Small Business Social Media Best Practices?
January 31, 2011 7:57 AM   Subscribe

What are the best-practices for a small business with limited resources when it comes to juggling the major social media platforms (e.g., FaceBook, Twitter, and blog)?

In essence, this question boils down to "which comes first?", "what goes where?" and in what form when it comes to a small business [brick/mortar + online retail sales, not B2B] and social media. We're prepared to devote a substantial portion of our time to keeping the Twitter stream flowing and the blog updated with new content, but am stumbling when it comes to understanding the "hierarchy" of blog/Twitter/Facebook. More specifically:

1. Other than the company's blog being the repository of detailed, longer-form articles, what are the differences between a post on a blog vs. Facebook? How do we efficiently deal with both?

2. Should every new post to the blog be automatically linked and posted to Twitter? If not, what are some guidelines as to how to use Twitter most effectively when the blog is really where our true style and content will live.

3. If it is still the case that the blog should be the "home" port of what we publish (not sure about that), it is considered acceptable to basically just republish blog content into the Facebook feed of the blog? If not, how should Facebook be used in conjunction with a blog?

We're struggling with how Facebook should fit into our plan given the huge amount of time and resources that Facebook seems to demand and the desire to keep control over our content vs. turning it over to Zuckerberg et al. Basically, we can handle Twitter and the blog for the most part, but introducing FaceBook into the mix is confounding us and we are leery of out-sourcing this to a vendor for all kinds of reasons.

(I've tried to keep this from becoming tl;dr, but may have come across as being more newbies than we actually are, but our google-fu is failing us when it comes to finding reliable info on working all three of these forums together as a cohesive whole image of the business)./
posted by webhund to Work & Money (4 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Facebook doesn't consume the amount of time you seem to think it would.

Just create a page on FB for your company and link your twitter feed to it. Presumably, your blog posts will be posted to Twitter, so then Twitter would popular your company's FB wall with your blog posts.

So, the workflow would look like this: Write blog posts --> Populate Twitter with blog posts --> automatically update FB wall with your Twitter feed.

If your concern is having people put inappropriate stuff on your FB company page, change those settings to prohibit people other than the administrators from publishing content on your FB page.

See here for instructions on linking Twitter to Facebook.
posted by dfriedman at 8:35 AM on January 31, 2011

(BTW, I do this stuff all the time for my company's page. If you want to, you can find my company's page via my Metafilter can see its link to Twitter and Facebook...)
posted by dfriedman at 8:36 AM on January 31, 2011

Best answer: Facebook, Twitter, and your blog are three seperate things, and I wouldn't recommend simply using Twitter and FB solely as a blog-republishing engine. Here are some ways to think about each channel:

Twitter: Perfect for having small conversations with strangers and building up a relationship with them. An ideal way to build up a reputation of being helpful in a particular area, publishing useful snippets or news about a particular industry, or just being interesting online. Two great routes for using Twitter would be:
* Using it for PR, following and interacting with the people that you wish were writing about you / using your product, etc. Try choosing only 10 and focus on reading everything they write for a month, then see if you have any useful information to tweet to them.
* Using it for customer service (this works if you have a product that's out there), watching out for your product being mentioned and making sure if it's a complaint it's dealt with, if it's praise it's humbly acknowledged, etc.

Facebook: You're more likely to get participation in FB than on a blog (because the barrier to participation is so low), so FB is perfect for fun little contests, quizzes, and more in-depth ways to interact with your customers/fans. Skyscanner have a great Facebook page where they run monthly photo competitions and let everyone vote by "liking" each photo. You could run caption competitions, "name our new product," or ask questions about what your fans think.

Blog: Use this to help people find you online and get to know you -- show your subject matter expertise, talk about behind-the-scenes, and basically communicate to people who aren't yet willing to press the "like" button in Facebook. Theoretically you could do all this within FB, but your blog can be very important for improving the search engine rankings for your site - by blogging your subject matter expertise, you can demonstrate to Google and to others that you are a worthy read / leading product in your particular field.

There is of course cross-posting between these channels - so if you write a great, well-thought-out blog entry about the state of industry X, absolutely mention it on your social media feeds. Similarly, if you're getting a ton of great responses on your facebook caption competition, mention it on your blog. But each channel has its own strengths, so try to play to each one.
posted by ukdanae at 8:59 AM on January 31, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Chris Brogan is a social media consultant, whose company Human Business Works (HBW) works primarily with small businesses. You could contact him, initially, for speaking about where you can focus your social media efforts.

In the meanwhile, I found this blog post by him to be pretty awesome - its a 101 crash course on setting up a social media presence without all the bells and whistles that seem to occupy much of the web.

Elsewhere in the site, you can see how the different platforms provide different ROI - depending on your business, engagement with your customers can happen more in some platforms that in others. From a thumb rule perspective (my experience, not CBs') is that a good blog with a good design and great content, followed by Twitter for real time interaction brings in more engagement than Facebook.

I would modify dfriedman's flow a bit. You can pull up your blog posts directly into FB rather than through Twitter. Use twitter more for interaction and quick response rather than make it "robotic".
posted by theobserver at 9:18 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

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