Just as e-mails and instant messages changed social interactions in the 1990s, Social media led by Facebook and Twitter has revolutionized the way we communicate with one another. Combined with Smartphone, Tablets and Netbooks, makes communication instantaneous. Posting status updates, sharing photos and creating events has now become so simple that any other method seems archaic. As a small business owner, how can you utilize social media in your business, both within your business and as a tool for product promotion? Here are few ways you can follow.
Every employee’s nightmare is their boss adding them as a “Friend” on Facebook. While everyone is entitled to their own carefully constructed online persona, you can request your employees to connect to you via a limited profile, which blocks off their private photos and comments. If you manage to get all your co-workers connected via Facebook, creating a private group for your office that will be efficient and fun way to keep things organized. Here are some things you can do with a private work group in Facebook.
You can use Facebook to “invite” people to meetings & events. You can also include agenda & other details in the invitation. Facebook events are conveniently organized into “Attending”, “Not Attending” & “May Be” this is easy for everyone to see who all will be attending the meeting. Encourage your co-workers also to create social events within the group to boost up with company morale. Using of shared calendar on Facebook keeps everyone on the same page at all times.
The more interesting fact is uploading meeting times, company policies, or important notes to a cloud-based documents storage service, such as Microsoft’s SkyDrive or Google’s Google Docs, and post the link in your Facebook group. But make sure that everyone has access to these documents; this will make you cut down on lots of wasted time & paper.
In Facebook group wall you can post messages on the group wall, which could serve as a bulletin board for all work-related issues, sometimes for non-work related issues also. In addition, members can also “tag” other members in “Notes” to insure that company memos are received instantly.
As an added advantage if your employees have their phone number or e-mail addresses visible in their Facebook account, creating a workplace Facebook group will also create a shared employee phonebook, which can be invaluable for employees to get in touch with each other.
Usually big companies use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, for free viral advertising. Create a customer-based front-end on Facebook, with its “Business Page”, which can increase your company’s visibility for free. This page should contain basic information like contact numbers, addresses and websites, as well as recent product information. Note that this is not the internal Facebook group mentioned in the previous part, but has to be done in the Facebook Business Page.
If your company has dedicated online customer service representatives, they can also staff the Facebook page and answer questions in real time via Facebook chat. Here are some other ideas to increase the visibility of your Facebook page.
Offer raffles and rewards for group members who join and “like” your Facebook Business Page. Encourage visitors to share your products with their Facebook friends. Place the interesting information about your customers in Facebook Business Page like the winner of the week in raffle etc… in your company website as well as under your popular products. Once members join your page, your updates will appear instantly in their news feeds, which will bring them back if you post an interesting product or discount. Many video game companies and movie studios post teasers on their Facebook pages, which in turn gets shared to an exponential amount of users.
Linking Facebook & Twitter pages together can double your audience instantly by driving traffic both ways. A number of applications currently allow cross-posting across both platforms. Make sure your Facebook and Twitter pages are clearly printed on your business card and other promotional items.
These are some simple ideas to help you get started integrating your business into the world of social media, both internally and externally.