Social Media: How Your Small Biz Can Join The Conversation

By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at


Ask five different businesses why they’re on social media and they’ll give you five different answers:

“To increase sales.”


“To find more customers.”

“To drive traffic to our website.”


Whatever your reasons are for being on—or wanting to be on—social media, they’re probably about right, as social media does all of these things and more. Word-of-mouth advertising has received a twenty first century makeover, and the best thing about it is that it’s 100% free, making it one of the most powerful tools that any business owner has at his or her disposal. Today we share five tips on how you can get started on social media and make it work for both you and your business.


1. Develop a strategy and commit to it.

Nowadays business owners can’t afford not to be on social media—it’s the new word-of-mouth advertising and the costs involved are minimal, if not non-existent. Almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, here’s the rub: It’s not enough to simply ‘be on social media.’ Without direction, a solid strategy or clear objectives, your social media efforts will be fruitless. Just ‘having’ a social media presence is well and good, but there’s nothing worse than visiting a company’s social media page that’s seldom updated—there’s no draw to visit again at a later date. The bottom line is this: If you’re going to be on social media, you have to commit. Outline exactly what you want to achieve from your efforts, develop a comprehensive strategy and follow it.

2. Start small, think big.

One of the most oft-heard small business complaints of social media is that they’re overwhelmed by it—and to be honest, I can’t blame them. The mere thought of creating a presence on a multitude of social channels can be a daunting task to say the least—so the answer is simply don’t. Survey your customers and find out where they like to hang out. It could be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or even YouTube—wherever it is, start there. After that, if your results warrant it, consider branching out to new platforms.

3. Those who can’t do, delegate.

The beauty of social media is that just about anyone can master it, but often people from older generations take a little longer than those from the Gen Y to get to grips with the ins and outs of it. Take advantage of the millennials’ innate social media aptitude by hiring one (either as a full-time, part-time or intern) to handle your business social media accounts. It may seem like a lot of hassle, but the potential ROI could be well worth the effort.

4. Forget followers, it’s all about interaction.

In order to know whether your social media efforts are worth your while, it’s necessary to track them by keeping tabs on your investment in terms of time and money spent. Many people gauge their efforts on how many page likes and followers they’re getting, but the truth is that fans and followers don’t necessarily equal social media success—in fact, it’s all about interaction. People who simply ‘like’ your page may be doing so as a one-off, but those who engage with your business on a regular basis by commenting on your posts are most likely to be your potential customers. ‘Shares’ and ‘retweets’ are also equally as important, as they mean that you’re expanding your exposure to your customers’ friends and contacts.

5. Shoot the breeze—don’t give the hard sell.

Social media operates on the basis of sharing valuable, interesting and informative content, so you’d be wrong to treat it as your own personal 24/7 sales channel. Try and use the 80/20 rule whereby you share 80 per cent meaningful content, and 20 per cent business-related information. Your goal should be this: Create valuable content that others will want to share, and in turn, create positive word-of-mouth online.


By Andrew Patricio

September 11, 2013