You don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to enjoy social media success. Building a social media presence for your small business is a great, free way to increase visibility and revenue.

Social media provides you with a channel to communicate with customers, offer support, build marketing programs, and more. Additionally, prospective clients, customers and hires will expect you to have a profile to view. Face it, if you aren’t on social media, then you may as well not exist.

Considering that professional networks are 2016’s top source for high quality hires, any business that wants to be taken seriously by potential clients and top talent needs to have an appealing, informative and responsive social media presence.

If one of these interested parties were to look for your company on social, today, what will they find? Will they find pictures of your employees and information on your company? Will they find your latest thought leadership posts? Will they find an incomplete profile or a profile that hasn’t been active in months?

Social Media Etiquette

Let’s start with etiquette. Social media gives you a platform to promote your company and your brand, but, you get out what you put in.

If your posts are relevant to your audience and your tone is friendly and in line with your brand, you’re observing good social media etiquette and are on your way to having a strong presence on social. But remember that there’s a fine line between acceptable and unacceptable.

If you’re posting content that your audience doesn’t care about, spamming potential clients with 20+ posts/day or chewing out the people who leave negative reviews, then you aren’t following good etiquette. That type of presence can damage or even kill your brand. We’ve all heard of brands having meltdowns on social media, and that’s not the type of attention that you want. 

That’s why you need to know the basics. By following these social media basics, you’ll be well on your way to building a social media presence that makes Fortune 500 companies jealous.

Social Media Basics

At bare minimum, your social presence needs to be a resource, not an eyesore or a spam machine. As long as each of your profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Etc.) follow these basic guidelines, your social profile will be a brand asset instead of a deterrent or waste of time. 


  • Each of your company’s social media profiles needs to appeal to the audience that you’re trying to reach.
  • Tailor each channel to the target market you’re trying to reach.
  • Social profiles should be visually appealing and should appear professional.
  • Post appealing content: posting relevant, humorous, engaging content will strengthen your company’s social media profile. Additionally, posting infographics, videos or pictures of a company outing will make your company stand out and give your profile a human touch. 
  • Never post anything that your audience will find uninteresting, irrelevant or offensive.


  • Each of your company’s social media profiles needs to be an informational resource for potential clients, customers and/or hires.
  • Contact information, company information and product information should all be included on each of your company’s profiles.
  • Post informative content: articles and studies that promote your company as a thought leader in your industry.


  • Whenever someone comments on your company’s social profile, you need to respond in a timely manner.
  • Your response needs to be in your “brand’s voice,” not the voice of an intern or some overly-formal robot.
  • Your responses should follow social etiquette, especially when addressing negative comments.
  • Be responsive: reply to the things that your customers, fans and critics say on social media in a positive, professional way that is in line with your brand’s voice. 

Getting the Most from Social

These are just the basics, but, in order to get the exposure that you want for your brand, you need to:

  • Know Your Audience
  • Develop Your Voice
  • Think Strategically

Know Your Audience

You can’t just push noise and expect results. In order generate visibiility, you need to understand your audience and why they’ve chosen to follow you online. Once you understand your core audience, you can begin to grow this audience by posting the sort of content that they want and respond to.

  • What sort of content to your subscribers expect from your company?
  • What sort of content do your subscribers interact with (like, share, retweet, etc.)?
  • How do your customers interact with your brand on a daily basis? How does your product enter into their lives?
  • What problem is your product or service solving? How can you provide information that people with this problem will find useful or engaging?

In order to build your company’s fanbase, you have to deliver the sort of content that they’re looking for.

Do your subscribers share “thought leadership” articles you post or do they tend to share special offerings by your company? Or maybe they only share pictures of puppies?

Once you figure out what your audience is interested and understand what they respond to, you can tailor your social media strategy to these likes.

Develop Your Voice

Social Media gives you an opportunity to develop “the voice” of your brand and company.

You still need to follow cocktail etiquette, but developing a voice means standing out from the crowd as a company with personality and showing some of the qualities that make your organization unique.

Just be sure that the voice you use online matches the rest of your company’s branded content and is appropriate for your industry and audience. For instance, if your company provides legal services, an informal voice online may leave potential clients questioning your chops.

By answering these questions, however, you can discover the tone that is right for your company’s social media presence.

  • What role does your company or product play in the lives of your customers/ clients?
  • How “professional” are you expected to sound in your industry?
  • What sets your organization apart from your competitors?

Having a distinct voice for your company will help your company to stand out from your competitors and form deeper connections with your fans. You aren’t a faceless company, so don’t be afraid to show off what makes your organization unique.

As long as your voice is positive, consistent and appropriate for your brand, using this voice in your social media posts will strengthen your brand and allow your audience to form a deeper connection with this brand.

Think Strategically

If you really want to get the most from your social media efforts, you need to think strategically. Depending on your business your goals will vary. Some businesses like to use Twitter as a platform to address customer support issues, others use Instagram as their main source of sales. Regardless, you’ll need to devise strategy.

If you know your audience and what they want, then reaching your goals is a matter of playing to your strengths and following a consistent content calendar. Posting every day tends to be the norm, but don’t overdo it.

Ultimately, you want your audience to look forward to seeing your company pop up on their news feed, and this can only be accomplished by providing value to this audience. You won’t be able to predict the news or shake-ups in your industry, but you still need to provide useful, engaging content to your subscribers consistently. To get started, answer these simple questions:

  • What is the ultimate goal of your social media efforts?
  • How many new subscribers, visitors, likes, etc. are you getting per-month?
  • How many new subscribers, visitors, likes, etc. do you want to have per-month?
  • What is the difference between these two figures?
  • What sort of content is most successful at moving toward this goal?
  • Where is there room for your content to grow? More articles, pictures, special offers, blog posts, etc?

Remember not every social media channel will be right for your business. An accounting firm may have little use for channels like Pinterest or Snapchat, but will get big results from activity on Linkedin. Part of building a social media presence also involves understanding where your audience hangs out.

Creating a strategy is the first step to building a social media presence, but the most important part is engaging your audience. Regularly liking, commenting, resharing, and communicating with them on social media is the key to success. It’s all about relationship building, and you can’t do that without building rapport. Fortune 500 companies have full scale teams to manage these relationships, but there are tools and social media firms out there that can help make this easier for your small business.

You may not be a Fortune 500 company, but you can definitely act like one. By creating carefully targeted strategies for a specific audience, you can build a social media presence that rivals any brand. After all, sometimes it’s not about how many followers you have, but about how many active fans you have. I’d rather have 1,000 highly engaged fans liking and responding to my content, than 100,000 followers that never engage with my brand.