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On Small Business
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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 05/24/2013

Small business advice: Social media success requires learning the nuances of each site

On Small Business routinely reaches out to a panel of entrepreneurs for answers to some of the most pressing questions facing small business owners. The following responses are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).

Q: An effective post of Facebook may not make an effective tweet on Twitter. What tricks or nuances have you learned work best for business owners on various social networking sites?


A view of an iPhone in Washington Tuesday, May 21, 2013, showing the Twitter and Facebook apps among others. A new poll finds that teens are sharing more about themselves on social media. They’re also moving increasingly to Twitter to avoid their parents and the "oversharing" that they see on Facebook. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Evan Vucci - AP)

Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance in New York, New York:

“Each of the major social media websites has its own nuances and idiosyncrasies, and it’s important to fully understand these. But with any social media marketing initiative, creating quality content should be your main focus. If you can’t provide your readers with advice and tips they can actually use, you’re unlikely to enjoy much success. Here is a breakdown for some of the main social media platforms:

Facebook marketing should focus on customer engagement. To improve interaction, post questions, surveys, and polls. Hosting a raffle can be helpful too. Be sure to respond to all comments to keep the discussion lively.

On Twitter, craft your tweets in such a way that the reader will be enticed to click. Ask an interesting question in your tweet (tied to the topic) or explain how your post can help readers solve a problem.

On LinkedIn, your posts and updates should be geared toward professionals. You’ll be connecting with other businesses as well as customers, so keep that in mind. Participate in LinkedIn’s ‘Answers’ section to showcase your expertise.

Pinterest and Tumblr should be used for visual marketing — post photos, images, videos, and infographics about your business.

In order to effectively use YouTube, do a keyword analysis for your industry, and create videos based on them. Include the keywords in the titles of your videos and a link to your website in the video’s description. Create a verbal call to action at the end of your video. This is where you specifically explain what the reader should do to get more information.”

Nicole Smartt, vice president and co-owner of Star Staffing in Petaluma, California:

Brand consistency can be developed across social media platforms, to minimize repeating steps. Again, for heavier networking, rely on the platforms that encourage this. For concise promotions, focus on those platforms that are brief and easy to share. To generate buzz, cross-post from, for instance, Twitter to Facebook – there are many inexpensive or free services that do this automatically.

Likes, followers and connections are most successful when it’s a “no-brainer” for your target audience to participate. Re-tweeting takes less than a second; sharing on Facebook takes only marginally longer. Your messages have a better chance of going viral if your content is clear and your base is engaged.

Keep it brief and exciting – you might be surprised at what sort of buzz a small piece of new information might create, and promotions that don’t cut into your margin can still make a marked difference.

Keep your content concise and relevant. Ensure your logo is present in each social media platform, and that your core values are visible. This will ensure your audience will stay proactively engaged.”

Bryan Silverman, co-founder of Star Toilet Paper in New York, New York:

“Ask around! Social media is all about interacting with both the public as well as potential partners on the business end. Check out what other businesses like you are doing to increase interaction and ask questions on social media — people will tell you what they want to see and how they want to interact with your brand.

Every day, you work inside the brand, but how is that portrayed to the public? Well, now we have social media to tell us just that — don’t be afraid to be transparent, just ask!”

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of promising young entrepreneurs.

Follow the YEC and On Small Business on Twitter.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 05/24/2013

Tags:  small business, social media

 
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