Social Media Marketing For local Businesses
With so many people using social media it is impossible for businesses to ignore. Your customers are spending an increasing amount of their time online on these networks. They are connecting, socializing, recreating and entertaining all at once. They do this by splitting their time between six networks, Google Plus, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. While there are others, these six capture the bulk of your customers’ time.
A New Way to Market
Because there are so many users businesses are taking to social media to apply a wave of new internet marketing methods. If you have been looking for new ways to market your business, instead of relying on the Yellow Pages, Media advertising or even Search Engine Optimization, Social Media may represent a new opportunity for you and your business. If you pick up on the fundamentals, you’ll be able to maximize your presence on these sites to grow your business.
However, the ways the businesses achieve success using social media aren’t really hard and fast guidelines. Many businesses have developed their own methods through trial and error. However, since 2010, when companies began to get serious about their use of social media certain methods have become “best practices”. In other words, there are certain unwritten rules that some companies follow on social media platforms to achieve success.
Perhaps you’re already using social media to your advantage in your business. You are likely to find the following helpful. If you add these practices to what you’re already doing, you may see an increase in your customer flow and profitability.
1) Pay Attention To Graphical Details on Twitter
When you set up your Twitter account, use a background that is suitable to your business. Your background isn’t clickable and will be seen by anyone that comes to your profile. You want them to remember your brand, contact details and face upon leaving. However, this will require more than just finding a random image to upload. You will need to invest some time (and perhaps capital) in putting together a solid set of profile graphics.
Your background graphic is the largest and most visible. It is free advertising space, if you have your graphic created wisely. Think of all the pertinent things that you want people to know and have them incorporated into the graphic. This should be everything from your email address to your telephone number.
2) Identify Yourself as a Person, Not as a Business
When marketing your business on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, you will want to make sure that those that follow you know WHO is answering their queries on social media. You should openly say things like, “I’m Mike from Seattle Hardware…”. You want to do this instead of hiding behind the term “we” and corporate speak. Also be prepared to either have someone available or to be available yourself. Those that use social media expect an answer when they are interacting on your platform pages.
Make sure to try to talk like a “person” in your interactions. People (those whom you hope will become your customers and prospects) are looking for personal interaction. If you are consistent in incorporating this ‘personability’ into your marketing campaign, you will find that you are organically attracting people to your brand. Personal conversation that is humble, collaborative, and two-way in nature works best.
3) Be Liberal in Your Use of Media
If social media marketing is new to you this may actually be a good thing. You will not have to un-learn some of the not so good habits touched on in this guide. A number of businesses jump into social media “with both feet” and embrace the need to post often.
This is a good thing. However, many of them post nothing but articles and things to read. What you may or may not realize is that this won’t get your potential customer engaged. It’s more likely to repel them on social media. What people find most compelling on social media sites is media (images, audio and video). A text article probably ranks last.
Here is one way to think about this. Think of the social media sites as places in which you can create a picture and a voice for your business. This is right in line with everyone else that you’re interacting with. They’re using social media as a way to express their thoughts, views and personal preferences.
Your posts represent the viewpoint of your company. Consider social media as the way to communicate who you are, what your product is and what value your product has for potential customers. When you are approaching social media this way, your customers will “get” where you are coming from. Media does a much more effective job of this than words.
4) Make It Easy for Your Followers and Customers to Interact With You on Your Blog
Your blog is your home base for all of your social content. In fact, it could probably be considered as the seventh platform for social media. You want to give your followers, fans and readers every opportunity to get your content continually. This means making sure that subscribing to it is easy.
Have a “subscribe” button easily located on your page, and make sure it is visible with an easy-to-read font and color. If you’re using a program like WordPress, it is very easy to make sure that button appears on every page. You should be providing constant reminders that your fans and followers need to subscribe to get the best of your content.
The process of subscribing should be short and simple. This means making sure that the subscribe button is always above the fold (on the top half of the page) and/or prominently place for your mobile device users. When visitors can find your subscription button with ease and move forward in the process they are more likely to do it.
Regardless of your goal, having more subscribers means that your business activity will increase. If your company is a brick and mortar business, getting email subscribers means that you will be able to market to them often and entice them to come to your location with premiums and discounts. Most importantly, you’ll be able to do so cost effectively.
If your business is an online business, you are helped immensely by more subscribers. You will get more traffic to your website and more prospects in front of your merchandise.
5) Don’t Assume that People Will “Like” Your Fan Page…Ask Them To Do So
The simplest way to get people to come to your fan page, is to ask them to “like” it. There is no need to try to trick people into a “like”. Even if you are able to secure it by promising (and sometimes even delivering) a freebie, they’re likely to cancel as soon as you can. You want people to agree to follow your Facebook Page because they want to do so.
Make sure to ask people to “LIKE” your Facebook page everywhere that you talk about your business. Ask on your Facebook page, on your website, in any advertising as well as in your brick and mortar stores.
Social Media doesn’t often lead to a direct selling or buying opportunity. Candidly, that isn’t the goal of social media anyway. The more individuals that “LIKE” your page, the more they will spread information about your brand through social sharing with their online contacts. Although it is more indirect, it’s a great way to increase exposure as well as your search engine rankings.
6) Have a Bias Toward Starting the Process of Engagement and Interaction – Don’t Lurk
Social media marketing is all about building good dialogue. All the social media sites are based on conversations of one form or another. Use these sites to engage potential customers by telling them what your company is thinking, by making relevant posts and by displaying prominent links to things in your company of human interest.
In addition to this, try asking your visitors questions about what they are looking for. Doing this will help you build relationships by exchanging viewpoints. Being consistent about this often means that you’ll be rewarded with increased sales for your company’s efforts.
7) Don’t Ignore LinkedIn, Even If You’re Not a B2B Company
Because LinkedIn is a business oriented network, many consumer based companies ignore it thinking that they are unlikely to attract their target customer. However, regardless of how you classify your company (B2C or B2B), you’ll want to consider opening an account on the LinkedIn.
While it is true that the site is designed for business professionals, it has features that include ways for satisfied customers to recommend your company to others that can only increase your reputation and credibility. In addition to this, you can often find out about individuals that you may want to hire by watching their interactions on the site as well as in some of the discussion groups.