“Social media is the new television,” says social media marketing expert Peg Fitzpatrick. “[You have to] make sure that you have a channel that people would like to watch.”
That means your small-business tweets, status updates, and posts need to be entertaining and upbeat. “No one likes a Debbie Downer or Negative Nelly,” she asserts.
Fitzpatrick (pictured) should know. She consults for global brands, co-manages the 12 Most blog, and works with Guy Kawasaki on community management, social media marketing, and digital innovation. Her advice also appears in What the Plus!, the unofficial guide to Google+, and she’s currently writing a book about how to market a book with social media.
The Intuit Small Business Blog recently spoke with Fitzpatrick about her approach to social media and how small businesses can use their networks to engage customers and prospects.
ISBB: Beyond sharing inspirational quotes, how do you lift people up and encourage them to use social media?
Fitzpatrick: I remember what it was like being new on social media, so I try to help as many people as I can through my blog content and what I share. … I break down the “how to” in social media, and I think a lot of my readers enjoy my style.
I put a positive spin on things that I discuss and try to present a solution for things that I talk about. I’ve also personally mentored people online over the years, and it’s wonderful to see how well they are doing now. It makes me happy!
What type of content garners the most engagement?
If small-business owners only have time to complete three social media tasks a day, what should they be?
Respond to comments or tweets: Engage with people who interact with your small business on your page and theirs if it’s appropriate. Post something new on Facebook and Twitter. Read a blog or two and find content to share the next day.
If your time is limited, try to do 15 minutes at the beginning of the day and 15 minutes at the end of the day. You’d be surprised at how far that time can go toward [building and maintaining] a good social presence.
Curating content is a huge aspect of social media nowadays. How do you decide what to share?
First and foremost, I post things that I like. I also like to post a variety of content to keep things fresh. My content needs to pass this litmus test: Is this interesting or entertaining? Is this unique? Does it fit my brand?
Some companies get bogged down figuring out what to post where. How do you decide what type of content to share on each social network?
The content that you share should be determined first by your brand and your social media goals and then tailored to each social media platform. Although your content might vary, your brand should remain consistent on all social platforms. People should know that they are on [your] page, regardless of where they are visiting you.
Each social network has its own personality, so there is content that does well on one platform and not another. Instagram is all about selfies and personal photos, and brands that fit their content into that type of mold do well there. For example, Forever 21 is a brand, but its content fits its customer demographics.
Pinterest is also about images but in a different, more organized way. Etsy does a great job on Pinterest: It posts interesting content in a fun way that also promotes its own website but not in an overly promotional or pushy manner.