MandyKilinskis Mandy Kilinskis is a member of the Content & Social Team for Quality Logo Products. She spends her days running the company social media accounts, crafting content for their blog, and thinking of synonymous for “majestic.” You can tweet her @bigonbranding.

Social media can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and confusing. But when done right, social media can be a powerful tool for attracting customers and interacting with ones you already have.

I’m guessing you would like to be part of the second group, right? Not to worry! Even though social media is cluttered with people, celebrities, and brands, there is a way to stand out and make your company known!

Let’s talk about six tips for making your business really shine online.


1. Establish and Develop a Voice

First you need to decide what kind of voice your brand is going to have on social media. Will you be kind? Funny? Sassy? Are you going to use emoticons? Once you decide on some guidelines, jot them down so you and any other employees with posting access know how to reply to customers. Having a clear, strong voice will help your business cut through in a crowded space.

2. Focus on Doing 2-3 Networks Really Well

One mistake that small businesses make is that they try to have a presence on every single social network ever. But unless you have the money to hire a community manager, that’s not very sustainable.

So instead, take your time to focus on 2-3 networks and build up your following there. I suggest Facebook and Twitter first, for the biggest potential reach, and then a third network if you feel you have the time to manage it. For example, local eateries might want to showcase their food on Instagram but boutique shops will generate more interest on shopping-heavy Pinterest.

3. Fully Optimize Your Content

Once you’ve set yourself up on these networks, make sure you’re taking the time to make your content shine. Triple check spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Make sure that you include any relevant hashtags when you’re posting.

If possible, consider using a picture when you post your content. Pictures get substantially more interaction than any other posts on Facebook and can be repurposed for a picture-centric social network like Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr.

4. Schedule Your Posts for Optimal Times

Again, unless you have a community manager, you probably don’t have the time to sit around and post on all of your social networks. So once you’ve created quality posts, take advantage of Facebook’s scheduling option and services like Buffer or HootSuite to post updates while you take care of business.

Check your Facebook insights to see when posts perform well. Try a tool like BrandMentions or Social Bro to find out the best time to post on Twitter.

5. Listen and Respond

Social media isn’t one sided. Simply broadcasting your sales isn’t going to win you any fans. Instead, you need to listen to what your current (or potential) customers are talking about and join in the conversation. If customers post on your wall or mention you on Twitter, make sure that you reply to them promptly. Highlighting posts on your page or retweeting happy customers also gives your business social proof of its awesomeness.

You can also use tools like TweetDeck or HootSuite to monitor keywords, phrases, and your business name. For example, if you own a jewelry store you may want to monitor the phrase “cute necklaces.”

6. Find Some Friends

When it comes to social media you can’t do it alone! So hook up with other local, non-competitor businesses and follow them on their social media accounts. You’ll be able to expand your audience and create some online friendships.

Then take it to another level and join some networking clubs. One of the biggest is Social Media Examiner’s group on LinkedIn. Tons of small business owners gather there to ask questions, swap ideas, and make new contacts. Growing a tribe is a great way to start differentiating your business.

So there you have it: six ways to help your brand stand out from the crowd in social media. It will take some time and a little effort, but providing consistent, top-notch content will already put you ahead of the competition.

Any other tips you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments!


Photo Credit: Flickr user smemon