Sadly, if your small business is like a majority of others, you do spend some time on social media, but you don’t see great returns or even have a way to know if your efforts have paid off at all. While social networking websites have only grown in popularity, so has the competition for consumer’s attention. At the same time, you know that some of your competitors really are winning the social media wars. How can you get your own social media efforts to increase your brand recognition, make your customer service better, and lead to increased revenues and profits?
Most Small Businesses Really Aren’t Winning at Social Media
Forbes reported upon a study that found that 60 percent of SMBs don’t think social media really helps their business, despite an investment in these platforms. Business owners said some of their problems included the fact they had no real way to measure gains and the time it took to make any useful connection. These are both significant problems. After all, it’s hard to justify an investment in time or money if the results can’t be measures; also, the whole point of social network is to network socially!
How are some small businesses, let’s call them the 40 percent, winning social media platforms by improving their customer service, improving their brands, and even drawing in more leads and customers?
To win over more social followers and hopefully, customers, consider evaluating social media efforts with these tips:
- Start with business goals: You can possibly measure your efforts if you don’t even know what you hope to gain. Your social media has to support an overall business goal. For example, you might hope to build an online marketing funnel that starts with social media, and this funnel will lead to an increase in leads and eventually, customers.
- Select your platforms: There are so many social media sites that it’s hard to manage all of them. If you want to sell products online, you might consider online retailers that are good for social media, like Amazon, Etsy, and so on. Certainly, you may want to include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., in your efforts, but you might start by managing one or two of these in order to manage complexity.
- Connect your platforms together into your business’ online presence: Successful companies make sure that they think about the buyer’s journey and seamlessly link social media to their business website and to other online retailers where they have a presence.
- Don’t be dull: Some potential customers may get on line with a goal of researching your customers, and that’s great. However, other consumers may not care to be bombarded with posts that are nothing more than your sales. Engage these people with content that’s likely to interest your intended audience. Consider posts about how to use your products better, community service activities, and even stories about some of your customers and partners.
Really, the “Don’t be Dull” point should be the first one for many digital marketers. It also includes actually using social networking platforms to socialize. If you can tag others, you have a better chance of getting noticed by them and by their own social connections online.
How Do Successful Companies Use Social Media?
There are hundreds of tactics that some small companies use to leverage social media to gain more customers and improve their images. This briefly touches on some of these effective tactics that you might not have thought of before:
- Reach out to relevant content posters: You can do this manually, but you can also use software to find posts about your brand, your products, or you industry. Go ahead and start replying to these posts in a helpful and friendly way. You don’t even have to supply the initial content, but you do need to find it in order to make your presence felt.
- Consider online retailers: Even if you have a brick-and-mortar store and/or your own sales site, you might consider posting some products to online retailers that already have a big audience and help build social connections. This doesn’t work for all companies, but it might work for yours.
- Give your customers what they want: Make your entire platform truly useful. For example, you might use your site to offer convenience, like the ability to book appointments online or research your management or service professionals. If you truly provide value, you’re winning. Now your only job is to let people know where that value lies – with you!
This is hardly an exhaustive list of tips. That could fill a book. However, you can find examples of companies that have grown their companies because of an effective use of digital marketing. Go find these companies and use the parts that are relevant to your own SMB! Truly, you may just need to consider one or two of these tips to make your own path obvious. Once you gain some momentum, everything gets easier.