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As a business owner you easily and casually have conversations with customers, employees, vendors, and other businesses on a regular basis. Social Media Marketing shouldn’t scare you. It is just a tool for you to have more conversations. While it takes a bit of your time to be involved in the virtual world it could be just the “edge” you need to get people talking about you and your company.

Don’t think of it as a giant stage with a microphone. “Hello…. Hello… hello…” doesn’t echo through a silent room of strangers. Think of it as a casual get together at your favorite restaurant or bar … and just start chatting. You want to get to know people!

There are some great articles about how to start, where to start, etc. I’ll gladly list a few at the bottom. Keep this in mind, though; learn as you go. Just like you wouldn’t suggest a college student wait until graduation to start dabbling in the field he loves, you shouldn’t wait for some magical cap & gown to appear before you start creating your online voice and talking with others.

There are a few things I consistently say to my 3 year old daughter when it comes to engaging with others and, in my opinion, these life rules are crucial to your successful online conversations as well:

1. Use your “big girl” voice
No need to change your tone when posting on a blog, facebook, or twitter. People want to hear your “voice” coming through loud and clear. The same person who had the spark of an idea to start or continue a business is the same person we want to hear “speaking” to us online. Give us your take on current events, local opportunities, and personal adventures. Your voice is unique to you and that’s what makes us listen! If you don’t feel comfortable doing the talking, designate someone who will represent you well and create a unique voice for you.

2. Remember your manners
Please and thank you go a long way no matter what age you are! If someone leaves you a comment or review, reply! Replying to comments, whether negative or positive, allows you to address concerns & praises with intention and dignity. Let them know you’re listening too. It’s a conversation from start to finish and your few words of thanks or apology may just get you a customer for life.

3. Be a good friend
Acquaintances say hello occassionally. Good friends keep in touch on a regular basis. It need not be every day but you should be checking in on your online friends and connecting with them on a weekly basis. Tell us about your day. Share a funny story. Link us to something you love. And certainly tell us about your deals, discounts, and coupons! Your online presence should be maintained like a good friendship. Care, consistency, and comedy are always good ingredients in any relationship. Neglecting your online relationship is like social suicide! Remember: To have friends you must first be a friend!

If you’re still overwhelmed or worried or just plain bored with me … here are a few other resources for you to check out.

Social Media Marketing Resources
Real examples of companies utilizing social media:
Pizza owner from Chicago
Social Media Examiner Cold Stone Transforms the Ice Cream Social With Facebook

In the News:
NY Times Should every business invest in social media?
Fox Business The Right Way to Use Social Media to Extend Your Brand

Outspoken Media (My favorite site for learning about social media)
Social Media Beginners guide and links
How Companies Should Respond to Negative Reviews

If that doesn’t get you started, call me and we’ll start an online conversation together!

Jacqui Hofmaster cell: 704-284-9447
On twitter: justjacqs
Shelby Known Marketing Packages