You’ve probably heard that social media is the newest, best way to market your business. Social media like Google+, Twitter, and Facebook can all be powerful tools for promoting your company, but the simple truth is that most businesses are going about it all wrong!
Many small business owners forget about the “social” part in social media. It’s important to look at FB and Twitter as a way to interact with your customers, current and prospective, not a way to drown them in offers and sales pitches. Communication is a two-way street, and social media is just another form of communication. So don’t only talk to your customers: ask them for opinions, respond to questions, and provide them with information they are interested in.
To put it simply, social media is just the tech age’s solution for going back to the way things used to be done. Back in the day, if you were looking for an electrician, you just went and asked the neighbors for a recommendation. Social media is changing the way this type of interaction happens, but the content is staying essentially the same. The only thing that’s changing is that instead of asking that neighbor face-to-face, now folks go online and ask a group of “neighbors” on the web instead of in their backyard. So, you see, it’s not as different as it may seem.
Easy Rules for Successful Social Media Campaigns
Participate! Social media isn’t about just creating a Twitter account or Facebook page and then being done. Keep in mind that your customers are constantly asking, “What’s in it for me?” So if you aren’t interacting with them or giving them helpful info, they’re not going to keep on following your brand/company. Remember, if the goal of social media is to be an online “backyard” for chatting with “neighbors,” you need to be out there “talking” through posts! Over time, this enables you to develop a reputation as a knowledgeable and reputable person.
Put Your Expertise to Work. Share what you know about your industry. You are an expert! So if you work as a plumber, share tips on unclogging a toilet or saving on water bills; if you’re an appliance repairman, offer hints on basic maintenance; etc. Drawing on your knowledge to provide info is a great way to build loyalty and brand trust.
Stop Selling and Start Sharing! SELL SELL SELL is not a good approach for your social media sites. Think about it this way: If you had a friend who was always trying to sell you this or that, how long would you stay friends? If you’re always promoting one offer/product or another on your social media sites, you’re just going to come across as a pushy salesman. Instead, consider your social media sites as a place to create brand loyalty and educate your customers. If you do want to put out the news about a sale or product, just make sure that’s not the only content you’re pushing on your social media sites. And remember, social marketing is a long-term strategy, not a magic wand, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results after just a few months.
Respond to Unhappy Customers. Make sure you’re responding to negative feedback both promptly and positively. The unhappy customer will appreciate that their complaint has been recognized, but more importantly, you’ll be showing other people that their concerns won’t be ignored. And, even though it may be hard, make sure that you’re responding in a way that shows you understand where the customer is coming from.
Don’t give in to wanting to argue each point with the person who submitted the complaint. Instead, respond positively: When you’re dealing with customer satisfaction issues, about 75% of the point is to show OTHER people who may read your response that you truly care and will strive to resolve the client’s concern (and make sure the situation is not repeated). Handling customer complaints online is NOT about being right: It’s about stopping the complaint from costing you future business prospects!
Patience Is a Virtue. Developing a successful social media campaign is never going to happen overnight. It takes time and dedication. Make sure you’re logging in every day to respond to customers in a prompt manner. When you’re in the process of building your following, try putting up a post a couple of times a week. Once your fan base has grown and you have a feel for what content they appreciate most, feel free to start posting more frequently.
Promote It! Your Facebook/Twitter/Google+ page isn’t going to promote itself. If you’re not giving it a hand, it’s not going to be found. Put a link on your business card or website, add a sign in your store, etc.
How to Get Started
Here at PG, we actually create and optimize FB, Google+, and Twitter pages for all of our clients. But that’s just the start! Our goal is to get you found on those platforms, but to really maximize these resources, YOU need to take the reins. Outsourcing can backfire majorly, so invest a little time in your social media marketing and reap the rewards!