Compare one of your friend’s Facebook profiles with your business profile on Facebook. Do you notice any differences? I would be willing to bet that you can clearly see your friend’s personality, interests, and lifestyle on a personal profile page. Unfortunately, many businesses forget to flesh out their profiles with the same vigor. They copy and paste generic company information from profile to profile, leaving readers with no real sense of the company’s culture, mission, or personality.
Businesses of all sizes can freely and easily create profiles on most social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Whether you operate a one-man service shop for computers or you run a small law firm, social media serves as a reference point for audiences and a way to showcase information not easily conveyed via a website homepage.
Starting/Updating a Social Media Page for Business
Social media pages are incredibly easy to setup. Once you decide which network to start with, the site itself will walk you through the necessary steps needed to create a basic profile. Instead of rushing through the tutorials and help sections, take some time to read through the suggestions and information available to your business.
If you already have a social media page, look back occasionally to see if the profile setup information offers any new tips and tricks your business can use now. For instance, you may notice a new ad option you can use to your advantage. Facebook offers a free online training program called Facebook Blueprint for business owners and social media managers.
The sites themselves will show you how to start a new account and add some details. Here are some of the most popular social media sites for posting business pages and profiles:
Note: While you may feel obligated to create multiple social media pages to reach a wider audience, sign up only for networks you can maintain over time. If you sign up for and abandon business profiles, you could create an opportunity for brand confusion and reputation damage.
Fleshing Out Profile Details
Input all the basic information you have available, including your current contact information, address, formal business name, and website URL. Keep this same information for each network sorted in an Excel file, so you can quickly see which profiles need updating when information changes. This compilation of information will also serve you well if you hire a social media manager in the future.
Then, consider your audience on a platform. Will you cater primarily to young consumers or more toward other business owners? Always choose content and a voice that will connect with your intended audience. Use boilerplate as a starting point only. Create new content for every site with regard to your audience and your purpose for engaging on the network.
Target is usually pretty on point with social media activities. In this comparison between its Google+ and Facebook profiles, you can see the different approach the business takes based on its marketing objectives. You may need a Google+ profile as part of your search engine optimization, but you may not look at it as a popular way to expand your audience. Target stuck with strong brand imagery and relatable content on that profile.
On Facebook, however, you can see Target content creators spent much more time fleshing out the story, culture, and personality they want to represent. Someone who sees a post or advertisement can click on the company profile and instantly gain an understanding of the brand.
While most people know the Target brand before they ever see the red bullseye on social media, they may not know anything about your small business. Your profile page is an opportunity to give consumers some insight into your mission and culture. When you create these profiles, put your best foot forward.
Tips for Creating and Refreshing Captivating Content
Whether you’re looking back at an existing profile or creating a new one to represent your brand, keep these tips for content development in mind:
- Use an appropriate voice. Social media is not the space for third person formal writing. Instead, consider it an opportunity to connect with your target market on an emotional level and inspire brand loyalty. Develop style guidelines for your brand as you start to recognize patterns you prefer. For example, something as small as not capitalizing any letters can turn into a brand differentiator. How will your writing reflect your brand?
- Showcase your values and mission. Beyond having the right paint color an interior decorator needs, what should make a painter choose your shop over the local hardware store? The TOMS shoe brand donates one pair of shoes for every sale it makes. Walmart offers the lowest prices. Maybe your business sources all products from a local or regional market. Impart your value and your mission to inspire connectivity.
- Refresh the content regularly. Brands are like living organisms. A sedentary lifestyle rarely suits them. If you’re still using branding language from the late 1990s or even the early 2000s, overhaul the content. Reimagine your business model for the modern world and give your audience something they can’t resist.
- Engage on the platform. Aside from posting and refreshing company information in your profile, every business must use social media in an active and engaging way. Expand your strategy beyond reposting blogs and redirecting readers to your website. Post a joke, comment on a community member’s page, or develop a poll. Social media offers next-level insight and engagement with your audience, if you’ll mix up your messaging to include more of your brand personality.
Social media can serve as a lackluster addendum to your marketing strategy or as a door into a new world of audience engagement. If you’re involved on social media, give the pages the time and consideration they deserve. Doing so will add a little extra oomph to any content you post containing social media buttons.
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