For small businesses, getting started on social media may be daunting. With dozens of outlets and billions of users throughout the world, social media can seem overwhelming. However, if used effectively, social media has the power to enhance relationships with your current customers and drive new ones. So, whether youre just getting started, or have been in the social media sphere for years, it is important for small businesses everywhere to remember these simple steps.
1. Engage: Don't talk at your customers, talk with them.
Sometimes businesses use social media to push agendas rather than engage with customers. To grow your fan base and be successful on social media, remember to facilitate conversation as you would in person. You wouldn't tell your customer about every coupon or deal you're running over the next two months while you're face to face, right? So don't do it on social media. Instead, share interesting and relevant content, give specific calls to action, and ask questions! Not only will you get more comments, shares, and likes, but you will maintain and strengthen customer relationships!
2. Respond: Listening is just as important as what you're saying.
Ever try to contact a company with a complaint, concern or even a nice comment and never hear back? Frustrating, right? Surprise your customers and respond to all their comments, even the bad ones! Though that might seem time consuming, the more frequently you respond on social media, the more credible you will become. Take at least 15 minutes each day and respond to your customers Facebook comments and tweets. Be personable, be transparent, and reach out to as many people as possible. Thank your customers and fans for their responses, address issues publicly, showcase your gratefulness for their loyalty, and watch the fans pour in.
3. Give out occasional freebies.
Its simple: everyone loves free stuff. Periodically, use social media to give your fans some perks. If you have local dentist practice, give away free whitening strips to the first 5 customers who retweet you. If you run a local pizza shop, give a complimentary small pizza if they like you on Facebook. These small and relatively inexpensive gestures can be the initial hook for a fan. You then want to keep them hooked with consistent, engaging content.
4. Share Visuals: Everyone loves pictures and videos!
Social media has become a platform for great visuals. Just look at the growing success of Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine in the past few years. As a small business, use this visual trend to your advantage! Take a picture of your staff hard at work, or a video of a customer enjoying your product and post it to Facebook. It's quite simple. Pictures not only make for great content, but they also personalize your pages. When someone scrolls through their newsfeed, they are more likely to like or comment on a post with picture/video of your product or service, than a simple text update. Remember: show, don't tell your customers how great your business is!
5. Be yourself.
Last, but certainly not least, just be you. Much more so than traditional marketing or advertising, social media allows you to exhibit your company's personality to the masses. Customers love connecting with personable brands. Imagine everything you are saying on social is actually a face-to-face conversation with a fan of your brand. Find ways to showcase the core values of your business. Tell jokes, share insight, ask honest questions, and be true to your company's culture. Your fans will appreciate your authenticity.
Any tips that we left out? Tell us in the comments.
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