Social media networks, websites and other online methods of communication allow large groups of people to interact and share information. It is easy to see that these media can be a great aid to you in generating followers and, ultimately, sales for your business. When thinking about social media strategies, there are a few easy and proven steps that will help get you on the road to success.
Social Media Strategies
There are hundreds of social media sites, with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn being the most popular ones for businesses today. You definitely want to pay attention to them, but don't forget smaller sites. Many of the smaller social media sites cater to small, niche markets and if that niche matches what you provide, then your social media marketing can be highly effective.
As you consider the many social media networks that are out there, here are a few strategies you can use to manage your social media experience:
- Listen, listen, listen - Then talk! Your customers are out there and many need information. Or maybe they are just unhappy with a purchase or service they have gotten. Pay attention to their questions, concerns and comments. Interact with them and offer help, advice, and empathy. In time, you will become a go-to person and be looked upon as an expert in your field.
- Get personal - People respond to personal stories. Tell your stories over social media, or better yet, get your followers to tell their stories. You can use webinars, eBooks and white papers to accomplish this task. In order to connect with your audience, you have to move them, and there’s nothing better than a relatable, poignant story to do just that.
- Establish goals - Have goals that can help you plan for and measure your progress. If you have no way to gauge success how are you going to know when you get there? Choose a social media network that is right for your business. Pay close attention to the data from the sites you use and analyze them to determine the best options for your business to be successful.
- Develop content - No matter what social media sites you decide to use, content will be a key factor in your marketing strategy. Make sure your content accurately represents your brand. Have a consistent voice that customers and followers can identify with. You may already have plenty of content in the form of brochures and other marketing materials; re-purpose these materials on your social media sites. Make sure your content is relevant and timely.
- Respond – While large companies don't generally answer customer questions and concerns on social media sites, or anywhere else for that matter, as a small business, you have the added advantage over the larger companies if you are willing to take the time to respond to your customers and other companies’ clients. Use complaints and concerns as a way to interact with your customers. If you ignore complaints they probably won't go away. The complainant will spread the word, and more often than not, the negative publicity may do your brand more harm than good.
- Free stuff - If you knock the price off an item or service, customers will appreciate it but may not stay loyal to your brand. After all, they can always shop for a bigger discount or a better price elsewhere. On the other hand, if you give something away, you probably have a customer for life. Along these lines, sponsor contests and promotions that provide real value to customers and develop your brand image.
- Time management – Time is of the essence for small businesses. It does take time to set up & manage the social media sites and analyze the data. To avoid social media fatigue, it may not be such a bad idea to use a management tool to ease the burden of engaging your audience on several sites. Tools such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite, Buffer and so on allows for multiple site interaction. It would benefit your business in the long run to explore these tools to get the most out of your social media experience.
Social media is important in today's business world. You have to be able to connect with your existing and prospective customers to stay competitive. There may be no better way to do so than using social media channels and some of the strategies outlined above to reach your customers.