Because so many people use social media, there are tons of guides and ebooks about how businesses can benefit from this trend. While there's no denying the fact that social media presents an amazing opportunity for businesses, the problem with many of these guides and ebooks is they treat social media like it's some kind of "get rich fast" solution.
Anyone who thinks that they can bring in a flood of new customers by spending a few hours on Facebook or Twitter is going to be very disappointed. As with any channel that can actually help a business, social media is not an overnight solution. However, if you're willing to invest your resources into it, the payoff can be quite substantial.
Since a strong social media presence for your business is something you have to cultivate, here are three tips for making the most of the time and resources you invest;
Listen First: Many business owners think they should sign up for a Twitter account and then start blasting out updates about their business. In reality, one of the most compelling features of Twitter is being able to "listen" to potential customers in real-time. Not only can you find out what they think, but you can also engage with them. The best way to keep up with this type of activity is to use a free tool like Monitter or Social Mention.
Be a Giver: Just because you're keeping up with relevant conversations on Twitter does not mean that you want to bombard the people who are having them with a canned promotional response. If you are going to use Twitter and other social media platforms to reach out to potential customers, make sure you actually help them solve a problem.
The reason this distinction is so important is because no one likes to be the recipient of a cookie-cutter marketing message. However, what people do like is having their lives made easier by successfully eliminating a problem that has been plaguing them. By making this one of your primary social media goals, you will be very happy with the response that you get from potential customers.
Be Responsive: When you first start building a social media presence for your business, it will primarily be you initiating conversations with current and potential customers. However, as your presence increases, both of these groups of customers will begin coming directly to you through these channels.
When that occurs, the worst thing you can do is take forever to respond or completely forget to get back to someone. While this is the ideal opportunity for you to win a customer over, neglecting it can have the opposite effect.
Even though this may sound like a lot to manage, it's really not that difficult once you commit to it. Since customers aren't going to expect an immediate response from a small business at 3 in the morning, the main thing is to keep up with any questions or messages you receive during the day. Since any social network you use will allow you to have notifications sent to your inbox, you'll find that you are able to provide prompt responses without any issues.
What social media platforms are currently the most important for your business?
About The Author
Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.
Posted on Mon, March 5, 2012
by Brian Waraksa filed under