Social media provides small business owners with a novel and effective way to market their business directly to a customer or client base. The advent of the Internet and widespread social media has eliminated the obstacles that once stood between a brand and the consumer. Without a middleman, brands can directly interface with their consumers through all the usual social media haunts. Social media is important enough to the business cycle that marketing companies have cropped up to aid brands in their endeavors to capture the hearts and the minds of their consumers directly. You need to learn how to take advantage of social networking to get the word out about your small business, and to interact with customers for great virtual word of mouth recommendations. However, you also need to accomplish this without coming off as being pushy, sales orientated or a complete tool.
How to Play the Social Media Field
The first thing you’ll need to do is to get a feel for the specific social network you’re targeting. Each social media site has its own focus, flavor and specific features that you need to be aware of so you come off as savvy. Look at your competitors’ profiles on the same site to see how they approach things, and how their customers respond to them.
Keep things professional, but don’t be too uptight. Most social networks provide you with an informal and personal platform to connect with your target demographic. If you approach them with the personalities behind your small business, they’re going to be able to relate to you far more than a faceless big box company. Don’t be afraid to be real and honest with them throughout the conversations. Just always be aware that you do still represent your company. Always be aware of the impression that you’re putting out.
Provide incentives to get your customers to share your profile. Maybe you can run a contest or giveaway that depends on sharing a post or picture. You can also provide discount coupons or access to exclusive sales by favoriting or friending a social media profile.
Let them look behind the curtain. People are always curious as to how the product creation process is conducted, how ideas are generated and other information about things you might consider mundane since they’re part of your day-to-day business. Show your customers what’s going on behind the scenes and let them feel like they have a better understanding of exactly how your business works.
Go beyond your own profiles. Not everyone that’s talking about you is doing it on your social media profiles. If the network provides tools to find out where you are mentioned, use them to your advantage. Try and respond outside of your own profile in order to show your customers that you’re involved and care about the impression that your company makes. Even if you find bad experiences, do what you can to help the person out. You just might end up with a great deal of word of mouth recommendations or even viral traffic for your troubles.
Everyone is playing the social media game and you can’t expect to stand out right off the bat, especially if you’re getting started now (good luck!). As long as you are honest and professional with your presence, you can always cultivate your user base and build new fans out of skeptics. Don’t give up!