A nest full of hash tags.
Creative Commons image by Garrett Heath.

Creative Commons image by Garrett Heath.

You might have heard that Google is now displaying Tweets in search results. If youa��re not on Twitter, you might not know what all of the hullaballoo is about. Basically, Twitter is a microblogging site, and Googlea��s decision to show Twitter posts is giving individuals and businesses another way to become recognized. Want to know more? Read on for tips on optimizing your Twitter account.

Follow, Follow, Follow

If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, you might find that ita��s better to limit who you follow so you can actually interact with people. Because people who Twitter tend to post a bit (or a lot) more prolifically than those who use other social media sites due to the nature of the platform, youa��re not going to be able to acknowledge every Tweet (or even every tenth Tweet) anyway, so go ahead and build up your audience.

Following other people is a great way to get them to follow you. Dona��t discriminate: If someone follows you, you follow them right back. In addition get into the habit of following other business owners in your area, friends of friends, people who have hobbies similar to yours, people who have similar (or different) political views… you get the idea. Keep in mind that if you are following many more people than are following you, Twitter will impose some limits once you follow 2,000 people.

Jump Into Conversations

Dona��t wait to be invited. If you have a response to a Tweet, then go ahead and Tweet it! Keep in mind that these Tweets might be what comes up on your Google search results, of course. Re-tweet items and link to other peoplea��s websites.

On the side of your main page, you will see that there is a list of trending terms. If you have something to say about any of these terms, go right ahead. On the other hand, if you have nothing to say, dona��t try to work them in where they dona��t make sense.

Dona��t Be Spammy

People who only promote themselves on their Twitter feeds will soon find themselves without any followers. Link to other sites in and out of your industry. Share interesting tidbits that dona��t have anything to do with your business. Link to your blog, but link to othersa�� blogs as well. In short, dona��t be too self-centered. Remember that brevity is a virtue; do not type out a long post and just divide it into several Tweets. It really doesna��t work that way!

In conclusion, the two most important things to keep in mind when using Twitter are:

  1. Be human. Dona��t Tweet like a robot; have opinions, and share them. Customize your background. Go ahead and use some text-speak, as long as you can be understandable; people know that you are limited to 140 characters.
  2. Use some discretion. Now that Google is putting your Tweets out there for the world to see, youa��re going to want to keep that in mind every single time you post. Remember, the Internet is forever.

Happy Tweeting!

Social Media Success
Social Media Success

Creative commons image by Sean MacEntee.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have talked about many different types of social media and image-sharing websites. Hopefully you have been able to take some time to decide which sites are best for you to focus on when it comes to marketing your small business. Since each site is different, we are going to go through a few hints for engaging with your followers. Some of the tips will not be applicable to every site, of course, but you will be able to get a general idea for what you should be doing (and not doing) in order to boost interest and interaction with your social media profiles.

Be Consistent

Probably the most important thing to remember is the adage, a�?out of sight, out of mind.a�? You need to post often enough that your followers dona��t forget who you are. Now with that comes a caveat: You dona��t want to annoy people! Dona��t post a dozen videos in a row, dona��t promote yourself 20 times per day and dona��t let all of your followers know every food item you put in your mouth (unless youa��re a food blogger or a chef!).

Come up with an appropriate schedule for posting. If youa��re using Facebook, you will want to do this no more than a few times per day. If youa��re on Twitter, however, you can plan to post more often if you want to. Take a look at the site in question and notice what other are doing in terms of post frequency.

Dona��t Be Predictable

Once you have gotten your consistency strategy down pat, youa��re going to want to vary things a bit. Rotate the types of posts you put up. If you have a blog, go ahead and post links to each post as you publish them, but consider introducing one with an infographic, another with a quote, yet another with a question, and so on.

Acknowledge Your Followers

If you get new followers, go ahead and call them out! People love to be acknowledged. Also, if someone asks a question on your YouTube channel or Facebook feed, go ahead and answer it right there. Respond to comments. In short, you want to avoid giving the impression that you do not care what your followers have to say.

Provide Something of Interest

Whether ita��s a link to a shocking news story, professional advice or a contest that will earn one of your followers free services or products, make sure that most of what youa��re posting will capture the attention of your readers. Choose images carefully and do what you can to encourage responses, likes and shares/repostings.

Dona��t Forget to Network

Remember the a�?sociala�? part of social media. Have fun with it and get in touch with others! You can run a search to find people who are in the same industry as you are, who have grown up in your hometown or who have the same non-work interests. Fill out your profile and dona��t be shy about contacting others.

Also, try to develop a network of people in your area who have businesses that complement yours. For example, if you are a plumber, you might want to refer a client to an electrician at some point. Go ahead and use social media to your advantage in finding local contacts. The more people you know, the greater your chances of having more referrals rolling in.

As you can see, you can really spend a lot of time on social media! If youa��re just starting out, ita��s best to choose just one or two sites to get up and running before devoting time to more. Remember that while social media is an important part of marketing in 2015 and beyond, ita��s not the only part. Limit yourself to a certain amount of time per day or per week and make the most of it!

social media for local business
social media

CC image courtesy of Jason Howie

As a small business owner, you are undoubtedly busy. Whether youa��re a new entrepreneur or you have been running your company for a while, the responsibilities of keeping a small business afloat can be overwhelming. Ita��s understandable that you dona��t have a lot of time to devote to your social media presence. In 2015, with the majority of people not only using social media, but also relying on it as a main source of information, it is vital that you devote some time and effort to building and maintaining your Internet presence.

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing ways that you can relate to your clients, customers, colleagues and the community at large through social media. For today, wea��ll talk about the different sites that you can use to begin promoting yourself as you engage others.

Facebook: The Big One

If you ask a random sampling of people which social media site is used the most frequently, chances are excellent that most will mention Facebook. They would be correct; with billions of users, Facebook is the most popular social media site today. If you are going to make only one social media profile, chances are good that Facebook is the one that makes the most sense.

Twitter: Keep It Short, Sweetheart

Part of Twittera��s appeal is that users are limited to 140 characters in each post. This makes it easy to sip your coffee and read through the daya��s (or more likely, the houra��s) news. The character limit can make it challenging to post the details that you need to, however, so youa��ll need to practice brevity to succeed here.

Pinterest: An Up-and-Coming Leader

Pinterest is gaining a lot of interest. Most business owners can carve their own niche into Pinterest, even if it does not seem obvious at first. While some might think that the site is geared toward crafty homemakers, there is a lot of opportunity here for almost anyone.

Instagram: Say Cheese!

Instagram, a smartphone app based on images and video, is a hot social media site worth looking into. It takes little time to keep it updated, and you can snap photos with your phone, making it convenient to use.

LinkedIn: Business Networking Meets Social Media

LinkedIn is great for any business owner or entrepreneur. It will put you in contact with others in your industry, as well as those looking for professionals in your field. This is one of the networking sites that you can get away with not updating as frequently, but it is important to keep your contact details current.

And Much More

There are many other sites to consider as well, including Google+, Tumblr, Vine, YouTube and Flickr. Wea��ll be going over the pros and cons of each of these.

In the digital age, it makes sense to keep your social media presence as a high priority. If you dona��t have a lot of time to devote, wea��ll go over some tips on making the most of the time investment that you can make. We think youa��ll find that ita��s worth it to put some effort into engaging with your potential customers, past clients and others in the community.