect your social media accounts. So you have accounts on Facebook, Flickr, Digg, Youtube Myspace and Twitter for your business. Maybe you’ve even joined a few niche social networks or message boards. You’re all over this social media thing so why aren’t the sales rolling in? It’s not enough to just be present on social media platforms, you have to participate. Make it a point to post content to your social media accounts on a regular basis. Remind friends, fans and followers that you’re still there. You don’t want them to forget about you. Persistence is an important part of your social media marketing and you can’t expect your social media accounts to simply take care of themselves.
About the contributor: Meredith Keller is a designer and marketer with several years of experience promoting and running an indie online business, when she’s not helping her partner with t-shirt label Ex-Boyfriend , she works on indie shopping blog Indie Parade.