Tweet, Post and Like, Oh My!

Spend any time with teenagers and you’ll hear them asking friends to “tweet” or to “like” their post. For those new to the lingo, it can seem like you've landed in Oz. It’s all part of  “social networking” and if you’re running a business, you may be left behind if you can’t speak the language. Social media (networking) marketing for small business can be very important.

Social networking is just another way for people to have a conversation. What’s different is they “talk” in electronic communities, often using mobile devices like a smartphone or tablet. It’s a little like people gathering to talk at the local diner.  They share information and ideas about topics that interest them.

For businesses, it has become a new way to connect with current and future customers. By participating in the “conversation,” people get to know you. As a result, they become more comfortable doing business with you or will recommend you to others.

To get started, here are two of the most common social networks and how some small businesses are using them:

  • Facebook – Businesses set up their own “page” and publish short pieces of information or “posts.” For example, a daycare might provide a tip on how to get kids to bed on time. Readers can “like” your page and recommend it to their friends who, in turn, spread the word to their community. It also gives you the ability to buy ads that feature your business.
  • Twitter - Businesses send “tweets” (messages of 140 characters or less) to connect to what people are talking about right now.  For example, an auto store might respond to a tweet about gas prices and offer a tip to increase gas mileage. It’s also a way to see what your competitors are doing and what people are saying about your business. Just search by subject. Ads also can be purchased in this network.

The key to social networks is how it can extend your reach to customers, both old and new. Rather than talking about your business to one person, many people are talking about you to many of their friends. That’s the word-of-mouth that will make your business grow.

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