Social media has leveled the playing field between large and small businesses. Small business can even be more effective than larger competitors because they can often react more rapidly. When implemented effectively, social media can elevate your business above the larger competition in your area. Here are 6 tips to get you in the game.

1. It’s called “social” media for a reason!

One of the biggest advantages social media has over traditional advertising is that it allows for direct interaction with existing and potential customers of your business. Consumers are looking for companies that take an interest in them. The purchasing public notices social media activity, re-Tweets, comments, posts, and timely responses to questions. These online activities all go a long way to establishing a more direct line of communication with your stakeholders. 

2. Looking good!

Make sure the profile pages on your various social media platforms reflect who you are, and what you want to communicate. Be creative in highlighting your value proposition, and always ensure that your organization’s branding is on target. Your company (or firm or agency) logo, tagline, and colours should always be consistent both on-line and off-line. Each social network offers design and text capabilities; use them, but stay on strategy.

3. Enter the conversation.

Always respond to online questions, queries or critiques in a timely, professional manner. Your community will notice that you are paying attention and are being responsive. Not all comments will be complimentary. Embrace those opportunities to turn a negative into a positive experience. If necessary you might even take the discussion off-line, but always let those who care enough to comment know that their situation is of importance to your company, and will be dealt with.

4. Share, share, share

Connect your social channels where applicable to expand your reach. Let customers know which of the social media platforms you can be found on. Make sure to put social media “share”, “like” and “follow” buttons on your e-mail signature as well every page of your website to allow friends and family to not only find you but to share their opinions with other possible consumers. 

5. You don’t have to be everywhere.

Decide which platforms are best for your business and leverage them. Each one is different and has a unique raison d’etre and type of following. It’s better to align your profile on fewer but do them correctly than it is to have a presence on too many, and not have the time or resources to execute properly. 

6. Develop a strategy.

Half the game is in creating a strategy that your followers will relate to, and that represent your offerings and their interests. Develop and post content that appeals to them and that they can relate too. Don’t post just to post! Always be on strategy.

You’re on the field. You’re in the game. Now, grab the ball and run with it!