As fast as the world is turning, it is even more important for small businesses to be a part of the social media experience. Social media offers you a chance to regularly engage with your customers, no matter how near or far they are from your place of business. Online resources such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest make it even easier for small business owners to stay in contact with their customers.
Let’s take a look at how you can engage your customers through social media outlets.
Social Media Guide for Small BusinessThe Right One Finding the right social media outlet for you and your business can be a bit like conducting an online experiment. There is an abundance of sites to choose from, soit can be overwhelming for a small business owner to keep track of them all. In the beginning select two or three to start with and keep track of the progress and successes of each one. You will find one is not only easier for you, but is more successful than others. Wait until you are completely comfortable with the sites you are working with before adding a new one.
There are different ways to monitor online success. You can check Facebook for reports about the number of fans reached and those who you engaged with. On Pinterest you can keep track of who pins the items on your board to theirs. Google offers Google Alerts which sends you reports of searches for your business or products offered. All of these help determine the success of your social media engagements and determine which one is working in your best interest.
Contests Grab your customers’ interest by offering contests where they can win products and services offered by your company. This can be as simple as a chance to register to win or an “offer code” entry combined with a game such as “entering the winning phrase.”. Other contest ideas include trivia contests or a contest to see who tags themselves on your photo first. Be creative when selecting a prize, make it something your customers want, not just the leftovers you haven’t been able to sell over the past six months.
Sales Regularly offer sales exclusive to those you engage with online. Only those who saw your post online will receive the discount or special. Either make a printable coupon, email offer or a code they can give you when they come into your store.
Conversation Do not give up on your customers and remember to keep the conversation going. When customers “like,” comment or mention your business, reply back. Ask how their day is or offer them a tip of the day. Whatever you do keep the conversation open and continuing. The longer it continues the more customers will see your posts. Plus, if your customers see you are actively participating and not just advertising, the more likely they are to return to your page or site.
Follow Up In addition to keeping the conversation going, use social media sites to help you follow up with your customers. You can offer individual emails with a survey, or send a simple “thank you for your purchase” message. You can also post a group survey to find out about all of your customers’ experiences with your business and what they want in the future.
Community Support Not only does a social media site help you keep track of and inform your customers about your business, you can also use it to gain support from your local community and find other small businesses, local organizations and local networking groups. All of these connections will help you online by supporting you and your business. Just remember,to offer the same support in return.
Before setting out on your social media endeavor sit down and make a goal. Determine what you want out of your social media marketing campaign. Is it to alert customers of sales, be a platform for contests or do you truly want to engage with your customers? Once you know your goals, it will be easier for you to use social media sites and know what to say.