It’s official. Social media has pulled up a chair to the table of every marketing department across the land, if not the world. On Facebook alone, according to Dan Levy, Facebook’s director of small business, over 15 million businesses have pages, with the number of accounts using Facebook’s mobile management app for brands, Page Manager, up to more than eight million. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and many more are increasingly competing for marketing time and dollars.
But simply having a presence is quite different from having an impact. For many businesses, particularly those with limited marketing resources, social media can begin to feel like being obliged to attend a party even though you have a million other things to do and being not quite able to join in a conversation once you are there. In short, a very unsocial, ‘social’ experience.
The power of social media done well, however, is indisputable. It represents a dynamic, low cost, highly responsive means of engaging with your client base.
So, here are eClincher’s top 5 tips for harnessing the power of social media for your business:
1. Start with a Goal
Why are you blogging? What are you doing on Twitter? For example, is it to (a) increase brand awareness by growing your reach, (b) build customer loyalty by providing more support, or © increase sales by getting more people to purchase, more frequently. This will help shape your content and measure your progress.
2. Pick which platform works for you
There are myriad platforms – Tumblr, Pinterest, Foursquare, seemingly more appear every day, to allow you to engage with your client base. However, just because there are multiple options doesn’t mean you need to have a presence on all of them. It is better to spend time getting it right on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – remember that each channel requires its own distinct messaging – than spreading your time and efforts too thin for too little return.
3. Understand What Motivates Your Audience
The reality is that your post will be just one of the hundreds, if not thousands, that appear on the online feeds of your followers. Be succinct, relevant and useful. Think from your audience’s point of view and the benefit your products or services give them.
4. Ask questions, share insights, tips, and best practices
Numerous studies have shown that when a business asks questions in their updates, the percentage of responses goes up. Even when a business wants to share a tip or best practice, the engagement is higher when the update is posted as a question. The key to social media success is to keep the posts real, conversations authentic, content fresh, and the tone enthusiastic and – where appropriate – funny.
5. Respond to everything
Regardless of what type of comments you receive on your social media pages – whether they’re positive or negative – be sure to respond. This is not only good customer service, but these comments provide potentially valuable and actionable insight for your business to take on. Responding to positive comments is important too, it’s courteous, spreads the good cheer and it also shows you are truly listening.
For more social media tips for small businesses, read this useful article.