Social media is an extremely powerful tool for any business. Is this news to anyone? It shouldn’t be!
Any business can take advantage of these effective platforms, but it has to be done correctly to reap the benefits. Many businesses look at social media as another sales avenue, but that strategy is all wrong. Yes, it is a sales tool, but not for direct sales. Instead, think of it as the first step towards a sale by marketing great content across multiple online channels to potential customers! You don’t want to estrange current and potential customers by using social media improperly. By always keeping your voice and message authentic throughout your social media marketing plan, you can draw in fans and slowly guide them towards a sale.
The most important word in Social Media Marketing is social! Social doesn’t mean logging into Facebook and promoting your business or daily lunch specials every day. Being social means engaging with your fans on the social media platforms you choose to be on for your business. So how can you engage?
- Listen. Whether the comments you’re receiving are positive or negative, listen to what your customers are telling you and take it as free market research and feedback on your products/services. Let them know that you hear what they’re saying and you’re going to take it into consideration. This lets your customers know that they do have a voice and opinion that matters to you.
- Poll your audience. Ask them questions and use them as a test group for new products, services or launches.
- Tell stories. Storytelling has been around for thousands of years and can quickly captivate your audience. Share stories that are touching, that people can connect with or that have a humorous ending.
- Hold a contest. Contests are great ways to bring in new fans, engage your current customers and create excitement! Pick a relevant prize, make the contest easy to enter and then spread it throughout your social media platforms to expand your reach. Don’t forget that after a contest, you need to keep your fans engaged.
- Customer Service. Social media is a great tool to give excellent, real-time customer service. Answer questions from potential customers about your business, solve problems as soon as they happen to flip an angry customer to a raving fan, announce events and thank people for choosing your brand.
When you connect with individuals on a personal level, they feel like less of a customer and more of a friend. I’m not saying don’t ever talk about your business or specials, but spread these posts out between other engaging content such as community events or industry news. Creating a sense of community will go a long way with your online audience.
Building trust and personal relationships with your audience is what social media is all about. By steering away from being a direct sales channel and towards humanizing your brand, you’ll see the rewards. Authenticity and engagement will take you a long way!