You're on Facebook, you tweet to your heart's content, yet the business still isn't flowing from your social media efforts. So what's next? How do you up the ante?
"This is one of the conundrums in particular of Facebook," says Alex Radford, interactive and digital media director at Interactive Advertising bureau Starcom Worldwide.
Subhead: don't be fooled by likes
"There is a misconception," Radford adds. "Businesses believe once they have done the hard job of getting you to like their page that you will see their updates."
"Facebook uses an algorithm based on factors including popularity," says Radford. "If someone has "liked" your page but doesn't ever engage with your business on Facebook your posts start to disappear (from his or her newsfeed)."
That's because most people have their Facebook settings to show "Top stories", not the most recent. Facebook therefore shows the postings from those people the member interacts with most.
Subhead: do you want to pay for that?
The average person on Facebook has 220 friends and follows 25 to 30 businesses or celebrities, which means very busy newsfeeds, says Radford. A business' postings can get lost. "This is why Facebook asks you if you would like to promote a posting," says Radford.
Like Google AdWords businesses can pay to have their postings show prominently in followers' Facebook newsfeeds. Facebook charges per click.
"If you have a couple of hundred fans it might cost anywhere between $50 and a $100 to properly promote a posting," says Radford. "If you have upwards of a hundred thousand it could cost up to $5000." Even then there is no guarantee that your posting will have any virality."
It can be worth it. The Mexicali Fresh restaurant chain, for example, has paid to promote occasional postings, says owner Conor Kerlin. When the restaurant added "Practice Safe Mex" t-shirts to its online store, it paid to promote the posting. Mostly, however, the restaurant's free postings are shared organically by fans, especially when it's a social media only offer such as "Taco Tuesdays".
Subhead: more than just Facebook
Businesses are using a variety of social media sites to promote their brand and product. Mexicali Fresh, for example, is on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and 4Square. Kerlin says Instagram is proving more and more important for his business. Customers often take photographs of their dishes, and upload them to Instagram with a hash tag of Mexicali Fresh, which feeds the postings through to Twitter and Facebook. This is great publicity.
It can be very time consuming to keep up posting to all these social media sites, says Radford. He recommends using tools such as HootSuite and Wildfire that enable businesses to load postings to all their social media sites at the same time and also measure results.
Subhead: Content rules
Post rubbish and you'll soon lose your fans. Kerlin, for example, would never post: "having a coffee" or "dropping the kids at kindy" on Mexicali Fresh's Facebook page or Twitter. It needs be relevant.
Subhead: Do it yourself
Businesses need to embrace social media and know how to make it work for them, says Radford. He recommends novices search for businesses in their field that use social media well and attempt to emulate what they do.
A lot of businesses pay PR companies and others
to post on their behalf. Mexicali Fresh tried this once, but found that its fans could tell the difference between the owners posting and third parties.