Back when I first learned about using social media such as Facebook and Twitter for business, there seemed to be a fairly standard and respectable way to treat others on social media: always thank someone when they re-tweet your tweet, send personal (non-spammy) direct messages, etc.
But these days it seems some people have forgotten about these common courtesies. For small businesses marketing through social media, it's especially important to use the correct social media etiquette.
Your avatar picture shouldn’t be a logo. We don’t meet logos at parties, do we? You can include a logo, but make it you.
You’re not obligated to follow/friend anyone. No matter what. Not even your mother.
It’s okay to let the competition follow you. It’s okay to follow the competition.
Every blog I know has a share/like/tweet/stumble button at the bottom or somewhere. They’re there for a reason. If you like the article, pushing those buttons is a “tip jar” for the artist. Push it. It doesn’t take long.
Taking these tips into consideration, here are some etiquette tips for your business on social media:
Are you a one-person business? Don't hide behind a logo. Make sure your Facebook and Twitter profile pictures show the person behind the biz. This will reinforce your legitimacy and personality.
If a customer (or anyone, for that matter) mentions, re-tweets, or writes on your Facebook Wall, thank them and reply thoughtfully and sincerely.
If someone posts an interesting article, give them credit when you post it yourself.
Promote others' promotions so that when it's your turn to share your own promotion, they'll share it.
10 new followers in one day? Don't automatically follow them back - make sure they aren't spammers first. Heaven forbid a potential client sees that you're following @Girls24x7.
Finally, don't just talk about yourself. That's boring. Share relevant, interesting content.
As most of us know, consumers look to social media for information on products and brands, and to get recommendations from friends.
A new study focusing on the retail sector had some interesting findings: Consumers are looking more to Facebook for retail info, and less to blogs, forums and other sites that were more popular a year ago.
Now, if you're in retail -- hear this before you jump to any conclusions: Twitter feeds are more successful than Facebook pages at influencing purchase decisions among users. Thus, its importance to have a presence on both!
Some more interesting stats:
27% of surveyed online consumers visit official retail or consumer product Facebook pages at least once a month, up 3 percentage points (PPs) from the 24% who did so a year earlier.
More than one in five online consumers say Facebook pages have been very influential (16.7%) or extremely influential (6.2%) in making a purchase decision.
Nearly two in five online consumers who user Twitter say retailers' feed has been very influential (25.0%) or extremely influential (12.5%) in making a purchasing decisions.
Naked Pizza: the name alone will get your attention! But what's keeping customers coming back is Naked Pizza's smart use of Twitter.
Naked Pizza offers "the world's healthiest pizza," with a fraction of the calories and fat of a normal slice of pizza. In 2009, they replaced their big "Call for delivery" sign with a "Follow us on Twitter for specials" sign, causing a bit of stir. TechCrunch called their sign change "a sign of things to come," etc.
Two years later Naked Pizza has more than 12,000 followers, not to mention thousands of followers on their individual chain Twitter handles.
Why this is a smart move: Essentially, Naked Pizza gets to advertise to 12,000 people daily -- for free! By offering specials and simply tweeting about pizza shop happenings, Naked Pizza gets to remind its customers they exist, and entice them to come in and buy some cheap pizza.
Moral of the story: If you own a shop, restaurant, bar, or any other type of retail business- get on Twitter! You don't need to tweet specials often-- just occasionally-- to get customers excited. Let them know what's going on in the store, post pictures of happy customers, daily specials etc. You'll remind customers you exist, and get them walking through the door before you know it. Read our last That's one smart biz! post about McMills Construction here.
An interesting new study (by Performics and ROI Research) was just published stating that social networkers now view LinkedIn as their most important social media account (59% of users), followed closely by Twitter (58%).
What's interesting about this is that last year, Facebook was the favored social network with 56% of social network users considering it the "most important."
As MarketingProfs deducts, this leap ahead for LinkedIn could be the consequence of a turbulent economy and job market: people are prioritizing business networking and job-seeking over social interactions on the web.
So what does this mean for your small business? It means your business should be on LinkedIn! Creating a company page only takes a few minutes and -- when coupled with a lively Twitter stream (which you can have fed into your LinkedIn company page) -- equals a big amount of exposure for your brand where your customers are gathering online.
Now, a reason to join Twitter: the study shows that users who follow a brand/business on Twitter are more likely (59%) to buy from and recommend the business than on Facebook (53%).
The study is fascinating and represents a pretty big turn in the world of social media and social networking. We highly recommend reading the whole thing.