Social media brings content to billions of visitors each month. If your business targets end-users, using Facebook and other social networks is a must in 2015.
Running out of ideas on how else you can put your business ‘out there’? When you’ve maxed out on the flyers, posters and tarpaulins, it’s time to focus your efforts on a less tangible but extremely effective medium – social media. More than just a platform to reconnect and stay updated about friends and families, social media channels are great opportunities to widen your marketing reach, create a bigger buzz about your company and have a 24/7 direct communication channel with your customers. Read below to know about some of the best tried-and-tested business-boosting social media strategies you can (and should!) exercise, stat.
Account Sign Up
Obviously, the first step to all of these is to sign up for your accounts. While you’ll have several social media accounts to manage, it’s best to use only one email address for all of these accounts so your notifications are consolidated. This saves time and allows you to check up on all of your social media accounts by just opening one email address. Make sure you sign up for the important ones – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. There are more social media sites out there, but start off with these four big ones because these are the most commonly used ones by almost everyone.
A micro tip on your account name: Don’t be stressed if your desired account name on Instagram or Twitter has already been chosen. This happens. A quick remedy is to simply attach a keyword to your brand name, such as ‘official’, ‘app’ or ‘shop’. Choose a word that’s quite general and easy to remember so your account name retains its professional feel instead of sounding like an individual’s personal account.
Now that you have all your accounts in place, the next step is to streamline your social media messages/communications accordingly. Use Facebook as your main social media control center that handles the bulk of information dissemination and customer service, but also use other options for specific objectives.
Upload mini-posters on sales and promotions as well as product photos on Instagram, use Twitter to churn out short, 160-character messages and make a detailed brand or company portfolio on LinkedIn, for example. While everything can and should be done on Facebook, keep in mind that there is still a customer base that is not as keen on having all social media accounts and might prefer only one or two. Ensuring that you are active or present in all guarantees you bring your products and services to that particular customer base’s newsfeed, whichever sole social media account they prefer.
Roll out the Promos and Contests
There’s so much gimmickry going on in the world of social media all in the name of getting as many likes as possible, but sifting among these ‘paid likes’ or ‘like for likes’ mumbo-jumbos will reveal genuine strategies that purposefully and naturally draw the crowd to your page. This includes holding promotions and contests. There’s no coercion involved, just mere invitations with a little something extra thrown in as a sign of your gratitude. From time to time, introduce promo codes, 24 hour flash sales, raffles and other promos and contests that just might be the push required for some customers to finally make that purchase.
However, don’t go overboard with this. It’s a great tool, yes – but use it far too frequently and you’ll have your customers wondering about the true value of your products. Devise a healthy rotation of discounts and promotions every month and vary the price slashes every now and then. New items that come in may be offered with a five percent off or a ‘three for two’ bundle; old items that are past the season can go on clearance. Sit down with your marketing team and come up with creative ways to offer a discount without making a dent into your sales or making customers feel like you are deliberately overpricing your wares because of too-frequent discounts.
A micro tip on sales: flash sales are awesome at creating a short-lived frenzy that makes people spontaneous and want to buy something right now because the thrill of a twenty-four-hour sale is too exciting to pass up. The unscheduled nature of flash sales give people less time to mull over whether or not they need a product, making them more open to acting on instinct and snag it before someone else does. As a general rule, do flash sales maybe once a month for stocks that have been sitting on the shelves for too long. This gives your product line-up a gentle push so there’s a little room for new introductions, too. You can go all-out and do fifty to eighty percent off sales on select items that have been bypassed over more popular options as the price range suddenly puts these items in a more attractive light.
Stir Up Some Sneak Peeks
Social media is a fantastic way to stir up some buzz on your upcoming products and services so that when you finally launch, you’ve already got some customers who are ready to hit that ‘Buy’ button ASAP. Share a few photos of campaign shoots on your next line that’s to come in a few weeks and hint at some great new offerings they should watch out for.
What’s also good about this is if you generate enough buzz and keep those keen customers on the watch, you can be sure they are setting aside a budget for whatever it is that you’re launching soon. One of the reasons why some stores don’t maximize the full potential of their sales is that they don’t time their product release properly or strategically; by the time their new offerings roll out, their customers have already bought something similar on other sites simply because they’ve gotten word on those other sites’ wares sooner.
Be an Informer
More than just selling your products or promoting your services, you need to think of how your business or industry can provide helpful tips that can improve the lives or routines of your clients. For example, if you’re in the business of fashion, suggest ways of how a particular shirt that can be purchased from your brand can be styled in a variety of ways, thus improving your product’s value for money and style mileage. If you sell food products, share how particular ingredients can be made into yummy but easy to prepare meals for busy moms who don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen. If you’ve got a super product that works wonders, show actual comparison photos of how effective it is on a variety of materials compared to other (lesser) options in the market.
More Micro tips!
And finally, here are some more micro but meaningful tips you ought to keep in mind regarding the use of social media sites and dealing with customers and followers online:
- Commit to comment. Simply put, do respond as soon as possible whenever queries or messages come in. When customers or followers make the initiative to use social media to get in touch with you, it means they trust that they will get a response through the same medium. If you fail in this, then what’s the point of setting up all these accounts if they don’t really cater to clients when it really does matter?
- Be “professional meets casual”. The language that you use must be professional enough to show others that they are dealing with experts and authority figures, but don’t be too formal. Inject a friendly casual vibe into your language by addressing your clients by their first name, using greetings such as “Hey there!” or ending your response with “Catch you at the store soon!”. Customers love a personal, friendly approach and it makes them feel at ease in your presence, whether in real life or through virtual means.
- Show some love. An attitude of gratitude always goes a very long way. Repost photos of clients using your products, give simple ‘thank you’ perks after every thousand likes (a simple 10% discount should be a good perk) and other little things that show your followers how much you appreciate their business and their support for your brand.
- Add something extra. Think of something that you can send with a particular batch of sold items for a day or week – a tiny keychain, a promotional sticker, a pencil with your company logo – and treat it as a little ‘something extra’ for your customers that week. Take a photo of these little extras and post them on social media with a caption such as “Our lovely customers get these limited edition stickers with every purchase made this week” to demonstrate how you treat or take care of your loyal clients.
It’s going to take some time…
… before you see the full return of interest on all the efforts you put on social media for your business. However, the key to success is consistency. If you maintain a certain level of busyness in your social media sites then it sends the message to customers that you do care and are willing to see to their concerns without them having to actually visit your shop. Don’t be surprised if pretty soon, queries to purchase online (if you still haven’t got this set up, which you should!) start pouring in!