In this day and age, every business – from the smallest startup to the largest Fortune 500 company – has to have a strong social media presence to survive. If you are running a business, especially a smaller one, this can prove to be a real boon; after all, advertising through social media for business can be a great deal cheaper than other, more traditional forms of advertising. However, reaping the full benefits of social media for business requires a certain amount of skill, and the mastery of a few tricks of the trade. Here are five simple steps you can apply to use social media to your advantage:
The first key to success in social media for business is in the consistency of your branding. Think about it: if a prospective customer sees a Facebook ad you have posted, and is intrigued enough to visit your company’s website, you will not want them to feel like they’re seeing something that is tonally inconsistent with the message in the first ad.
You will want to start by asking who, exactly, your target audience is. Is your business primarily catering to a younger crowd? Or is your product mostly aimed at an older generation? How will you craft a brand that speaks to that audience? When people from your target market view any of your social media profiles, they should instantly feel a sense of familiarity: the result of your consistent branding.
Consistency Across All Social Media Platforms
Depending on the size of your business, you may have one person handling all of your company’s social media, or you may have an entire department. Either way, it’s critical that you are consistent across all the platforms where you maintain a social media presence. In other words, there shouldn’t be a huge disconnect between your Twitter page and your Facebook page, just to give one example. The tone of your writing, as well as your mission statement and other details, should never vary between all of your social media feeds or your company’s own website.
All of the most successful businesses throughout history have managed, in one way or another, to build a relationship with their customer base. In the modern dday, social media is an excellent tool with which you can do this, provided you utilize it wisely. Building a relationship should start with your customer base. What are they interested in? What are they talking about? How does this connect with your brand?
You’ll want to discover which keywords are commonly and naturally used among your prospective customers; in other words, listen to your customers, and get to know them. This will help you to effectively communicate with them through social media.
In order to build a base of loyal, regular customers, you will also need to be responsive. Never ignore a question or comment on social media. If it’s a complaint, address it. If you get a compliment, thank the customer for it. Always respond to all comments, whether good, bad, or in between.
When you do respond, respond quickly; answer inquiries by name and show empathy towards customer complaints or to customers in need. You want loyal customers, so you should show loyalty to them, first: this means you should be approachable. You should also occasionally thank your more loyal customers: have occasional promotions exclusively for your social media followers.
Prove Your Value
Even if your business is extremely small, you can use social media to your advantage. On the whole, this is great news, but it also means that every single one of your competitors can easily do the same. So you must ask yourself: what is special about MY company? Why is MY product better than that of my competitors?
In other words, you must prove your value. Don’t just tell your customers you have the best product out there: PROVE IT! You should constantly be working to convince your potential buyers that they should choose you over any one of the dozens of other companies offering similar products.
Proving your value isn’t just about cost, either. Maybe your product is less expensive than that of your competitors, and maybe it isn’t. In the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t really matter, as long as your customers think your product is worth the money to them.
Use your social media platform to tell your customers exactly why you are the best: will they save money with you? Or will they save time? Or will using your product get a better, more effective result than any other? Use it to demonstrate who you are as a brand, and who the people are behind that brand.
Keep track of purchases, as well as comments, phone calls, and any other interaction you have with your customers. Find out exactly what it is they value, and what they are looking for, and then use your social media platform to offer it up.
Use Images And Video Wisely
Social media is primarily a visual medium, and it’s often consumed very quickly. Prospective customers are bombarded with thousands of ads, and other distractions, every single day. What is it that will make your business stand out?
First, you have to make sure you understand things like format, sizing, and other specifications. If you are unsure of how to utilize this, it would be wise to take a class or course on it. Each platform is different: a video on Instagram will not be the same as one you share on Twitter or Reddit. Make sure the content you share is optimized for the platform you are using.
When sharing content via advertising, most customers will simply ignore it. That is unless it already aligns closely with their interests. Use targeted ads to reach customers who already have an interest in a product like yours. Casting the widest net possible is rarely, if ever, successful.
Give People A Reason To Visit Your Site
It’s easy to look at the numbers and see all those clicks as a simple statistic. But remember: every person who clicked on your page is a prospective customer, and every one of them is looking for something. Will you be able to provide it for them? They will never know if they don’t visit your site first, so make sure they have a good reason to do so. Whether that’s through sharing unique content or creating an eye-catching brand, you want to make yours a site that customers will be curious to see.
Be Patient with Social Media for Business
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when attempting to use social media to your advantage: be patient! It’s easy to become discouraged when your new ads don’t seem to be getting the clicks you were hoping for. This may lead you to change your strategy immediately, and spend a great deal of money on a new marketing plan, without allowing time for the first one to become effective.
What you must keep in mind is that success is not something that happens overnight. Even in the world of social media for business, where everything seems to happen at lightning speed, new products need time to become visible. Once you accept that your prospective customer base may need to become used to seeing your brand before you see a noticeable uptick in sales, you will be well on your way to a successful new marketing strategy.