Now more than ever, businesses have the opportunity to engage with customers and potential customers in much more effective ways. This is mostly in part to the world’s attention and focus on social media in its many forms. A company that doesn’t utilize this popular avenue for connecting with customers is missing out on a lot more than just sales. Customer retention and loyalty are two things that every company should strive for when utilizing social media.

Social Media’s Part in Achieving These Goals

One of the best things a business can do to make the most of social media marketing is connect with people in the social media arenas they are most using. Just having a profile isn’t enough. Making sure that profile is active and engaging and visible on the top social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler and Pinterest, to name a few, gives consumers who are using those venues a place to contact you, see what you’re up to and to learn about you on a deeper level.

Consumers develop relationships with those companies that show that they have a heart and soul. And those relationships convert into customers that wouldn’t consider going anywhere else to do their business. Responsive social media profiles draw people to them. When they know you care and they feel like they have a voice you want to hear, loyalty and retention are on its way to you.

How to Use Social Media for Your Business

Using social media to increase sales and reach marketing milestones is not difficult per se, but it does require consistency and attention to what is going on with your social media pages. Just having the profiles up won’t do anything. If consumers go to an inactive profile page, that can actually leave a negative impression in their minds. Below are two of the larger social media venues and how best to utilize them to reach your marketing goals.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most active social media venues available to you. There are many ways that you can use your Facebook page to connect with your customers and build a good relationship with them as well as drive them and others to your site.

Post on a regular basis – people love updated websites and they feel the same about Facebook pages as well. If you make sure to add a new post to your Facebook page NO LESS than 3-5 times per week, and the posts you add bring value to your consumers in some way, you will have them coming to your page to see what‘s new there.

Interact with page visitors – One of the most important things you can do to reach your marketing goals is to let your potential customers and existing customers know that you hear them and that you’re there to answer their questions and make their experience with your company a positive one. Ensuring that you answer any questions people have left for you, or thanking them for compliments or positive things they say about your company shows them that you’re paying attention and you’re really there. Even if the comments are negative in nature, be certain to address them right away in a positive, helpful way. This will rebuild trust that may have been damaged and show others that you care about things that go on with your company.

Don’t just try to sell – Even though the goal of every business is to increase sales, you don’t want to look like all you’re after is the sale. Post after post of “buy this” is a big deterrent to consumers and they will stop coming to your page. Make your posts interesting, engaging, and relevant to what they are looking for. Advertising sales and promotions is fine, but don’t make that the foundation of your posts.

Twitter

Twitter is one of the most misused forms of social media when it comes to business. Either followers are spammed with nothing but sales notifications and promotions, or nothing goes on at all. Twitter can be an excellent venue for driving people to your website, but the idea is to post interesting content that will make them want to check out your site.

If you’re posting “tweets” as they are called, that are unique, interesting and add value to the consumer’s life in some way, then they are going to want to check you out further and that means going to your website.

Follow the 80/20 rule – Only about 20% of your total posts need to be sales related. The rest needs to be relevant but valuable information that gets them looking at your profile and ideally, sharing and re-tweeting your content to their followers. Retweets are the high real estate of the Twitter world. This is what can make content go viral. The more retweets you have, the more your reach extends.

Don’t spam your followers – Even good content can be considered spam if it’s showing up in the feed every few minutes. A good rule of thumb to follow is to tweet no more than once per hour, but ideally, 5-10 times a day is fine as long as it’s good content. Because of the nature of Twitter, if you only tweet once a day, you’re going to very likely get lost in the sea of tweets that others are posting. If you are posting things that people love to see (humorous quotes and inspirational quotes seem to be two of the most popular tweets that get shared with others) when they see your name pop up in their feed, they’ll automatically look to see what you have posted.

Pictures on Twitter? Yes!! – Even though Twitter is mostly about 140 character tweets, pictures added to those tweets can add a lot of value to the posts and can encourage retweeting. Keep in mind that the picture link will take up some of the characters of your tweet.

There are many other social media venues, but it is not necessary to be on ALL of them. The best goal to shoot for is to perfect and increase participation in a few of the most popular ones and once those are going strong, add another and so on. Having 10 social media venues that are non-engaging or poorly kept is much more detrimental to the company’s reputation than having 2 or 3 that are hugely popular and active.

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