Many businesses are hesitant to create a Facebook page or Twitter account because they feel it’s going to be very time intensive with very little measurable return on investment. Those might have been good arguments 2 or 3 years ago, but now a business without a social media presence is viewed by customers as a business that doesn’t care about their customers. And when there are so many businesses that do have a social media presence, it’s easy to forget about the businesses that aren’t on there. So you may actually start seeing a slow and steady decline in sales/visitors without being on social media. Here’s what you need to know about getting started in the social media space:
1. Cover all the bases
The best strategy is to be everywhere you can. Start with Facebook and Twitter, but you’ll also want to grab a Google+ page (I’ll be discussing the importance of this in later articles) and a LinkedIn page. Fortunately, it’s free to set up pages. And it takes minimal design work to get cover and profile images to represent your business on your pages.
2. Listen to your customers
Now that you have your pages all set up, you need to be present. There are some great tools like HootSuite to manage all the multiple social media sites from one interface so that you can see in real-time when customers are posting on your page. Set your notification settings so you get an email notice when someone posts on your page. It’s important to listen to what your customers are saying. If they post something critical about your company, acknowledge their complaint and see what you can do to fix the issue. These customers may have a lot of friends also watching to see how you respond and interact with them. Stay professional and resolve their issues as quickly as you can. Once the issue is resolved, follow up again with the customer. By doing this, you might not only save this customer, but you could potentially gain their friends/followers as new customers as well.
3. What do you post?
I can’t think of a business that would not be suitable for having a social media presence. A hair salon can post before/after pictures of styles their customers like. A photographer can post pictures from the wedding they shot this weekend. A plumber could post tips on how to deal with common issues their customers deal with. And just about anyone can post deals and specials to thank their followers for their business. Follow your competitors and learn from them.
4. Grow your followers
For every one follower you have to your page, there could be hundreds of their friends that may also see an interaction you have with that follower. You can grow your followers by putting a link to your social media sites in your emails to customer, on your business cards, and even as a sticker in the window of your brick and mortar store. On Facebook, you can promote your posts for as little as $25 to get those posts to a much wider reach of your fan base. The more often you post and interact with your customers on social media, the more people that will see your company and your brand will grow.
Does your small business have an online presence? What has been your biggest struggle getting noticed in the vast social media world?