Here at WideFoc.us, Leah Charney, our chief flamingo wrangler and director of operations, likens proper social media etiquette to a cocktail party. Nobody likes the person who only talks about himself all night. Far more interesting is the person who takes an interest in what the other guests have to say, discusses a recent article they read on a topic related to their business, or shares an interesting statistic they learned. That perfect party guest asks questions and is genuinely interested in the answers. It’s not public speaking; it’s having a conversation.
This is also how a small business should approach its social media strategy: People want to like the minds behind the product as much as the product itself. Don’t be afraid to have a personality! You shouldn’t have to run every tweet or facebook post up the chain of command for approval if you understand the voice and personality of your brand.
Social media effectiveness is more than just customer service and responding to questions or complaints, though that’s obviously an important component. Be proactive with your engagement. Reach out to other local businesses or potential strategic partners. Ask questions of your followers. Talk about things that concern their community – after all, it’s yours, too.
If you’re local, be local! Show your product within the community and encourage your customers to do the same. Make it a contest, or do it just for fun.
If your staff takes a tour of a brewery or goes to a company lunch at a local restaurant, share pictures of the event on your social channels and tag the place. It’s one thing to start a local business, it’s quite another to embrace that local aspect and embed it into your company’s culture—to demonstrate that you’re part of the community.
You're not a mega-corporation with billions of dollars in revenue. You're not even a nationwide chain with an outlandish advertising budget. And that’s fine. In fact, you probably set up shop because you wanted to provide a local alternative to those places. But if your social media channels are dedicated solely to promoting your business, you might as well be shouting into the void.
--by Jordan White
The self-described Cormac McCarthy of basketball, Jordan is a writer for WideFoc.us and also contributes to online publications such as VICE and Uproxx.