Social networking dos and don'ts

Monday, April 16, 2012

These days it's no longer a question of if a businesses should use social media. Companies large and small are now reaching customers this way. We asked some local businesses with social media experience to share some of their social media strategies.

DO Post photos on Facebook: "A picture speaks a thousand words. I always include a picture of merchandise to entice the buyer. I try to keep the content fun, colorful and simple. I love sharing pictures of my customers and their favorite finds. This also drives traffic to your site, because they will share the link with friends and family."

DON'T give all the information away in the post: "If the viewer already can see every single thing in the store from the pictures and they already know the price, they may be less likely to come and see it for themselves."

--Laurie Everett, owner, Annie Laurie's Antiques

DO Give people a reason to 'like' your page: "I see so many advertisers making the mistake of simply asking people to like their page, but with all of the clutter on Facebook these days you have to give consumers a reason to like your page. Do you share insightful industry trends? Do you have awesome giveaways? Are you funny? Just make sure that you hold up your end of the bargain. If you say you're going to share industry trends, make sure you actually share them!"

DON'T Obsess over numbers: "It is better to have 10 fans who listen, participate and buy than to have 10,000 fans who don't hear a word you say."

--Toni Eftink, project manager, Element 74

DON'T Be like Boner's BBQ: The Atlanta business called out a customer on Facebook and Twitter and linked to her personal social networking account after she posted a negative review of the restaurant on the website YELP.com. In January, the restaurant posted the customer's photo from her Facebook page on their own Facebook page and accused her of failing to leave a tip after using a coupon to eat at their restaurant. The restaurant later apologized, via social media, but in the meantime, several more negative reviews were posted on YELP in response to the company's unprofessional behavior.

--Erica Wheeler, director of brand strategy, BOLD Marketing

DO Be Friendly: "Try adding a personal note to your social media profiles. Snap some candid photos around your office. Share a little bit about some of your key team members on a personal level."

DON'T ignore your audience:"If you get an unfavorable comment, don't delete it. Instead, address it. If someone asks a question about your business in a post, answer it."

--Melissa Miller, business editor, Southeast Missourian

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