I realize the importance of social media in business, but as a small company I don’t have a lot of time to spend toiling on Facebook or Twitter. What social media strategies do you recommend for small business?

Dana Litman, Owner and operator, Araya Clean, Minneapolis/St. Paul


The electronic presence of any business is multidimensional, with a foundation in the firm’s website and various landing pages, which should be tailored to the referral source (i.e. a Facebook page). Since your particular business is a franchise, the first task is to make sure you are maximizing the resources provided there — before trying to drive prospects there to learn about your business or place orders.

Your current use of the Araya Clean website has some great elements, but there are a couple of holes that need to be filled before any serious social media effort. First, the navigation bar on the left of the page suggests you have a blog, but there is no content. Similarly, there are no testimonials to be found via the link for that topic.

People who find you via social media are likely to click through these links, and finding them empty may be worse than not having them at all. Take time to post a few thoughtful blog posts about your green methods, or especially challenging jobs you’ve done recently. Also, strongly encourage your two or three best customers to post testimonials to get the ball rolling in that area.

Once these things are in place, you can consider where to put your efforts in social media. In the online video in the “About” section of the website, you explained having used Chamber of Commerce connections to find new customers and employees. Why? Because you went where the businesspeople (your key targets) would be.

Now do the same in social media by finding out from current customers and prospects how they use social media, and where online they go. These are the digital places you should be “toiling.”

About the author: Mike Porter, director, Master of Business Communication Program, University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business