social mediaSo, you have your own business and need to stop playing with social media and leverage it.

Good for you!  Small Business is the grease in the economic cog and social media can help.  What can social media do?  It dramatically expands the exposure of your business.  Managed properly, it can bring you revenue from customers you might otherwise have never met.  It can also cement your brand, establish your credentials and showcase your work.

Where to start?  Get a management tool such as Crowdbooster, TweetDeck or SocialSafe.  These tools allow you to check multiple accounts, messages and schedule tweets or Facebook posts in advance.  The benefit is that you don’t come across as a spammer, don’t forget important posts and can manage your social media presence effectively without it sucking up all your time.

SocialSafe is my new favorite toy because it stores your info from all the social media profiles and allows you to keep up with who unfollowed or unfriended you and review posts and tweets across the major outlets.

Why is it important to track this information?  To protect the integrity of your account and thus, your online reputation.  Status People is a great online app that checks your followers to find out how many may be “fakers”, spammers who follow you briefly to get more followers so they can send out spam messages.  Who needs that?

Next, focus on content.  Great, useful and uplifting content is what brings and keeps followers.  Engagement with followers through retweets and shout outs is also important.  Once you get over 500 followers, you will not be able to mention them all on a regular basis, so set up a core group and add a rotation of others as you can.  Thank them or mention something they have offered recently.

Finally, be polite.  Manners count when no one can see your expression or hear the tone of your voice.  Don’t use all caps except for emphasis of important points.  Be nice even to the negative comments you may get or, just ignore them.  Don’t unfriend or unfollow just because you don’t like a particular comment.  But Do unfriend or unfollow excessive profanity or unprofessional postings.  You don’t want your business to get a negative reputation by assocation.

The next part of this series will be next week and will talk about the pros and cons of Google+ and LinkedIn.  Let us know in the comments if this has been helpful to you.