Get Social and Get Customers

Social media is one of the hottest marketing tools today. Here’s how getting social can help you attract and retain customers.

Social media is one of the hottest marketing tools today. Here’s how getting social can help you attract and retain customers.

Geolocation platforms


Geolocation lets customers use the GPS feature in their smartphones to “check in” at your business. Customers can check in on Facebook or Foursquare, a geolocation app that links with their Twitter and Facebook accounts. When your customers’ friends see they’ve checked in at your business, they’ll be motivated to check it out. Encourage check-ins with promotions, discounts and rewards. Visit Facebook and Foursquare for more on marketing your business with check-ins.

Ratings and review sites


Once you’ve claimed and optimized your business’s listing on local search, ratings and review sites, you must monitor your reviews. Yelp is the big player, but make sure you list yourself on industry-specific review sites as well. Check the sites daily, since creating Google alerts on your business name won’t show you all reviews. Respond quickly to negative reviews, but don’t get defensive. Thank the reviewer for their feedback and try to remedy the situation. If necessary, ask to contact the person privately via email or phone.

Thank people for good reviews as well—remember, the point of social media is to engage with your customers. Ask to feature positive reviews on your website or marketing materials.

Social media sites


Facebook and Twitter are the best-known social media sites, but Pinterest, where users “pin” photos to virtual “pinboards,” is attracting attention with its visually oriented focus. All three can work well for a small business. Twitter is a great way to share information such as limited-time specials. Pinterest is more branding-focused; use photos of your products, or create theme boards related to your service. Facebook is a happy medium—you can use it for timely posts and deals, while also featuring visuals.

Best practices

 

  • Get visual. Photos often get more response than text-only posts.
  • Engage. Social media isn’t a one-way street. Engage with customers by asking questions, conducting surveys or getting feedback.
  • Have fun. Make sure your pins, posts and tweets reflect your and your business’s personality.
  • Track results. Facebook and Twitter offer free analytics tools you can use to measure the results of your social media activity. Note what types of posts and what times of day or night get the most responses; also track which social media promotions drive sales and traffic.
  • Cross-promote. Include links to your social media accounts on your business website, put signage in your location, and put logos on your marketing materials encouraging customers to follow you on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

Third-party apps


Managing social media can get overwhelming. Try these tools to simplify things.

 

Pros Cons
Social media tools are free—good news for budget-minded small business owners. Social media tools do cost you time and effort if you want them to succeed.
 

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