You’re Not Using Social Media to Grow Your Business?
Promoting your business via social media is the best deal out there. Why? It’s free. This episode of “The Bottom Line” looks at how you can use social media to grow your business. We examine the different communication platforms available, how to take the first step, when to post, and some other key points to help foster success. So let’s get started.
Dave Plaskow:Hello and welcome to The Bottom Line. This podcast examines the everyday business and finance issues faced by closely held and private businesses. We hope to provide you with news you can use and what we like to think of as a jargon-free zone. I'm your host Dave Plaskow and with us, as always, is Tim Schuster, a manager in EisnerAmper’s Private Business Services Group. Today we're going to switch it up a little bit, and Tim is actually going to interview me on some tips for growing your business with the help of social media.
Tim Schuster: Dave! Hello!
Hey Tim. This feels kind of weird actually.
TS: It does, but I like this little role reversal we're doing today.
DP: Well with the constant complaining about how busy you are with tax season, I figured I’d take over this month.
TS: It's a perfect topic for you. We're all basically aware of social media and everyone's heard of Facebook and Twitter, but a lot of companies, even the largest, don't always use their digital platforms to help grow their business.
DP:Yeah and they're missing a huge opportunity here. If for no other reason, look, there's no fee for having an account on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn and there's no cost for posting on these platforms. I mean, you'll never get a better deal than free.
TS:Oh no, you'll never get a better deal than free. So what's the first step?
DP: You really need to develop website content, something that you can push out to people. It's that concept of active marketing, going to the consumer rather than passive marketing where you're waiting for the consumer to come to you. Another term we like to call it is thought leadership. It can be articles, it can be short blogs, it can be videos, it can be information on upcoming events, it can be press releases, it can be a podcast like this one. But you want to post stuff on your website that is helpful and newsworthy for readers. You don't want it to be too self-serving per se. You don't want to put up an ad on your website and say “we're the best company in America” and push that out. For example, if you're a realtor, you might have an article that someone on your team writes about the pros and cons of fixed-rate versus adjustable mortgages. Post that on your website, push it out on your social media platforms. Or, let's say you have a short video tour of a commercial property that's for sale that you're handling. Again, taking thought leadership, commenting on topics that could be potentially valuable to consumers and pushing it out to them.
TS: What are the next steps after that?
DP: Then you want to look at the platforms themselves. For example, LinkedIn, it's predominantly a business site. Every business should be there. Again going back to the real estate example post on LinkedIn, members of our firm presented on a panel on reverse mortgages during the recent realtors conference and expo, something like that. Twitter is great for short-form, condensed breaking news. The realtor just listed a great house in Montclair, we're holding an open house on Sunday from 1 to 4pm. Don't miss it! Just real down and dirty, quick and to the point. It's almost written like a headline. Facebook tends to be a little less formal, but it can be a great place for posting something like: check out some nice photos of our employees who volunteered at the local animal shelter this past weekend, kind of a feel-good type of thing.
TS: So you have different types of posts, but what else is there?
DP: The common theme is that they all get your brand message out to the public. You're promoting your business, what you do, your mission, and the people who work there. So the goal is to really establish credibility through thought leadership and to really put your business in the consciousness of consumers' minds.
TS: What's important in addition to the content you share?
DP:Sure. Frequency is a big part of it. It's not going to help you if you post on Twitter once every six months. You need to be consistent, have a Twitter tip of the day, have a monthly podcast that you post the third Thursday of every month at 11:00 am. The realtor again, share your home of the week on Facebook. You want to develop a following and audience. You want to be consistent, almost like appointment thought leadership.
TS: Is there anything else?
DP: Yeah, I would say try to engage with your audience. Say something like, send us ideas for articles that you'd like to read about. Enter your name to win an iPad. Show us before and after pictures of a new home that you just bought. Establishing two-way communication is always better than one-way.
TS:Let me tell you something. I would personally love an iPad. Who’s a good person to spearhead this as a company?
DP:Well, you want to start slow. You could go to a local college and look for an intern who's majoring in this area. You can hire a part-time tech-savvy person to manage the posting and the monitoring. But as you grow and hopefully see the benefits from this, you can consider hiring a full-time social media person.
TS:Makes sense. Now once you master the basics, what's next?
DP: You could definitely get more advanced. For example, you could get analytics to show you what your results are, what content is doing well at what times of day. You could purchase ads to supplement what you're doing in a very cost-effective way. There's a lot more, but one step at a time.
TS:I think it's time to switch the roles back again.
DP:Yeah Tim, I'm going to put you back in the interviewee chair where you belong so you can give us one of your patented New Jersey Historical Society Fun Facts.
TS:It will be my pleasure. Today let's discuss Albert Einstein. Everyone's familiar with him. While he's not a Jersey native, he spent his time when he immigrated to the U.S. in Princeton, New Jersey.
He started his career as a patent clerk in Switzerland. So anyone can amount to anything if you put your mind to it. It's the little things.
DP:Well, this is the point where I'd generally say thank you, Tim, for this valuable information. But I'm going to thank myself for this information and thank you for listening to The Bottom Line as part of the EisnerAmper podcast series. If you have any questions or there's a topic you'd like us to cover, email us at email@example.com. Visit eisneramper.com for more information on this and a host of other topics. And join us for our next EisnerAmper podcast when we get down to business.
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