|Social media is like cocktail conversation. Fun or zzz....|
The answer to that question can be too broad. But here's the minimum I can immediately think of:
1. Write about what you know in a blog or website to benefit readers (and prospective customers).
Make yourself an authority on the subject niche where your small business falls in. Put this content on your business site or blog to help create a trustworthy image.
If you don't have a blog or website yet, you can use platforms like Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr, among others to build your blog.
2. Curate and share relevant content.
You can't just use social media to keep plugging what you do or write about. Otherwise, your peers will tune out. Take time to share content, from other reliable sources, that can be relevant to others or make them feel good or make them laugh.
When it comes to sharing your own content, to be seen as remarkable requires creativity in spreading it. Repeat what works and always add a new variation. It may require spending more to reach out to new markets. Just don't be regarded as repetitive and copycat. Own your style.
3. Reach out and engage with like-minded online peers.
Don't limit yourself to your online connections. Join relevant groups and gatherings to meet new people.
My Twitter following didn't just grew by accident. From experience, a great entry point is through events where live coverage takes place. Speakers, organizers, influencers, attendees are enthusiastic reading about tweets, thoughts, posts and sharing good ones found in their network. I met lot of like-minded folks this way and develop meaningful connections with.
4. Use social media as one of the means to contact you.
If you want more people to connect with you through social media, be an active user of it whether for business or pleasure.
Personally, I don't give business cards anymore and ask people to use Twitter (and Facebook) as a means to reach out to me. I proactively add people who register in our activities (who shared their Twitter id) or share my content / hashtag. This is usually appreciated by followers and shout-out yielding to more friendly connections.
5. Read Internet marketing and social media blogs for up-to-date perspective from different sources.
I suggest using tools like Google Alerts to be kept posted on the latest social media developments straight to your email.
Check out Ben Francia who informs people about Internet marketing while making it easy to understand to most folks.
You can also join our free Digital Influencer Boot Camp webinar sessions.
6. Check out what your favorite brands are doing through social media. Learn from it.
The best way to learn how social media can be used for business is by observing how popular brands, companies, and personalities do it.
Airline company Cebu Pacific is a tourism industry shaker who made travel affordable by offering very low prices (with an early bird purchase requirement) got the Internet community abuzz and its offerings can easily go viral.
Its "fun" image and game activities onboard was perfect for social media. Users naturally share the promotions online and invite their friends so they can travel as a group.
Telecommunication entities like Smart and Globe are also great examples on how they use social media to disseminate word on their products and services while using the platform to render customer service at the same time.