This post topic was inspired by the 2014 VRMA presentation of the same name by our friends at Intercoastal Net Designs.
Thanks to the recent explosion of social media, the advertising playing field has been leveled for both big and small businesses. In fact, this is one area where small businesses can compete effectively against their larger competition. When used wisely, social media can put you ahead of other businesses in your area. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Put the "social" back in social media.
One of the great advantages social media has over traditional advertising is that it allows you to interact directly with potential travelers. They're looking for businesses that actively "like" posts, retweet often, ask and answer questions and have a well-established presence on the social networks they frequent.
Make sure all of your profiles look fantastic and reflect your business well. Social networks offer broad design and text capabilities, so make the most of them. Get creative and have some fun while making sure your brand message is not off-base or missing any major components. Taglines, colors and themes should all conform to your established brand.
Respond quickly and professionally to issues.
Every business will get the occasional criticism – embrace it as an opportunity to grow and learn! If your business receives negative feedback or comments on social media, move quickly and address the complaint. If needed, take the discussion offline, but do demonstrate that you are aware of and care about the situation. By responding promptly and professionally, your social media followers will see that you are a source to be trusted.
Allow sharing from everywhere.
Have social media “sharing”, “follow” and “like” buttons on every page of your site and in all email communications. Connect social channels where applicable to expand your reach. Let people know what social media sites you are on, how they can find you and how to share those sites with friends and family.
Don't be on every network.
If you don’t have time for Instagram and LinkedIn – or you don’t have a business that supports it -- avoid them. You don’t need to be on the “Big Six” networks if you'd rather spend the time and energy to dominate a few of them.
Have a strategy.
Creating a smart strategy is half the battle. Don’t just post to post! Find out what interests your audience and let that be your guide. For example, “Throwback Thursday” has recently caught on with social media users who post photos of themselves from back in the day. Can you think of a way to make it work for your business, or come up with an original strategy to showcase your products or services?