What’s the real issue here?

While there are so many benefits to utilizing social media in everyday business ventures, there is one universal problem: a lot of business owners don’t know how to use it, and if used improperly it could actually hurt sales.

If you saw my last post, you noticed that there are a number of blogs that focus on social media as a marketing tool. A very good portion of these blogs discuss how to properly use it to take your business in the direction you need to go.

An account that is simply posting once a month, only posts advertisements, or lacking any sort of aesthetic appeal isn’t going to attract the same audience as an account that posts contests daily, tweets back at its fans, and uses colorful or informational photos around their default, cover, and header photos.

A post I saw that I especially loved was that of Rebekah Radice as she explained how the perfect Facebook cover photo can really help with marketing. Not only that, but she also gives 12 ways to do just that. Among these ways was choosing a Fan of the Day or posting contests. I have worked at restaurants that post constantly on Facebook – it’s smart. I like going through my Facebook timeline and seeing a restaurant’s promotion popping up. It impresses me, and I almost always click to read more. When I get to their page and see an impressive or pleasing cover photo, I tend to scroll to see more on their wall. The cover photo is your “in” – post something appealing, and we will keep looking.

Another piece of advice I came across was to “give before you receive.” In other words, post something meaningful before you expect any real results from your followers and audience. “Provide valuable content,” as the author puts it. As I stated in a previous post, I have personally gone to a Twitter account of a business and noticed that they hadn’t posted anything relevant, or anything at all, in the past x amount of weeks or months. I don’t continue reading, and I’m certain I’m not the only one with that impulse reaction.

If you tweet it, they will come.

Dara Fontein also agrees that if you post quality content you are more likely to have a more substantive social media presence. The list continues. Evan LePage takes the time to give his readers 12 ways to improve their social media profiles. It is the universal issue: we don’t know how to create a page that is really going to work.

There are a few things that I think businesses should post on their social media pages that they don’t always post. Facebook gives the option to add a photo number, address, and menu. I think a company is foolish not to oblige all of that information. I couldn’t even count the number of times I’ve learned through Facebook for a restaurant’s phone number, only to come up short. I also am in favor of restaurants who post photos of their entrees and drinks. When you’re trying to find a place to eat, you’re more likely to choose the restaurant that shows you the mouth watering meal that the other guys are only writing about. Humans are visual by nature.

That ties me in to my next personal opinion regarding this: color. Use color. Twitter and Facebook pages that are adorned with colorful photos of their products, interior, or just something fun are much, much more eye catching. We are more drawn to them. I think most people could attest to that.

Following other people is a big one. Unless you’re a celebrity that is just so interesting that everyone wants to follow you regardless of the attention you give back, you need to increase the amount of accounts you follow – or friend on Facebook. Many places have caught onto this. I’ve followed a number of restaurants that I didn’t even know existed because I’d get a notification that they followed my account. I’d check out their page to see what the company was, and typically I’d follow them back. By following me, or anyone, they have increased the number of people who are checking them out. In turn, they have increased the number of people who will retweet the things they say to their own followers, increasing the numbers some more. It’s an essential part of maintaining a Twitter account with the goal of reaching out: engage your audience.

While the main issue with social media marketing is an inability to master it, thankfully there are so many accounts out there making it their mission to give help to those seeking it. Let the education begin.

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