Whether you are just starting out or an early stage start-up or even a small business who has just entered the game of social media, there is one things you must know, that is it is alright to start small. There are many social networking sites, but that does not mean that you have to be on all of them, it helps if you are not on all of them. Social media can be a time consuming affair for businesses but it is really important these days for a new venture. It helps in boosting search engine rankings, providing your brand a human voice and helping the customers to connect with the business owners. The following are social media tips for small businesses and the ones which are just beginning:
- Set goals
You have to set your social media goals for your business. Everything you do on social media has to be because it serves your goal. Goals for small businesses has to be for making money by selling. Your goals must be focussed on engaging, growing the business and building relationships and as a result sales will boost.
- Decide who are your target audience
You must decide upon your strategy. With limited time and probably limited content, you will have a specific audience whom you want to connect to. Generally teens use Snapchat, YouTube, Vine, Instagram etc, moms and wives generally use Pinterest, young parents and grandparents use Facebook, employees and leaders use LinkedIn and bloggers love Tumblr and Twitter. So keep these things in mind when you want to know your target audience and who you want to connect with and where.
- Getting personal
Social media is a place where you can genuinely engage with your consumers and when you stay connected and be loyal to them you will develop long term connection with them. You can promote your product deals using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook for sharing non-product related stories and visuals which will bring positive emotions up and will lead to sharing. You can also ask your customers to share their stories and views on the topics which are related to your industry. By doing so, your customers will feel more connected to you and your product and brand and will be inspired to buy your product.
- Self promotion constantly
Social media sites are not your passes to constantly ask people to sign up or buy your product and services. This is a place for maintaining relationships, influencing purchasing intent, building trust and for customer service. You must focus twenty percent of your content on directing self promotion and the rest on other content.
- Customer service is a priority
For many customers, a brand’s Facebook page or Twitter handle is their first resource for customer service. The last thing brands want is unhappy customers to share their negative experiences on social media with their friends and followers which can do more damage to your business. In order to avoid any negative impact on your brand you must solve your customer issues by responding to their queries and issues within 12 hours and provide an instant solution. If you are wondering you are a small business or have just started your company and you do not have this kind of service then you must invest in social media monitoring tools. When your customer shares a favourable experience, then you must re-hare it across your company’s social channels for your brand recognition.
- Strategy and content
You must share more than what you think. You need to think how you can use your content differently and the step to create new content. Think about reusing the press coverage you got and sharing it on social media, your brand photos which can be used in a new way, sharing your product or service photos on Instagram, creating branded graphics etc. You must think creatively and create posts which address issues, problems or interests which your consumers have related to your business. If you are low on budget and do not have any branded content which you can share with your customers, then it will be good for you if you start a blog. You can share interesting things such as how your products will be helpful in the real world, making of your products, client stories etc.
- Encourage feedback and comments
Social sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, UrbanSpoon are great for facilitating user reviews. It is a powerful tool which leverages social proofing for adding value and authenticating your business. Rating will improve your business. But not always will there be positive reviews. Bad ones must only be taken positively and seen as an opportunity to improve where you lack. You have to improve and show your followers that you are customer focused.
- Add online store
You can improve your reach online by further adding a shopping cart to your social media sites. This will help your customers to shop and purchase without having to leave their social networking site. You might also add a store to your WordPress blog or any other online site where you want to promote your products and services. These tools are mobile friendly and they adapt to any device, so this will provide an effortless shopping experience to your consumers.
- Start networking
You must first become a social media consumer if you want your customers’ hearts at social media. The good thing here is you can share things and you must do it often. You must set at least 15 minutes in a day for social media to read your feeds, respond to customer queries and other things. Irrespective of the network you use, you must always follow your influencers, marketers, experts, companies and publications belonging to your industry. You must like and share their posts or updates, re-tweet their articles, comment on their blogs and link to their content.
- Be active and stay connected
Your job is not complete by just creating a profile and then relaxing. You have to create regular and interesting content which aligns with your goals for engaging your customers and growing your overall value on social media channels. This can be easily done by adding new people, finding new influencers and engaging with your followers. This is different for different social networks. You must blend in with the different methods of engaging and optimize your goals in line with the social networking site you are using.