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9 Dos and Don'ts for social media

October 22, 2012 - Tags: Marketing

This guest blog post is provided by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital and consulting services to almost 28,000 small and medium-sized Canadian businesses.

Social media has become a vital business tool that entrepreneurs can no longer ignore. But many business owners are still reluctant to get involved in social media because they lack information. They're unsure about how to get started; concerned about what to post; and suspicious they won't get a return on their investment.

When properly harnessed, social media can help propel a business to a new level of success. It can help increase sales and attract new customers.

Here are some best practices to help ensure your business makes the most of social media.

  1. Know your goals and target audience. Focus your social media activities on them.
  2. Grow your audience by offering helpful, value-added information.
  3. Remember that social media is about building relationships. You can't buy loyal social media fans, any more than you can buy friends in real life. Be likeable and don't take yourself too seriously.
  4. Content should be creative, authentic and truthful. Do something different to stand out.
  5. Be polite, respectful and generous. Use the same tone as you would if you were talking with a client in person.
  6. Don't use a hard sell. Avoid being pushy. Instead, allow people to come to you. The idea is that an engaged follower is more likely to become a customer.
  7. Don't post material that's inappropriate or outside your area of expertise.
  8. Don't stop learning and listening to what's being said about you, your company, your industry and social media. Social media is changing fast, so it's important to keep an eye on developments.
  9. Be patient. Like any relationship, social media success takes time to build. Be disciplined and apply yourself.

To help entrepreneurs benefit from social media, BDC has launched a Social Media eBook that features tools, best practices and stories about entrepreneurs who made social media pay for them. To download your copy of the eBook, go to www.bdc.ca/socialmediaguide.

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