Social media has quickly become an integral part of small business marketing. It’s vital for business owners to understand what social media can do for their business, which platforms are best for them, and how to engage customers and drive sales.
Follow these steps to get started with social media.
1. Build Relationships
Social media is a place customers go for support. Build relationships with your customers by having a consistent presence online. Answer and respond to customer inquiries quickly and positively, whether the feedback is encouraging or constructive. Join customer conversations, and add value where you can, even if the conversation is not about your business or your products.
2. Embrace Technology
Take advantage of technology that puts social media right at your fingertips. For example, QuickBooks Point of Sale powered by Revel Systems is a great way to do this, as it integrates with social media and helps you maintain a presence on major social sites.
3. Engage Your Audience
Fully understand your target market. This is the best way to engage your customers and make them part of the conversation. For example, if you have a restaurant, post fun recipes your patrons can try at home, or movies you recommend they see after visiting your establishment. Providing value to the customer gives them a reason to visit and engage with your social media pages more often.
4. Content Is Social
Posting content that grabs attention and is “shareable” boosts engagement and encourages new people to learn about your products or services. Include popular, relevant hashtags on posts to draw views. Offer coupons, have a flash sale or hold a contest to encourage customers to share and engage.
5. Highlight Advantages
Why should a customer shop with you? Talk about what makes your business special and unique. Whether you are green, organic, charitable or have an amazing return policy, use these traits as kindling to amplify your brand in a positive and energetic light.
6. Educate Your Audience
Establish rapport with customers by proving to them you are an expert in your field. Give specific and actionable tips to use your products and services. Use this opportunity to give an inside look at your company. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, show the chef preparing a dish or giving cooking tips; if you’re a product-based business, give customers an inside look at the distribution center.
Sharing what goes on behind the scenes makes your customers feel connected to your business.
What Social Sites Should You Focus On?
There are so many social media platforms. But they’re not all the same, and they’re not all a good fit for your business. Now that you have the basics of how to use social media, here’s a quick primer on which sites your business should focus on.
Choose a few based on where your target audience hangs out. Then be present and consistent about posting.
To Reach the Mass Market: Facebook
Facebook is one of the most-used social media sites. It combines the ability to post photos along with written text.
Give customers updates, post videos of products, and ask customers to share their experiences. Facebook also has affordable small business marketing campaigns that allow you to find new potential customers and drive traffic to your website.
To Chat With Customers and Personalize Your Message: Twitter
Twitter is a great place to engage customers, join their conversations and provide customer support.
Tweet directly to people asking you questions. Think of it as a public text message in 140 characters or less. It’s a vehicle to broadcast your message to followers.
To Grab Attention With Visuals: Pinterest and Instagram
Pinterest and Instagram are both visual platforms. If you have a product people want to see and share with others, these are great tools for you to use. These platforms are beneficial to show off great aesthetics.
Restaurants can post photos of their food, a bed and breakfast can show pictures of their sunlit rooms, or a travel agency can post photos of popular vacation destinations.
To Show Customers You Care: Yelp
Yelp and other review sites allow you to reply to customers in a positive way. Whether feedback is good or bad, your presence on these platforms helps customers see you truly care about them and their experience with your business. Turn a negative reviewer into a lifelong customer with the right response.
While social media strategy can feel like a daunting task—Which platforms? What to post? Whom to target?—it’s relatively easy with a strategy in place. Use social media to connect with your audience and drive traffic and sales by engaging with your customers where they spend most of their time. For more tips on social media, see our article on why new businesses should be adopters of social media.