How to Appear Social Media-Savvy Even When You’re Not

by Sarah Johnson on November 16, 2012
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Has your business Facebook page become neglected? Is your company’s Twitter account sitting dormant, unable to surpass the triple-digit mark in followers? Do you have just three lonely photos on Pinterest?

Letting your social-media business accounts languish may hurt your brand in the long run. If you’ve been holding back updates because you’re daunted or indifferent, realize that by not actively maintaining your online presence, you’re missing opportunities to interact with existing and potential clients.

The good news: You don’t have to be a tech expert (or a teenager) to expand your presence on social media sites with minimal effort. Here are six ways you can appear to be social media-savvy even when you’re not.

  1. Make only relevant, informative points. Your fans can easily “unlike,” “unfollow,” or unsubscribe to your social media feeds. Don’t waste their time with cutesy pictures of hamsters and rainbows if, say, you’re running a law practice. Comment and link to interesting articles that are related to your business and industry. Stay away from trying to be newsworthy: Unless you are the first to reveal breaking news, chances are your fans have already seen it. For example, if you run a sporting-goods store, instead of posting a recent game score, comment on a highlight of the match — or, better yet, ask customers to mention their favorite moment of the game.
  2. Be responsive. The true value of social media sites is that they enable you to interact directly with your customer base. But you can’t foster relationships if you don’t respond to feedback and inquiries. Address every legitimate comment you receive and keep the conversation going.
  3. Post at least twice a week. Posting less frequently than that will make your pages look stale.
  4. Automate your activity. At the beginning of every week, schedule a few of posts in advance, using a tool such as TweetDeck, HootSuite, or Buffer. You can even link your social media accounts (by tweaking each one’s settings; on Twitter, for example, it’s under Profile). If you do this, what you post on one site automatically shows up on another. Be careful when doing so, however, because the hashtags commonly used in Twitter make you look unsophisticated on other sites.
  5. Think locally. In addition to connecting with your colleagues and partners via social media, seek out local organizations, including chambers of commerce, regional economic-development organizations, and visitors bureaus. These accounts tend to be active and may be willing to post information about your business (such as sales, openings, and events) on their pages. This works if you operate nationwide, too; these groups could post about your recent hires, job openings, or expansion plans. In return, consider re-posting some of their content, which is another way to keep your page active without much effort.
  6. When all else fails, hire an intern. Students need professional experience, and you need cheap labor. Social media is one area in which interns may possess more knowledge than you do. If they are heavy users themselves, they will have a better handle on what type of content inspires other users. With guidance from you and regular check-ins, an intern can handle your social media strategy in just a few hours a week. Be clear what tone you want to convey and ask the intern to run drafts of posts by you before publishing them. Over time, you may be able to skip that step.

Sarah Johnson is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.

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