With today being Valentine's Day, small businesses can show their customers they care by finding out which social media sites they use.
Companies should not assume which platform their customers prefer, but rather take the time to discover which ones are their favourite in order to maximise the effectiveness of business-consumer engagement over them, chief executive officer of CubeSocial Linda Cheung explained.
The social media sites used by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also need to be relevant to the sector they operate in. For example, B2B organisations would be better using LinkedIn, whereas fashion stores might find Pinterest is the most engaging due to the ability to 'pin' pictures of outfits.
However, simply using social networking sites to advertise and promote should be avoided.
"Nobody wants to just be sold to – people want to join the conversation and contribute to it," Ms Cheung commented.
Improving the effectiveness of small business social media
Simply establishing a page or account on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest is not enough. SMEs need to make sure they use the sites to their maximum potential in order to build a strong and trustworthy relationship between themselves and their consumers.
"You should be aware that people can look at your [Twitter] timeline – it is public unless you have locked your account and for a business that's highly unlikely. So think about your ideal clients as they read through your timeline before they start tweeting with you – what are they going to think of you as they read it?" Ms Cheung asked.
As well as having a reputable social media account, SMEs also need to keep an eye on the conversations their brands are mentioned in.
However, a previous Fasthosts Internet survey discovered just 12 per cent of small businesses respond to online complaints. If a company comes across a complaint or other negative feedback, it needs to deal with it as soon as possible in a polite and apologetic manner.
The last thing an SME needs this Valentine's Day – or any day – is to upset a customer over social media and sever the relationship with them.
Further small business social media advice for a lasting relationship can be found here:
Show your social media content marketing some Valentine's Day love
Why has Cadbury's launched Bitsa Wispa on Facebook?
Consumers expect quick responses from brands on social media sites