So, what do I do on social media? What’s the point?
Now, the question is: what the heck do I do on these social media sites?
Let’s take a look.
1. Increase loyalty by showing the real you
People become loyal to other people, not brands. If you run a pizza shop you can spend time on Twitter talking about your passion for pizzas and your history with the pizza making art. You can talk about your quest for finding the right ingredients and interact with other people who have similar passions.
Social media is a fantastic way to break down the barriers of facelessness. By showing your potential customers the people behind the business you are giving yourself a chance to be different from all the other competition. They will become loyal to you.
Showing people the real you means:
- Using your own voice
Don’t try and come up with some corporate character. Just talk as if you were talking to your mates at lunch or a long term client in your store.
- Being honest
Honesty is really important as people can sense whether you are stretching things. Remember, it is about connections.
The more chances you give people to see the real you the more loyal they will become.
2. Get badly needed feedback
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook provide you with a really good way of getting feedback. Its almost like its an online survey. Want to know how people felt about their dining experience in your cafe? Go on Facebook and ask them.
This takes some bravery because you have to be prepared for negative feedback. But negative feedback is so important because it helps you improve your services. And that leads me to the next one.
I once sent a Tweet out complaining about my mobile phone service. Within an hour they had rung me up and given me a new phone for free to apologize as well as switching me to a better reception provider. This would never happen before social media because companies weren’t afraid of our networking influence. Now they are.
3. Answer and address complaints quickly
Big companies like Belgacom, Telenet, Vodafone, Australia Post, etc. are now all using Twitter to handle complaints. Part of this is damage control, part of it is an improvement on customer relations. What do I mean by this?
Well, the thing you have to realize is that social media is here to stay. If you do something bad to a client they are going to talk about it on Twitter. So you can either ignore it and let the reputation grow or you can jump on and help people move on. Give them freebies, apologize sincerely and invite them back.
It is very important to be seen to be addressing complaints on social media sites.
4. Create amazing incentives
One of the best ways small businesses can use social media is by offering incentives to get people in the door.
Let me tell you an example of how it works. Let’s say you are a pizza joint and you want to get more people in the door. What you can do is put up a sign in your shop telling people that if they check in on Facebook they will get 5% off their bill.
For a few euros you have just got a review to several hundred people. All of that customer’s friends will see that they are at your pizza joint and the chances are they will add a comment like “great pizza”. The next time those friends are thinking about pizza they might just remember that little reference.
Incentives can be really simple or they can be complex and more rewarding. But don’t be afraid of giving away free stuff to people because it will come back to you in droves.
5. Capitalize on and boost your word of mouth marketing
The previous point ties in very closely with this one – social media can help you massively grow your word of mouth marketing.
In its most basic form, if you don’t have a website or Facebook page or Twitter account then how are the millions of people on those platforms going to make reference to you? They can’t.
If you do nothing else at all, at least have a website and a Facebook page set up so people can point to something when they are talking about you to their friends.
6. Share photos to increase location and product awareness
If you have a business with a physical location then uploading a gallery of photos on Facebook can be an excellent way to introduce people to your location. If you have a physical product you can do the same – upload photos and show people what they are getting or how it is made.
As you are probably realizing, social media for small business is all about making meaningful connections with people. By sharing photos you are breaking down “web barriers” and reminding people that you are around and your product is really really good.
7. Grow your mailing list
Internet marketers say that a mailing list of 10,000 subscribers is worth at least €100,000 a year to your business. With that in mind, you need to use social media to start capturing as many loyal and engaged email subscribers as possible. Here are some reasons why:
- You can promote new products
Imagine selling a widget to a young lady for €50. You get her email address and then the next time you have a widget sale you email her and all the other widget lovers. You instantly boosted your sales for free.
- You can promote events
Got an event or a lunch coming up? Email your list.
- You can get help
Need help from your loyal customers promoting a new product or perhaps a new store location? Just ask.
If you can direct your social media activities so that you capture email subscribers you will be setting your business up for a lot of success in the future.
8. Hold contests to increase your following
Facebook contests are really big nowadays. It basically consists of giving away some really cool prize in order to attract more Facebook followers and get the word out about your business.
You have to be careful though as some contests are against the terms of service and can get your page banned. Research is important.
When holding a contest you should make sure that you have a really nice prize (worth at least hundreds of euros) and an entry method that is exciting and simple.
Here is an example of a Facebook location-based contest run by Coca Cola in Israel. As the video shows, the outcome was pretty amazing.
Of course, your campaigns don’t have to be this epic. But it does give you some ideas. For example, you might want to give anyone who checks in to your cafe a free coffee. That word will start to spread.
9. Study, study, study
There are so many clever people out there doing incredible things with social media. It is important to study them.
If you are a small business is can be tempting to think that you are all alone trying to learn yet another skill. So make it easy on yourself. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Go out and study some of the businesses that are getting things really right.