Hi there! Mary here, Grasshopper’s Social Media and Community Specialist. You may have read one of my posts before, but this month I’m writing a four part series focused on taking your social media to the next level. It’ll be fun, I promise!

For this week’s post, we’ll start with some basics: why social media is important to your business, the do’s and don’ts of using social, and talk a little bit about the potential it holds to help your business grow. If you don’t use social media for your business, this is a great place to begin. If you do, you might just learn a few new things!

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I'll be your guide

Repeat after me: Social Media is important to my business

I know, I know — you’ve heard it a million times. Well, I’m going to say it a few more. Social media is important to your business. Why? I’m glad you asked!

Listen to the chatter

First and foremost, people are talking about you. Whether you like it or not, your business has most likely been the subject of a Facebook post or tweet at some point or another. Maybe it was good, maybe it was bad. If you don’t have a social presence, then you’ll never know. How scary is that?

Make a human connection

Second, you have an amazing opportunity to connect with customers in a unique way — and it doesn’t always have to be customer service related. Obviously it’s helpful to be able to diffuse an angry customer with a quick response on Facebook.

But, it can also be fun to send a quick tweet to wish someone a happy birthday, or congratulate your hometown little league team on their championship win with a Facebook post. It can seem small, but it’s the little things that stick in people’s minds.

Provide above and beyond service

My third point is closely related to the first: customer service, plain and simple. It’s great to know what people are saying about you, but it’s equally important to make sure you’re listening and acknowledging your customers' thoughts and opinions.

Oftentimes customers head to social media because they feel they’re not being heard. Unfortunately, this is a product of the world we live in, where businesses provide such low levels of customer service that people feel they need to actively reach out in a public arena to get a resolution.

This presents an awesome opportunity for you to shine, simply by responding to a post or tweet, acknowledging the issue, and making sure to resolve it. The mere fact that you are taking the problem seriously is more action than many large companies (who have far more resources) demonstrate on a daily basis.

Now that you have an understanding of why social media is so important to your business, let’s talk about some do’s and don’ts of using it.

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

Social media for personal use and for business use are two completely different things. While you may be used to speaking colloquially and using slang and abbreviations on your personal profiles, you’ll want to keep those to a minimum when posting on social. Here’s some of the other main things to keep in mind when you’re active on social:

DO: Use your business name and logo for your handles and profile pictures. It cuts down on confusion when people are looking for your business.

DO: Use personality when you’re talking to people using your business accounts. No one likes a robot!

DO: Double-check your spelling and grammar before hitting “post.” It may sound silly, but not as silly as you’ll feel when someone points out a spelling error in the comments (it happens).

DON’T: Get offended by, or in fights with, people on your social channels. There’s always going to be a negative comment, even after you’ve done as much as you can to correct a wrong situation. Let it roll off your back, and focus on the 10 other nice comments.

DON’T: Rapid-fire post. Some networks, like Twitter, are built for multiple posts in a day (or even an hour), but your fans and followers don’t want to see a stream of updates from you within a 10 minute span.

DON’T: Be afraid to have fun! If it fits the personality of your business, post fun memes and photos, celebrate silly holidays, and just have a good time.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Okay, that’s not quite true. But using social media effectively can help get your business’ name out there, and will translate to new customers for you. At the very least, it’ll keep you top of mind for people that you may not have accessed through traditional means. When those people have a need for what you offer, they’re more likely to come to you first, rather than turning to Google.

Building brand awareness is a great goal for starting to use social media in earnest, and if you focus your efforts towards that, you'll be able to build on your success as you become more comfortable with it.

Like this post? Check back next week for Part II in our Get Social with Mary series! Coming up: learn the ins and outs of paid advertising on social media.

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