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6 Ways to use social media in your small business…and marketing is only one of them!

Last time I checked you can’t beat free and that alone should be enough motivation for you to leverage social media as much as possible. Here are the six best ways to use social media in your business:

  • Marketing
  • Customer service
  • Talent recruiting and hiring
  • Selling
  • Company communications
  • Market and product research

Social media marketing

Social media marketing gets the most attention. I’ve never counted, but dozens of good online articles on social media marketing are published every month. Marketing continues to be one of the best ways to use social media in your small business because you can establish a presence that rivals much bigger businesses – if you have a good strategy, consistently apply yourself or have a talented team member you can rely on.

Social media customer service

If you have a business Facebook page, you may have accidently backed into social media customer service when your first customer posted a complaint on your page.

Ouch!

Twitter is extremely well suited for social media customer service. However, take it further than merely using it as a communication channel for customers to air their gripes. Be proactive and use it as a tool to enhance the customer experience. I can’t help but think that if United Airlines had been able to communicate better with its passengers not long ago, they could have avoided the video of a passenger being dragged down the narrow aisle on that jet like a human beverage cart.

Social media recruiting and hiring

LinkedIn is still an excellent resource for finding talent and vetting prospective hires. However, I need to point out that premium subscriptions have gone up in price and without a premium subscription, your ability to communicate with professionals outside of your contacts is very limited. Lots of professionals will temporarily upgrade to a high-level account when they are looking to hire or putting themselves out on the job market. LinkedIn has been putting even more emphasis on providing good hiring tools since Microsoft bought it.

Social media selling

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram have all made plays with “buy buttons” or other forms of e-commerce. These aren’t free, but for some merchants and small artisanal manufacturers, they are worth exploring. If you can build a legion of enthusiastic buyers on your Facebook store, it can be a big stepping stone to far greater things. Sarah Kessler does a nice job profiling three Facebook store successes in this Mashable piece.

If you use Shopify, check out Satish Kanwar’s article about the launch of the “buyable pin” partnership between Shopify and Pinterest.

Social media company communication

Social media is proving to be one of the best ways to communicate with your team members. Messaging-apps-on-steroids like Slack and HipChat are solid productivity boosters for some small businesses. Twitter can also provide a good channel for disseminating information broadly. If you have a lot of Facebook users working for you, Workplace By Facebook could be a good solution – hey, your employees are in the “neighborhood” anyway, why not be able to say “hi”… and a lot more.

Social media market and product research

Everything people say about products and services – whether good or bad – gets expressed on social media. Further, it’s probably the best barometer for trends. Social listening and following topics on Reddit are two excellent ways to keep your ear to the digital ground.

Are you taking advantage of all of these social media strategies? The most successful business will leave no social media stone unturned. Let that be you.

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