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Social Media can be a great tool to help grow your business and brand value – online and at your store. It gives you the chance to build brand loyalty with anyone who follows your business by letting them get to know your business more personally. There’s always a person behind social media posts and the various social media channels allow customers to interact with you, your business and brand directly. If you do well, these customers will become real fans. Plus, using the various social media channels can be a way to share new products, promotions and sales – without paying a penny or spending time to create printed flyers or coupons. While many companies will pay for advertising campaigns on these sites, it is also possible to get started for free.
Social Media is a very broad topic. There are many different social media sites to choose from and there are many different ways to use social media for your business. This article will cover some basics of social media marketing, the benefits of the major platforms and how they can work for you.
Social Media Marketing is like word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.
Likes and tweets can spread like wildfire in a matter of hours. Engaging with your customers and sharing information they respond well too can help increase your exposure to more potential customers. Of course, if someone has a negative experience with your store, this can spread too. But the upside is you have the power to respond to your customers directly – it’s another opportunity to show off your customer service.
Facebook and Twitter pages are probably the two most common social media tools for small businesses but there are MANY others to choose from that might be right for your business too.
Plus, most social networks can be integrated with Facebook and Twitter. If you post a photo on Instagram, it can appear on Facebook and Twitter. If you create a board on Pinterest, it can be shared on Facebook and Twitter. Almost anything you do on Facebook can be shared on Twitter as well and vice versa. There are also numerous social media tools that allow you to post to all of your social networks simultaneously as well as schedule future posts. You really can mix and match many different social media tools as you see fit. But here are the basics about the most popular sites…
Facebook has more than 1 billion users and 67% of Americans are on Facebook. Now, it’s not as if you’ll reach ALL of those people but this is just to make the point that there are a LOT of people on Facebook and they’re following all kinds of businesses in addition to their friends. When followers interact with your business there’s a chance their friends will see it. People can “check in” when they visit your store or even share a promotion you post with their friends. Not to mention, they’re seeing your news and updates if they follow you.
Twitter has hundreds of millions of users as well and is a great platform for sharing quick news with followers or responding to their praise, questions and even complaints, directly. The benefit of Twitter followers is that they usually have more followers than they do on Facebook. On Facebook, people generally connect with friends and acquaintances. On Twitter, people connect with anyone interesting – from celebrities to total strangers who tweet about things they’re interested in. So if someone retweets something you post, you could reach far more than a few friends – you might reach thousands of people in a blink of an eye.
Like Facebook and Twitter, Google Plus is a great place to gain followers and share news and promotions with your customers. But one unique feature is that everything you post on Google Plus is also immediately indexed by Google which can help your business with SEO. In other words, if your business gains a lot of followers who interact with things you post, Google, as a search engine, will notice that too. So you don’t just get the social media benefits, you might also help improve your business’s search ranking on Google.
Twitter and Facebook are probably the two most universal social media platforms for small businesses. But there are many, many others to choose from that may suite your business too. For example, if you create unique products you might want an Instagram or Pinterest account to share photos. If you provide products or services to other businesses, having a good LinkedIn page or group might be right for you. YouTube can be a great place to showcase the work you do, the products you sell or services you provide as well. It’s all a matter of what makes the most sense for your business. If you’re not sure, ioVista can help you create the strategy that’s right for you as well as get started. No matter what sites you choose for your business…
If your followers get used to you posting a promotion every Monday, make sure you post a promotion every Monday. If they’re used to several posts throughout the day, keep up with that. Even if people aren’t responding to everything you post, you are getting your name out there so they remember you when they do want something you provide.
Social media gives you an opportunity to personally engage with your customers. It’s ok to post fun things in addition to news and promotions. The 80/20 rule here would mean, 80% of the time, your posts should be related to your business – articles, blog posts, news, product updates, promotions, etc. But 20% of the time, go ahead and post something fun your customers might like. It can still be relevant, but it doesn’t have to be as serious. You could post quotes or pictures of things happening around your store. This is a great opportunity to show your followers that a real person is posting your updates.
In other words, fill out your company profile completely. Add the link to your website, fill out the “about” section, add a profile photo, share your business address and hours – if a social media platform gives you a space to share information, you should take full advantage of that. It’s almost like having a second website to share information with your customers.
Also, have some fun with it…Social media is meant to be social. People react well to brands that clearly have real people behind them. Consider it a place to interact with your customers in a way anyone can see. If you provide excellent information and customer service, anyone who visits your page or sees those posts will think positively of your business or brand.
Essentially, social media gives you more ways to reach more customers – it’s really as simple as that. The key is simply posting relevant updates and responding well to anything that comes your way – whether that’s a compliment a question or a complaint.
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