Every day, millions of people use social media to connect with friends, family members, and — now more than ever — their favorite brands and businesses. Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are just the beginning. New platforms are constantly emerging, which means you must work hard to stay ahead of the game. Cultivating a presence through these sites creates a powerful image, effective means of communication and a more loyal customer base. Here are just a few of the many ways you can make social media work for your company.
Because you can gain — and lose! — so much with social media, it is important to go into it with a plan. First, identify your key objectives. Yes, you want to reach out to customers, but how do you plan to do this? For example, are you using the profile to drive traffic to your blog or website, or are you hoping to discover opportunities to develop new products? Will you position yourself as a useful resource by providing links to external content, or will you showcase original content? This should be determined in advance of your first post.
If you are a retailer or other e-commerce professional, think of your social media profile as a store window. You would never pile up a random selection of merchandise and a generic, tacky sign for your front window, would you? Of course not! Instead, you would ensure that everything was clearly labelled and included all appropriate information — anything that makes it easier for your customers to find what they are looking for. Online, this means providing images categorized and labelled neatly, proper spelling and grammar, current promotional details and an appealing presentation. Fill out all profile fields and label each post clearly. If needed, use location tags to identify your store or special event. The more detail, the more useful each element is in achieving your goals.
Your company can see serious returns on your social media efforts, but only if you can contribute consistently and in a way that is valuable to your audience. Someone — yourself or a designated employee — should take time to respond to as many comments and inquiries as possible, whether they are ultra-flattering or outright discouraging. Don’t provide a vague response; your audience deserves a professionally written, supportive answer.
To create a stronger connection between your online storefront, blog or website and your social media profiles, take advantage of the many widgets and buttons available. For example, you can install a button on your post or product description that allows your audience to share it with members of their respective networks. You might also consider offering an RSS feed that allows customers to access updated content without visiting your site. Provide links to these options through your social media profiles, as well as on your website.
As a businessperson, you want to reach out and connect with as many potential customers as possible. While social media isn’t a replacement for hard work and a human touch, it can be a significant asset to your brand — but only if you make a serious effort. Use the recommendations from this article as you begin to navigate the world of Facebook, Twitter and other hot social media platforms. When executed correctly, you can expect improved relationships with customers, more sales and a stronger brand identity.