Love it, or hate it, social media is here to stay. If you’re a small business owner, you better learn to love it. See all those people engrossed in digital devices? They are known in the business world as “prospective customers.” It’s up to you to capitalize on their whole-hearted devotion to the social media community. Many small business entrepreneurs are taking to the task, but some are failing miserably. Here are a few social media fails that you must avoid on your way to connecting with customers:
• No website: It’s hard to believe in this day and age that a business might try to survive without a fully functioning and highly engaging website, but many small business owners go with the thought that, “My customers already know about me.” Apparently they don’t need new customers. The first step is to get a website; the next step is to make sure it works hard for your business. Use keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to make it easier for prospects to find you in their search results. Have a blog that starts a dialogue on topics of interest. Engage your visitors and ask them to do something – sign up for an e-newsletter or provide a review, for example.
• No Facebook page: The fact that Facebook is omnipresent is trumpeted widely in the media just about every day, but there are still a shocking number of small business enterprises that fail to take advantage of this free marketing opportunity. Starting a Facebook page is easy, but keeping it current can be a challenge. Like everything else, out of sight is out of mind, so you must have a plan to post something on your Facebook page at least twice a week, if not more. Talk about your products or services, tell a joke, share a quick video – just keep reminding prospects that you exist so they will remember your business when they need your product. And be prepared to respond if somebody comments on a post or asks a question.
• Using the hard sell: Older marketing and sales tactics were all about pushing the product. But today’s consumers, especially the Millennial Generation, want to be engaged in a relationship with the businesses they support. Don’t just use your social media platforms to talk about how great your business is. See them instead as a way of sharing information and educating your audience. Show them that you are knowledgeable in a specific area. If you give them the support they need to make a buying decision, they will come.
• Lack of personality: In an age of relationships, there is surprisingly little personality being shared. Let your prospects and customers get to know you a little, and they will feel more comfortable about doing business with you. Social media is the perfect place to post a quirky video or share information from other sources that you think can be helpful to your audience.