For Small Business Week, we've asked Canadian small business owners to share their experiences using social media to create buzz and interact with clients.
Lindsay Goertzen runs Aura Beauty, a company that offers a "mobile spa" for groups such as bachelorette parties, corporate events and home parties. She also runs Vashti, a digital women's magazine. She lives in Kelowna, B.C.
I started Aura Beauty, a mobile spa for groups and events, out of a conversation I had one night with my brother about not being able to find a spa that accommodated larger groups. His solution to my problem was, "Let's start one!" So we did.
Coverage of the latest small business news, trends and issues, as well as advice from experts on everything from starting and marketing a business, to managing staff and improving the bottom line.
We are now in to our successful second year and wouldn't be here if it wasn't for social media. Our events and promotions are run 100 per cent through social media and it works for us.
We use social media to connect with our customers, sometimes just to chat and join in on the conversation about current community events and trends.
We share our specials and upcoming events with them on social media, too, but we mostly use our social media community - our Facebook page and Twitter accounts - to keep the conversations going and keep our name in the front of our clients' minds. We also take the occasional spa booking directly from our Facebook page or a tweet.
Take social media seriously
When we started Aura Beauty, I didn't take social media seriously and didn't really incorporate it into our marketing plan. I started on Twitter because a friend of mine in broadcasting told me (over and over again) that it was a good idea and I need to be there.
I didn't really listen to her because I thought it wasn't "serious business marketing." I joined and started out slow and didn't really have a plan. It wasn't until about four months of using social media that I really realized its potential and that I was good at "doing social media." It really has played a very big role in branding our business and creating sales.
Here are my favorite tips for a first-time small business owner who is just starting to use social media to grow their business:
- Be yourself! People want personality. That's what will draw them back -- interacting with someone who is fun and interesting, outgoing and knowledgeable. Always be professional.
- Be consistent. It can take a lot of time to be successful with social media. Respond to people who post. Don't bombard people. Too much and people will "unlike" or "un-follow" you. Don't send out spam. Take the time to personally answer your followers.
- Have a plan. What is the purpose of your Facebook page? Is it to advertise specials, give information, promote yourself? Also, who is the voice of your Twitter account? Is it your own voice, or are you going to use the voice of your product and have it "speak" to your audience? An example of this is @itstodie4, a banana bread that tweets! Plan your message and posts to create a consistent message and to use your time wisely. You can get carried away!