Today, there is no other single source that can help, or hurt, your company more than social media. In this digital age, social media really is the ultimate “word of mouth” advertising and it needs to be treated as such. You want your customers to say good things about you, and you obviously want an opportunity to address dissatisfied ones. Social media gives you that chance, all you have to do is take advantage of it.
Check in daily.
Common sense? Probably, but you may be surprised at the amount of businesses who took the initial time to create their Google+, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook page only to have it sit static for weeks or months on end. Make it a daily routine to log in and review what is being said. You open your mail, email and check your phone often so your social media status deserves at least similar attention. People will notice.
Grow your base of followers.
Growing your followers is like growing your market share. It takes diligent work. Consider online only discounts, contests, and promotions. Ask for referrals. In the case of Facebook, friend other small businesses in your area. Set weekly or monthly goals for increasing your followers. Get your employees and customers involved. Make sure your business cards and other marketing materials include your social media information.
Make sure questions are answered.
This may seem like a simple enough task but it is amazing how many business pages leave followers questions unanswered. Not answering a direct question online is social media’s version of not answering the phone or ignoring an in-store customer. Many businesses make the mistake of treating online inquiries with a lower level of respect. The trouble is, in the case of say Facebook, every other follower KNOWS the question is dangling. If you do not want to address the question in front of all the other followers, then respond with a polite “Thank you for your question. Please contact us directly so I may better answer your question. ”or similar verbiage.
Updates don’t have to be long, complicated, or pearls of wisdom. Updates can be as easy as a question you may ask at lunch. Open ended questions can stir conversations, so avoid asking “yes” or “no” questions. Questions like “How do you think this weather is affecting people’s attitudes?” can cause people to think and respond. Obviously, just like lunch, you want to avoid politics and religion. Don’t always make your posts about your business. If you are a jeweler, rather than promoting heart shaped jewelry, you may simply ask “How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?” You can get your message across without direct selling.
Try to take time on a daily basis to research like-minded businesses. Type in search terms you would love to be at the top of and note who is at the top. Take a look at what they are doing. See what local competitors are showing up well in search engines, and again, make note of what they are doing to get there. Decide on what keywords are important for your business and begin implementing them into your website, blog and social media.