Is my business ready for social media?

By Sarah Arrow

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Social media platforms offer a cost effective way for people to communicate online and interact with their favorite businesses and brands. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are among the most popular and most visited on the Web, and many of their users check their updates every day.

Here are ten signs you can use social media in your business to better connect with your fans and boost your business.

1. You love customer service

Social media channels  give your customers direct access to you. This gives you a chance to listen to what they have to say and learn how they feel about your business and your products. You’ll learn your  products’ strengths and weaknesses as seen by your customers and potential customers.  By being responsive to their needs and offering them access, social media will work wonders for your customer service.

2.  You want to stay on top of customer complaints

Social media platforms let your customers leave comments on how you’re doing. When they complain or critique your business practices, you not only get valuable feedback, but also a chance to reply and repair your image in their eyes. When this is found by future customers completing their research about your product, they’ll see how professional and responsive you are. Resolving customer complaints via social media can really boost your reputation.

3. You need to share real-life customer stories

There’s nothing more powerful than sharing your social proof; it helps establishing your company’s expertise. Social media gives you lots of opportunities to get real, live and kickin’  testimonials. If a customer shares a review on You Tube, share it on other social media sites. ReTweet bloggers who review your products and leave them a comment. Positive reviews from your customers can be seen instantly by anyone who accesses your profile or theirs, so make the most of the exposure in that niche.

4. You can easily get your employees involved

You can use your social media sites for idea development, brainstorming. Give your employees a platform where they can share their ideas; a Facebook group is perfect for this. If your employees use your product, set up a Flickr channel so they can share their images or a collaborative Pinterest board. You can also use it to keep in touch, offering newsletters, updates and employee incentive programs, whatever you decide, make it a two way conversation as your staff can be your biggest business advocates.

5. You want to use it to boost customer loyalty

You can use your profile to run your customer loyalty programs by offering incentives and rewards. Everything can be done through your favourite social media channel so you don’t need to deal with any more membership cards or stamps; maybe I am the only one old enough to remember green shield stamps? Tonnes of loyalty stamps, no idea what they were for….

6. You want to attract new business

Your social media presence gives you free advertising on the world’s biggest message board. People can find your profile through Web searches and their friends’ profiles. This is a great way to attract new customers. That doesn’t mean you should be sending a sales message every 10 seconds; it means you should be active. If you are active, you’ll be found by your ideal customers – they are attracted by the conversation.

7. You want to get to know your market better

Social media makes it extremely easy to learn about your target market. You can find out exactly who enjoys your products and services, as well as find out what else they like. Companies have spent millions in marketing research to gather this information using focus groups and surveys. Now on social media sites you’ll see your customers and potential customers sharing this information freely. All you need to do is invest a little time and effort.

8. You need to reinforce your brand message

Every company has a brand message, like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’. You should use your social media presence to reinforce your brand message and what your business  stands for. The message can be simple yet powerful; Nike show images of people running with motivational quotes. Think about what images represent your company and then start sharing them. If you want to read more about using images, Images That Influence is a Kindle guide (co-authored with Lilach Bullock) and all the proceeds from the book go to Our Girls.

9. You want to connect everything

By integrating your social media sites with your blog or website, you can generate more traffic and leads. Widgets and apps allow you to link everything together for maximum exposure. BUT. That was a big but, wasn’t it? Widgets and apps can slow your sites down, so think carefully what time you can spend on a social site. If you are not going to at the very least monitor the site, then don’t advertise your presence there. Don’t make your main website grind to a halt with all your social icons; advertise where you are active the most.

10. You are using multimedia to win business

Most social media sites have multimedia applications. You can make a welcome video showing what your company is all about on your Facebook page, or offer a regular podcast to your customers. These help by branding your company and giving it a more personal touch, as well as sharing really useful information. Remember – really useful information gets shared and shared often, introducing you to new customers.

The most important thing to remember about social media is that people don’t use these sites to shop. No one logs into Twitter or Facebook thinking hmm, I wonder what I can buy today…. Do you? They use them to socialise, share common interests, and generally hang out.

Make your page an interactive place where they can get involved and spend time. This keeps your brand in the forefront their mind and whenever they’re ready to buy, they’ll come to you. Which is exactly what you want.

 Sarah

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Sarah Arrow

Kick Ass Blogger at Sark eMedia
Blogging an issue for you? Social media not quite working how it should be?That's okay I understand. I started blogging back in 2006 and grew into a kick-ass blog coach as well as creator of Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), I'm frequently listed as both a top content marketing expert and as an influential marketer.
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