As a new small business aiming to gain a foothold in the field of online scheduling, Schedulicity understood the importance of not just having a strong web presence, but also how social media could help foster growth and build one’s reputation. “Having a credible social media presence is paramount for small business owners and service providers looking to build credibility in their field,” says Jerry Nettuno, Schedulicity’s CEO who helped launch the business in 2003.
While most people use Facebook for personal reasons, it is critical for local business owners and professionals to create a business page for business or professional purposes. Here are some social media lessons learned from Schedulicity’s success:
Lesson #1: Don’t wait. Start using social media tools such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter and others right away. Startups should take their brand into the social sphere from Day One. Having a solid online presence will help professionals and other local business owners:
- Quickly gain access to an audience that will read and comment on your products and services.
- Begin collecting email addresses.
- Listen to what customers are saying.
- Monitor competitors’ or industry pages to stay abreast of trends.
Lesson #2: Name your Facebook business page carefully and keep it separate from your personal page. Once a page has more than 30 fans, the name cannot be changed. Use an adaptable name, like stylist, hair pro, financial services professional, etc. Avoid names that are transitory.
Lesson #3: Spotlight others on your Facebook business page. Give credit to employees and clients. These people will in turn “Like” your page and share positive reviews – a powerful resource for attracting new clients.
Lesson #4: Let everyone know you’re socially connected. This gives you an advantage over your competitors who are not actively involved.
Lesson #5: Create content that will engage your audience and make your Facebook page “sticky.” To get started, develop an “interest list” of topics that may interest your audience. Here are some possibilities:
- Talk about trade show events you’ll be attending (before, during and after).
- Share business-related photos and videos.
- Act on impulses and share that info on your Facebook page.
- Search for interesting topics on Twitter and share them with your fans.
- Share business tips of the day or the week (look for them by using the term “business tips” on search.twitter.com).
- Think two months down the road and prepare specials based on upcoming holidays and events (such as the start of the school year or summer vacation).
- Showcase events and people from your local or business community.
Lesson #6: Use social media as a platform to market yourself to potential and current clients. Make it easy for them to contact you or schedule an appointment (Schedulicity, for example, offers an appointment scheduling widget you can use on Facebook, Twitter or your own website.)