Do you remember life before smartphones, instantaneous Internet connectivity, and Google? What did you do then when you needed a recommendation for a restaurant, a contractor, a plumber, or a babysitter? You may have looked in the phone book or you may have asked a friend, neighbor, or relative for a recommendation. Ah, word-of-mouth referrals, those were the days.
If you are a small business owner, chances are that you don’t get many of those in 2014. What took its place? Social media. Think of social media outlets as the ultimate way to refer someone to a company or gather reputable information before hiring somebody for a job. People naturally talk about their experiences with a company online and you may be missing out on advertising opportunities if you aren’t completed dedicated to the cause.
Maybe you aren’t tech-savvy or can’t keep up with the times. Even minimal social media interactions can help your business, as long as you do it correctly. Let us help you conquer social media by following these tips and tricks.
Putting yourself and your brand out there could mean, and should mean, that you get feedback from your clients. Be open to engaging in conversation. Some people will write to your social accounts to complain about something or ask a question. Try to avoid being defensive because that rarely works in your favor and try to rectify the situation. Even better, make the deal in the same public forum where it started, so other customers can see how you handle things even when something doesn’t go right.
Create and Share Blog Content on Your Social Media Channels
Creating unique blog content can help you cement your position in the industry, gain trust with your customers, and increase brand recognition. Sharing content on your social media channels helps you do all of these things in addition to drives traffic back to your site. Engaging content begs customers to share the content and get you noticed.
Offer Regular, Exclusive Coupons and Promotions
Social media is a great place to offer exclusive coupons and promotions. Your customer benefits by getting the discount and you benefit from whatever action you require to “unlock” the deal (a “Like,” a Follow, etc.). There are even specific platforms you can use to set up these promotions. One of them, PromoJam, allows you to make aesthetically pleasing, professional campaigns for a low cost (starts at $30/month). For further tips on creating effective coupons, read this article.
Run a Social Campaign to Gain Attention
Followers and Facebook “Likes” aren’t everything, but there is something to be said for having a strong, authentic social media following. (Don’t be prey for the pay-for-followers “marketers.” Why buy followers who don’t even care about you, your services, or your business?) Your following is essentially people who will give these recommendations to others looking for your services.
Anyways, you can get information from your potential customers by running a social media campaign to get Likes, pins, or a hosting giveaway. This is similar in thought to coupons and promotions but differs slightly because most everyone is willing to fill out a form for a chance to win an iPad, whereas only serious consumers will “Like” something to get a coupon. Here’s an interesting article about using incentives to gain more fans.
Contribute to the Conversation Regularly
Try as hard as you can to not set up your accounts and then never use them again. Social media outreach is most effective when you are active and engaging your followers regularly. Contribute to the conversation by participating in forums and other industry-related pages. If you are worried about forgetting to update your pages, set aside time every week or month to schedule your posts out. Hootesuite is a great tool for this, although, for regular engagement you will need to check in occasionally to see how people are responding.