25 Jun 2012

Essential Basics Many People Fail to Understand: Social Media for Businesses

If you are doing business or at least advertising online, you must have heard plenty of various things why you should be using social media to promote your business and build following.

Obviously, most online businesses do try to enter social media, but are they doing that right? Let’s list the right and wrong ways to maintain your business presence in social media!


[block]26[/block]Facebook:

The wrong way to market your business on Facebook: Create a separate Facebook account for your business and add “friends”

Under Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:

  • You are only allowed to maintain a “personal” account with Facebook;
  • You are not allowed to create more than one account with Facebook.

The right way:

Facebook allows to officially promote your business network on Facebook by creating a “Page” (formerly known as “Fan page”). Unlike a profile, a page cannot add friends but they are highly encouraged to attract fans through the use of built-in tools:

  • Page widgets (which can be placed on the business site and / or blog outside Facebook and which show who of the visitor’s friends have already “liked” the page);
  • Facebook ads (paid) that can be highly targeted (for example, they can be only displayed to the friends of your page fans):

Facebook social ads

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[block]28[/block]Twitter

The wrong way to market your business on Twitter: Create a separate Twitter account for your business with no person behind it.

The right way:

Create a separate “official” Twitter account and promote a real person behind that account.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t mind you maintaining a few accounts (unless these are “serial” accounts which aim at artificially promoting each other, i.e. retweeting each other’s updates, advertising each other, etc.)

What many businesses fail to understand though is that few users will want to connect to “business” while most of them will eagerly follow “a person”. There can be a few ways to promote a person behind your official business Twitter profile:

  • (The best way) Both the name (not to confuse with the “username”) and the profile picture show the person managing the account. Example: @ComcastCares where both the name and the avatar belong to “Bill Gerth” who “loves helping people”;
  • (If there are many people contributing to one account) The contributors’ names and background are listed in the description section. Example: @BufferApp lists the three co-founders of the BufferApp

Business personal Twitter account

Like personal account, the business Twitter account should interact with followers by retweeting and thanking for ReTweets, answering and asking questions, etc.

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[block]30[/block]Google Plus

The wrong way to market your business on Google Plus: Create a separate Google Plus profile and add people to circles.

Because there was no option for businesses to promote their presence when Google Plus was introduced and because every Gmail account owner (even if the actual email was tied to a business) was invited to open a Google Plus account, a lot of business owners started by creating separate “personal” profiles for their businesses.

It later turned out to be wrong. Google removed some of the most prominent business profiles back in July 2011 and then asked to stop creating consumer profiles for businesses.

The right way:

Create a “Business page” under your personal account.

Google Plus business pages work very similarly to Facebook pages (but for one major difference a Google Plus business page can reciprocate friendship: When using the page you can only add people to circles after they add the page.):

  • You can use Google Plus “As a page” “plussing” other people’s updates and creating your own;
  • You can use “Add to circles” widget to invite your site visitors connect to your business page;
  • You can add managers to your page to let them contribute to it.

Google Plus profile

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[block]32[/block]LinkedIn

The wrong way to market your business on LinkedIn: Promote your business through your personal profile.

Based on LinkedIn User Agreement you cannot “create a user profile for anyone other than a natural person” and moreover you cannot even use your business logo as your profile picture (you are required to use your headshot there).

The right way:

Create a company page on LinkedIn and connect your employees and customers there.

LinkedIn has long had company profiles for businesses and recently they have started working on adding useful features to them:

  1. You can now use the official button to allow your site visitors to follow your company on LinkedIn (the company page cannot follow them back);
  2. You can now add interactive “product” or “service” pages to your LinkedIn Company page to promote what you have to offer (the product pages can include videos and user testimonials)

Company LinkedIn page - Testimonials

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[block]34[/block]Quora

The wrong way to market your business on Quora: Create a separate “Business” profile and ask / answer questions from it.

According to Quora official rules of conduct, all users of Quora have to sign up as individuals.

The write way:

Create a good “Short Bio” (“Tagline”) stating that answering your questions you represent your company. This tagline will go with each answer or comment you post on Quora.

You can also select which of your taglines you want to go with your answers (if you, for example would want to reply not on behalf of your business from time to time):

Promite business Quora

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[block]36[/block]Pinterest

The wrong way to market your business on Pinterest: Create a separate account for your business to promote your banners, infographics or other promotional content.

The right way:

Create a separate account for your business to allow visitors to better understand your company message.

Pinterest wasn’t designed for businesses. It has no official TOS against businesses building their presence on it though. And there are already a few great examples of businesses successfully networking on Pinterest.

For examples, instead of simply pinning their product images, Whole Foods Market offers us an absolutely awesome collection of relevant boards: seasonal recipe ideas, holiday treat inspiration, food-based arts, recycling ideas and many more. Their following is impressive!

Pinterest business profile

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Now, let’s sum up!

Promote business on Facebook Promote Business on Google Plus Promote business on LinkedIn Promote business on Quora Promote Business on Pinterest Promote business on Twitter
You can maintain a separate account for your business No No No No business profiles on Quora Business presence on Twitter and Pinterest
You should create a business page under your personal account Yes Yes Yes
Your business profile / page can initiate friendship requests No No No
Your business profile / page can reciprocate (follow back) No Yes No
Your business can be promoted from widgets that allow people to join your page from your site Yes Yes Yes
Your business page can post all kinds of updates on its wall (you can use the social media page *as your business page*) Yes Yes No

Let’s do it right!

Please share your experience promoting businesses on Twitter: what is right and what is wrong?

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