As noted in the 2015 Small Business Success Study, 37% of the entrepreneurs surveyed use social media to respond to customer feedback, and it is likely that this figure will increase dramatically in the coming years. Online and social are clearly the marketing strategies for the entrepreneur in the know, but what if you aren’t as marketing savvy as your colleagues? How can you take advantage of this universally available, cost-effective marketing medium? Here are a few social media strategies to help boost your small business sales:
• Know Your Audience: Before jumping right in, spend a little time talking to your current customers. Ask them what social media platforms they prefer to communicate on, and then become knowledgeable in that area. It’s no sense becoming a Twitter pro if most of your customers prefer Facebook.
• Have a Plan: Don’t just jump right in with both feet without looking first at what you want to do. Think about how you are going to use social media, know what you want to say, understand how it fits into your sales funnel, and be prepared to engage with prospects and customers.
• Be Audience Appropriate: There is a difference between business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing in social media, and even sub-divisions within those broad categories. A business clientele might prefer an informative social media strategy that offers quick tips about how your product or service can help their business grow. A younger consumer demographic, on the other hand, might be more interested in pithy commentary or funny videos that portray unusual ways customers use your product.
• Think Ahead: One thing that keeps most entrepreneurs from engaging in an active social media communications strategy is the fear of sitting down in front of a computer screen with nothing to say. Instead of paying attention to the marketing strategy, it somehow becomes easier to attend to other duties. Before you know it, it’s been three months since your last message and business has started to drop. Have a plan mapped out for the year so that all you need to do is sit down and send out the appropriate messages.
• You Don’t Have to Do All the Work: Get your audience involved. Ask them to share, answer questions, and post photos or product reviews. If you have a blog you can ask a guest columnist to provide some insights on your product or industry that might be of interest to your target demographic.
• Make It Easy to Share: Add buttons that make it easy for readers to share your content. This gets your message out to an even wider audience.
• Build an Audience: Think of ways to drive prospects and customers to your social media pages. Promote it in your store or office, have your sites listed on your printed correspondence and emails, and include it in any advertising.
• Ask for Business, Testimonials and Referrals: Many satisfied customers are happy to help you. Ask them for referrals and testimonials.