Social media is the shiny new marketing toy everyone wants to play with. As a small business owner you can see its potential for customer engagement and generating new leads.
But the fast-moving flow of social media can overwhelm time-strapped entrepreneurs and interfere with your focus on running the business. So we’ve pulled together a social media tip sheet to help you generate leads without becoming engulfed by the torrent of information.
- Keep it simple. Social media marketing requires time, resources, and skills – all things you need to use wisely. With the proliferation of social platforms, it’s virtually impossible to stay on top of everything. So focus your energy on two or three key channels where your customers already hang out. Share content that can be repurposed to suit the social channels you’re using for your brand: Twitter tweets can come from Facebook updates; Instagram images can become Facebook updates or Pinterest pins; blog posts can become LinkedIn articles, Twitter tweets, and Facebook updates.
- Curate your content. The goal is to engage customers and prospects with your brand. So shift your approach from “always be selling” to “always be helping” and reflect that in the content you share. A good rule of thumb is a 1:4 ratio of one piece of promotional content about your products or services to four pieces of useful/inspirational/entertaining content from others in your industry. Retweet, share and like the content that others produce if it’s relevant to your customers or the people you want to attract to your brand.
- Try alternative channels. Social media is just one way to engage customers and it’s one that requires consistently shareable content plus persistence in building followers. Meanwhile, traditional media like email and search engine marketing are still much more effective with less effort – especially if you use an automated platform like Vicinity, which offers text message and email tools that give you an easy way to reach out to your customers. We help you create your own Customer Relationship Management database full of customer emails, phone numbers, birthdays, and notes about product and service preferences so you can send specific messages to specific customer groups (e.g. customers who have a birthday in the current month, brand new customers, customers who haven’t visited for a couple of months, etc).
- Cultivate relationships. Social media can help you find passionate customers who are happy to spread the word about your business. Engage with these brand ambassadors on a personal level. Invite them to visit you and try a product or service at a discount. Reach out to bloggers – invite them to follow you by following them and sharing their content. Pass along news and information from influencers and advocates in your industry. Get involved with a cause that relates to your services, if you’re a spa – help underprivileged women, or support positive body-image advocacy.
Remember, whether you use Facebook or Instagram, email, snail mail, or text message to engage people, what matters most is that you stay connected with your customers.