Social media, one of the most powerful marketing tools, is often used incorrectly by entrepreneurs and small business owners. They use social media to promote their products and services, but they fail to connect with customers or other businesses. Social media works best when it is used to foster communication between the business and its customers to build trust and loyalty. Sharing valuable content goes a long way to establish a connection and trust with prospective customers. Through social media, you should provide useful information that your competitors don’t provide, and try to provide tips that prospective customers think should come with an asking price.
Provide content that makes you a leader in your niche; people don’t visit social media sites to read sales pitches and advertisements. Use social media to promote conversation. Employing a social media strategy that’s focused on sales and marketing typically results in failure.
Don’t post the same information on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn because redundancy loses followers. Use Twitter for instant communication and news, Facebook for building deeper relationships, and LinkedIn for business networking. Tailor the content for each social media platform and to each audience. Informing your audience about a new product or promotion is fine, but don’t over do it.
Do Your Homework
Aspiring entrepreneurs and those fresh out of college often rely on what they know about social media through their own usage, and this could be a problem. Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, believes that “Very often our perception of social media, and what we can and can’t do using social media, is very much tinted by what we think our favorite person is doing – and our favorite person in usually ourselves. So it is about getting students to understand that the empirical skills are absolutely necessary, because whatever they think is intuitively correct, is probably about themselves, but nobody else.”
Use how-to-videos to boost your presence online. Create a custom channel on YouTube. Videos increase the chances of making it to the first page of search results. Video thumbnails grab the attention of people more than text does.
Create a series of short instructional videos about your products or services. Add some positive customer testimonials. Create a video of an actual customer using a product.
Make a customer welcome tab on the company Facebook page. A call-to-action may inspire visitors to become fans. If you receive a “Like,” offer a desirable free item in exchange for a name and email address.
Utilize Facebook to show visitors what you’re passionate about. Every week provide a few interesting questions and insightful answers related to your niche. On a monthly basis, provide at least one new how-to-video related to your niche.
Use Facebook to send traffic to your website. Send people to your website to find more information on subjects that are briefly discussed on the company Facebook page.
Using images and other rich media content allows you to tell visitors a visual story using Facebook Timeline.
Twitter helps you stay connected with customers. If you haven’t had success with Twitter, follow some of the successful brands and learn how they engage people.
Be social with Twitter. Don’t just Tweet about products and services because you may annoy your followers. The last thing you want is for customers to consider you a spammer. Tweeting fun facts, unique information, inspirational quotes, and provocative comments may get you retweeted.
Provide interesting information and stimulate discussions by way of a blog. Be responsive to visitors; business is all about developing and cultivating relationships. Ask questions and generate debates in the comment section. People enjoy an interactive blog and they will always come back for more. Also, provide a call-to-action at the bottom of all the blog posts.
Ask visitors to share their stories, ask questions, and share the blog post at their favorite social media sites.
Build relationships with reporters through social media. Engage relevant reporters about the subjects they write about. Reporters sometimes tweet a question. If this happens, make an insightful response and you may get interviewed.
Use social media to personalize your company and build trust with prospective customers. Building relationships through social media makes it easier for people to trust you, and this in turn makes it easier for them to buy your products and services. But remember, using social media to build relationships and increase revenue is a long-term process, so stay patient!
About the Author: Brian Jenkins writes about a variety of topics related to the workplace for The Riley Guide.