Social media is a big thing right now. Between Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other platforms, it seems everyone is using social media.
Unless you have been living in a cave, you know social media is a big thing right now. Between Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and many other platforms, it seems everyone is using social media in some way. What started as a way for the Average Joe to connect with like-minded people has now become a leading marketing and promotional venue for businesses of all sizes. If you are not tapping into this venue, then you could be missing out on some major sales and your potential customer base.
Here are some practical ways you can use social media to help grow your business and make use of the new technology that is at your fingertips today in the digital age.
Focus on organic traffic
Think about everything you have heard about social media, how people communicate and discover new businesses and use their social media platform accounts to find providers for goods and services that they need. The vast majority of people don’t use social media to strike up a conversation with a business owner about their goods and services. People are likely going to reach out to you on social media for one of two basic reasons: for customer care or for a discount. These natural responses and reasons for visiting are known as organic traffic and it is the most powerful and important type of traffic!
These aren’t the types of compunctions business owners think about engaging in when they formulate their social media plan — but they should be. Look at this as an opportunity to show your customers that you do care about them. If they message you on Facebook or your Twitter account about an issue they had with your product or service it is a chance for you to try and make things right. A bad experience can turn people off of a brand but even a bad experience, when handled well by the business, can turn into a repeat customer later on.
Most social platform users are going to have very personal reasons to engage with your business on social media. You cannot just respond with cookie cutter copy and paste responses — this needs to be the opportunity you take to get your customer on common ground and work through problems and differing opinions in order to present your business in the best light possible. That is what you should be doing with all of your social media pages.
Convert social users to email subscribers
The tried and true method of digital communication with past, current and potential customers has been emailed. It has been this way for decades. Email is a much more reliable means to communicate in most cases largely because too many businesses do not know how to properly format, word and distribute their social media posts. Email is not sexy, it is not new and shiny, but people know how to use it and how to respond to it. There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using social media effectively.
One way to capitalize on both social media posting and emails is to get your social followers to sign up for your weekly emails or monthly site updates, or other email supported communicators that you send to your customer base. The biggest difference between social posts and email acquisition is in the area known as barrier-to-entry. It works like this — most followers on social media platforms click the like or follow button on your page and then never do anything else and never interact with you. Email subscribers are more likely to engage with you because they get messages sent to their main online mode of communication and they know how to read and respond to emails — where they might not yet have this Facebook or Twitter thing figured out.
Once you get someone to like your page or become a social fan you then need to work on shifting their attention to a more reliable and traditional form of communication for in-depth information — email subscriptions. You can use your social media to send out quick announcements like sales and new product launches but when you want to deliver a lot of information and encourage good customer response and feedback, email is the best way to do so. The value of nudging social fans to sign up as email subscribers is that it yields the greatest return on your investment and allows you a double plan of attack for getting your brand and your message out to more customers.
Personalize your outreach
Nearly everyone is on Facebook these days and the other popular sites are also getting flooded with accounts and profiles of people who do little to nothing once they have registered and signed up. Most professionals sign up with LinkedIn, and almost a quarter of all people online have a Twitter account. It goes on and on like this for pretty much any social network you can think of that is popular today. People share a lot of information to inform “high-touch” outreach tactics that aim at pinging the search results people put into Google, Bing or other search engines. The idea is when a certain keyword is searched for if your account or site has that word or phrase it will show up in the person's search results and give you a chance to win a new customer.
In the PR profession, they use automated tools that allow them to send emails and communication to anyone searching for specific terms or who have ever visited their site. You may have seen this happen after searching for an item on amazon or eBay and then visiting Facebook and seeing ads for that exact item displayed. This is an automation that attempts to give you one last chance to win them over and get them to buy your product.
Yet the most effective pitches tend to be personalized. This insight plays into the very fabric of human nature — we want to be known, recognized and appreciated. When customers search for products or services you do not want to waste their time; so offering them sound useful information is a way to show that you care about them and understand what they want and need. They want you to appreciate them and see them as a person, not just another sale — and personalizing your social media posts is a great way to show this and to win over new customers.
Be active and social
This last point is pretty straightforward but needs to be said. You need to be active with your business social accounts and this looks different than how you use your personal profiles and pages. As a business, you want to stay active but you want to keep everything you post and share timely, valuable and informative in some way.
Sharing for the sake of sharing something done with personal accounts. For the business account, find a balance between quality and quantity. Stay active so people see you and your brand but be known for informative quality content, not meaningless fluff.
When you can achieve, and maintain this balance you will become a master of business social media platforms and business marketing online.