Today it seems that everybody is on social media and we can’t live without it in our lives. We Tweet, We Like, We Follow and it can consume hours of our lives every day. So how can you use this to the advantage of your business?
Social media channels are a great platform to allow people to interact not only with each other but with businesses and brands. It’s a way of sharing information that we find interesting, talking directly to our customers and listening to what they have to say. It’s vital to learn what is important to them so you can offer them what they want. Social media channels can be used to build trust by showing expertise and sharing knowledge. It is a great way of reaching a potentially huge audience for your product.
Building a fan base on Social Media
When you engage with your followers and they like what you are saying then they may share that content with their friends. You could then reach other likeminded people that may become your new customers.
On social media channels you can build trust. Maybe people would submit reviews so that others can see how good you actually are. When this works it means that your customers are fans and are promoting your products for you. How great is that!
You can learn about customers by watching them online, figure out what they like and give them what they want.
Making your choice
There are so many options, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc. So you should select the right network for your business. How do you do this? Think about your customers, what social networks are they using? What are the most popular networks and do they suit your product?
It’s likely that your customers are on Facebook and Twitter but what about the smaller channels? Smaller more niche ones like Pinterest or Instagram may benefit your business. Which ones are right for you? Where should you focus your attention? There are great opportunities but it can all be over whelming.
Once you have made your decision it’s time to create a profile, add information about your business and don’t forget to include your contact details.
Making friends takes time but is worth the effort. You must give them a reason to visit your social media site again and again. Don’t just talk at them, it’s a conversation. Start by recruiting existing customers with a sign in your shop asking them to follow you for special offers. Use competitions and have events to keep people interested. Remember all your fans have their own network, as they like and share you have more eyes on you and your business. Ask your friends and family for some shares and follows too. Participate in conversations, share and comment.
Set out clear goals and objectives as to what you are hoping to accomplish by using social media. Is it to grow the business, acquire new customers, build relationships with existing customers or to raise awareness of your business? Maybe you are trying to find people that have not heard about you before?
Then figure out what you want to say. Decide what your tone of voice will be to suit your business and always keep your business goals in mind.
Set up your business on social media sites. Load up information about the business and remember to include contact details with a link to your site. Search engines may pick up your social media sites and you may get more fans here.
Have a plan because life gets in the way. So you need to set your plan out – topics, audience interest, seasonal, consistently sharing weekly or monthly. Look at maybe creating a 6 month plan. Who will do the work on the social media sites – You or another. Why are you posting? Which business goals do they support? How are you going to do all this by yourself ? These are all questions you need to ask and answer before you start.
This can be a cost effective way to reach more potential customers. It’s important to know your customer profile so you can target your advertisement to specific customers. You can target by age/gender/location/interest etc. Promoted tweets or Facebook advertisements can reach more than your followers and help increase your visibility on the social network sites.
You want to ensure your efforts are paying off for you so you need to track the impact of your campaigns. You can use the analytics of these sites to ensure the plan stays on goal. You can also use social media monitoring tools to see who is talking about you or your business sector or your competitors. Finally, tracking the visitors that come from social media sites to your website and is a great way of seeing what they do whilst there.
Avoid the pitfalls
You don’t want to hurt your efforts by making silly mistakes. So remember it’s not all about you, share your tips, entertain, keep their attention but don’t always be selling. Tell them what’s new and what is happening, answer comments, be consistent and learn from negative feedback.
Most importantly don’t spread yourself too thin across too many channels. Focus on the more important ones and fit your time availability. Don’t leave your channels with no interaction for long periods of time. Measure your efforts so you can see which are more valuable and where you are getting results so you can concentrate on them.
Social media is part of all our lives, it’s fun and fast and can be a valuable tool for your business. Just make sure you are doing it right and you will soon be reaping the rewards through the till. My last bit of advice – if you don’t have the time to do all this yourself, outsource it.