Still think Facebook isn’t that useful for your small business? Think again. New data recently released by Facebook shows local businesses are thriving on the social network. AllFacebook reports that Facebook’s director of small business Dan Levy says there are more than 2 billion connections on Facebook between users and local businesses. Seven in 10 monthly active Facebook users in the U.S. and Canada are connected to local businesses on the site. Overall, local businesses’ Facebook pages receive an average of 645 million views and 13 million comments every week.
If you’re not already on Facebook or if you want to grow your Facebook presence, there’s strength in numbers. One tip Facebook offers for small local businesses is to start a Facebook group with other small businesses in your community. You can use the group to plan group events and promotions, and even create a business page for the group to let community fans know about your upcoming activities. This can be a smart way for novice Facebook business users to learn from more established ones.
Another idea: Why not learn from the big brands how to be your best on Facebook? A new study on which global brands generated the most mentions on social media last year, PQ Media/uberVU Top 100 Brands in Social Media Worldwide 2013 report, found that overall, restaurants, beverages and consumer technology were the categories that generated the most user comments, mentions and conversations.
Among restaurants, the three top brands on social media were Starbucks with 2.4 million mentions, followed by Burger King and McDonald’s with 2.3 million each. Among technology companies, Apple and Google led with 2.5 million mentions each, followed by Samsung with 1.7 million.
Now sure, it’s easy to say that these big brands get so many mentions on social media because they’ve already got huge followings thanks to branding, advertising and history. But there are plenty of companies with the same level of passion that don’t inspire the same level of passion on social media.
If you want to improve your social media outreach, try following these big guys on social media. Watch what they do, what kinds of offers they make, what they post and how they engage with their fans and followers. Then figure out what you could borrow from their tactics to use in your own arsenal of social media tools. (If these particular brands don’t float your boat, get more details on the study here—you can likely find other companies in industries that are more relevant to you.)
If you need help figuring it all out, a SCORE mentor can guide you. If you don’t already have a mentor, visit the SCORE website to get matched with one and get free business help 24/7.
Like you, I am a busy business owner. Each day I am juggling my time between client deadlines, daily email responses and last minute emergencies. Posting on social media can often become one of those items that falls to the bottom of the to do list. So, after several months of being completely inconsistent in my outbound communications, I came up with a system that keeps me on track: a simple social media cheat sheet:
1) Each day of the week, I decide on a general format for the post of the day:
2) I then list information sources (blogs, journals, newsletters, etc.) and create RSS feeds. In this way I have an endless stream of interesting material.
3) I then tweak the list for different audiences and different social media platforms. LinkedIn may have more academic articles and statistics. In Twitter I highlight “fun facts” from articles or stories.
4) Each month I review the interaction and views I get for each post and see which posts get attention, and which are ho hum. I can then adjust to improve the value for my audience. The best part about my cheat sheet is it relieves a big daily stressor: what am I going to post? I am able to be more consistent and thoughtful. And I am also able to post in advance or even enlist help when I know I will be especially busy or away on vacation.
What systems do you use to keep your social media humming along? Share in the comments section below.