By Lauren Bailey
Being a budding young entrepreneur can be pretty rough. Many have great business ideas but struggle with making formal business plan presentations. Others are clueless when it comes to finding investors, and some struggle simply because they face discrimination due to their young age.
While certain aspects of the industry can only be learned through trial and error, young entrepreneurs do have one small advantage over their older, experienced counterparts—the ability to use social media. But, just because you’ve been using social media sites like Facebook since its inception doesn’t mean you necessarily know how to use it for marketing purposes. To learn the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing, continue reading below.
Do Make Separate Personal and Business Accounts. All too often entrepreneurs, especially the ones fresh out of school, will begin to use their personal social medial accounts to promote their business to their friends. No one likes to be spammed—your friends are not your clients and this is a sure fire way to create resentment towards your start-up business. Instead, make sure that you establish separate accounts—one for your personal use, the other strictly for business. On a similar note, it’s important that you maintain a professional tone when promoting your business account. While this may seem like a no brainer, sometimes young entrepreneurs don’t know where to cross the line as far as tone—did you really need to sound so sarcastic on that post or will someone get offended about the joke you just made?
Do Interact with Your Audience. In order to establish a strong clientele, you need to make sure you do more than just setting up an account and requesting friends and followers. You need to actually engage with your audience. This includes asking for feedback, responding to comments or tweets and of course updating regularly—note that “updating regularly” does not suggest flooding your clients feed or timeline. Make sure your account is active but update moderately. With that said, not only will this help build and keep your followers, but you will get some insight into what your costumers/target audience want or don’t want.
Do Hire a Social Media Intern. While social media marketing can play an intricate role in helping your business thrive, it should not be your main focus. As a leader, you need to make sure that other areas of your business (more important areas) are being taken care of, such as attending meetings with vendors and overseeing your staff. Because social media marketing doesn’t really ‘feel’ like work, some entrepreneurs lose track of time and get too consumed with updating statues and tweets. Instead, hire a social media marketing intern who will work for free or for college credit to take care of your social media site so that you are free to focus on other more important endeavors. If you feel more comfortable taking care of the social media sites yourself until you’ve established a solid audience, then at least limit the time that you spend using that particular marketing tool every day.
Don’t Post Irrelevant Information. While this too may seem like a no-brainer, there are some entrepreneurs who treat their personal and business accounts as if they are one of the same—meaning, they post personal photos, links and update statues and write tweets that have nothing to do with their products or services—do you think your clients really care about your wild vacation in Las Vegas or want to see a ‘cute’ picture of you and your miniature poodle? This is an easy way to lose credibility and of course costumers.
Don’t Sound too Gimmicky. While it’s important to maintain professionalism when updating your business account, it’s equally important that your posts don’t sound too forced or gimmicky. In other words, make sure your posts don’t sound like a walking, breathing advertisement. Be subtle, not obvious. This may seem strange, after all your costumers know that you are in fact a business and that the purpose of your account is for promotional reasons. But the truth of the matter is that unfortunately social media users really don’t receive “obvious” marketing ploys too well. They’ll just end up skipping your posts, tweets, or deleting you entirely out of annoyance if you sound too blatantly promotional. Instead, find other promotional/marketing tactics, like hosting fun quizzes and contests.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin. Lastly, while you may have the urge to get involved in every social media site that is available on the internet, it’s important that you only use a few sites; about two to three is typically a good starting number. In order to use social media as an effective marketing tool, you’ll need to actually dedicate time and pay attention to each individual account. If you get involved in too many, you risk paying more attention to certain sites than others and can ultimately lose clients/costumers if a particular account turns into a “dead” account. Strive to only take on a few accounts at first and see how you deal juggling all of them initially. If you feel that you can add more sites on to your plate later on, then by all means do so.