We hear many business owners ask the question, “Is there any real value in Social Media for my Business?” Whether you like it or not, today and in the future social media is, and will be, an important component for all businesses.
Whether you are a bricks and mortar business or an online Internet-based business, chances are your sales will go up if you are marketing your business. There are many offline businesses that can effectively leverage social media to strengthen and grow their businesses in creative and effective ways. It’s about thinking outside the box.
Most importantly, your social media marketing must fit in with your overall business Marketing Plan. If you are ad-hoc in how you use social media to market your business then yes you will probably get ad-hoc results. Be sure to implement a Social Media Marketing Plan to ensure you get the most effective results for your business.
Many of the popular social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, all engage prospects and customers, grow the awareness and popularity of your business and inevitably boost your sales.
If you are serious about taking your business into the 21st century, then you will need to embrace social media. There are many ways that businesses can use social media to their advantage. Here are just a few:
* Be Present and Become and Expert:
The first step is to create your profiles on the various social media websites and then update them on a regular basis. You will need to check your accounts a couple of times a week to respond to comments from your followers. This a great way to build presence, to be seen as an expert and to build relationships with your followers. The more you update and are seen to be interactive with your followers, the stronger your business’s reputation will be.
* Educate Don’t Sell:
Social media is another way to build relationships with people, prospects and customers that you may not ever have otherwise been exposed to. So make the most of it. In today’s market, consumers are getting smarter, plus we live a world of mass advertising. The last thing you want to do is sell your products and services on social media. It’s about educating your fans. Every once in awhile you might promote a workshop or specíal deal. Educate more, Sell less. If people want to find out more about you and your products and services, they can visit your website.
* Get the Whole Company Involved:
If you have a staff, get them involved and task them to update your social media posts on a daily basis. This is an excellent morale booster and your staff’s involvement will strengthen your marketing effort and grow your business’s online exposure. A little suggestion – you might want to keep an eye on how much time your staff spends on social media and that it is for work and not personal purposes.
* Encourage People to Join You on Social Media:
Ask people to “Like” your social media pages. You can promote social integration on your business receipts, signs, brochures and invoices so that your existing customers will want to jump on the social media train as well. You can also ask your customers to check in to Foursquare or one of the other geo-location sites once they arrive in the general proximity of your store, offering them special promotions to entice them to come in.
* Keep an Eye on Your Competitors:
Social Media is a great medium to keep an eye on your competitors and stay ahead of the game. It is a great way to research whether your competitors are offering special promotions, how active they are on social media, who is following them and what they are saying. Always remember to stay on top of what your competition is doing by reading everything that they post. Remember that you and other businesses are always fighting to stay on top.
* Become a Community:
People want to feel like they belong to something i.e. a community. This is your job and social media provides a perfect platform for this. People are more likely to purchase from people They Know, They Like, and They Trust. The way to achieve this is by having live events at your store as well as events online. Promote unique deals, give advice and Be There for your community.
* Start Small:
If you don’t have any help in managing your social media accounts and you try to do it all by yourself, you may find that you aren’t doing it well or at all. Start with one and get comfortable with that. Make sure that you go for quality over quantity.
* Listen and Learn:
Are you aware of what your existing customers and potential customers are saying about your business, products and services, and brand? Pay special attention to the comments that people are posting online. It is also a good idea to set up Google alerts and to immediately handle issues as they occur. This is your chance to show people how much you care about them. Help them to solve their problems and address whatever concerns they have. Generally people are okay if a mistake is made, as long as you resolve it.
* Be Patient:
It takes time to see significant results with social media when it comes to the success of your business. Remember that your hard work will definitely pay off and the more relationships you build and the more you interact with others, the more interested other people will be in connecting with you again and again. It’s also important to remember that social media does provide a means for you to connect with people you might otherwise not ever have had the opportuníty to meet.
You can use social media to give away free products from your store. This is sure to attract attention. People will want to interact with you and will want to be the first to know when you introduce new products and services. Be careful, however, of not over doing the promotion and competitions.
Social Media is here. Many consumers are spending hours online, so it makes sense to have a presence as well for your business. The real results will come when you are strategic about your social media marketing. It’s all about taking your business into the 21st century. If you are ready to embrace it, so will your clients. Then watch your business grow.