Do you have a presence on social media, and is it working for you today? This is a very important question that all businesses should now be asking themselves. With social media being the preferred method for finding an evaluating a small business, it is vital that your image is polished and compelling. You will only have a brief window to capture your potential customer's attention and you need to create a place that keeps them focused on you and your product or service. Social media is no place for boring.
The idea should be to stimulate a conversation. It can be between you and your customer or between your customer's themselves. Social media can serve to help you monitor your reputation as well. This will be the first place your unhappy customer will come to complain. It is also the best place for you to showcase your business through images and video. This is the place for you to let your personality shine through and connect with your customers in a way you could never do through a glossy brochure or sales call.
Forbes Online recently examined some of the reasons small business has been reluctant to use social media:
- Building my brand on the web would take a lot of time that I just don’t have.
- I’m not sure what to do with social media, so I do nothing.
- I like real-world networking; social media is not right for me.
- I’m in a small niche and am known to all the people who need to know me, so it would be a waste of time.
- I don’t see how social media can help me do my job.
- There are too many options (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest, Google+, etc.). I don’t know which are right for me.
If this conversation is one you have had with yourself, think again. There are only a few things you need to do to get started:
You should have a "voice" on every platform that you can handle. Different types of customers prefer different methods of social media communication. Did you know that "YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18 to 34 than any cable network"? If this is the demographic you wish to attract, you should create a channel and start making videos that help you "connect" with this customer group. It is not necessary to create a presence on every platform, keeping it active and interesting can be a big job so only set up what you can properly maintain.
When you have everything up and running, including a professional image and interesting information, you can begin to build a following. Remember, once you have started this process it is very important that you do not abandon it to decay. Your "followers" will expect fresh conversation regularly and will disengage with those sites and feeds that don't hold their attention. It will also take some time to build your social media presence and following so be patient and be consistent.
This is what social media is all about, communicating with your customers and colleagues. Here is your opportunity to put a face and a voice to your business. You can engage your audience through questions, create informative infographics and even share humor or industry specific news. Keep the conversation focused on your customer and their needs and less on your sales pitch. If you can encourage customers to post photos of themselves using your product, you can keep an ongoing interaction fresh and interesting for a very long time.
We all know that social media influences customers when it comes to their decisions to buy, or not. Social media also makes it much easier for people to share their experiences with each other, good or bad. Be absolutely sure that you keep all interactions as positive as possible, but not sterile. If you address a complaint that comes up, quickly and with great customer service, you will earn more customers than if there were no complaints at all. Make monitoring your number one job and your presence on social media will bring you a great return on your investment.
If you would like to discuss your social media strategy and make sure you are taking full advantage of all the opportunities it can afford, contact us and let's talk.