4 Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners
January 14, 2015 Leave a comment
Owning a small business is no easy feat. There’s the daily transactions to worry about, meeting staffing needs, and of course, wondering how to afford advertising. Thankfully,social media is a great tool for the small business owner.
Free tools, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ can help you reach a vast customer base. However, it’s not enough to just join a social network and hope the people will come to you. Small business owners need to have a social strategy and they need to put thought into online interactions. Recently, Frank Eliason at Comcast shared four factors that can help the small business owner use social media.
1. Be Remarkable
The first step that Eliason gave for small business embracing social media is to be remarkable. In a fast-paced world, especially online, standing out can be difficult. The key is to be different. The same things that make you unique in person are the things that will make you unique in social media, so it can be helpful to share those with your online audience.
Consider the following when deciding how to be remarkable:
- Let your customers’ words do the talking for you. It’s word-of-mouth advertising at its best.
- Just like they would do in person, your employees can go the extra mile online. Be on top of customer service questions that get asked on Facebook or be available to interact online with your customers.
- Your content will be what makes you stand out. Make sure it is interesting, credible and relatable.
Being remarkable requires more than simply having a presence. It’s about conveying how you are different from the competition.
2. Listen to Your Customers Everywhere, Not Just in Social Media
The success of every business owner comes down to good customer service. Validate customer concerns, honestly listen to them and consider their suggestions for building a better customer experience. Your customer is your lifeline, so keep them happy. By listening and then putting your existing resources to work, you can develop new, powerful and profitable ways of doing business. You may want to consider the following:
- Focus groups. Gather a few customers together and ask them questions. Let them review a new product or get their feedback on a new pricing structure.
- Ask for feedback. One thing many small business owners forget is to simply ask for feedback, which can give you some insightful information. Whenever you feel it’s worthwhile, send an email or ask customers to fill out a questionnaire.
- Search for your business name. Social media provides an outlet for people to be bolder than they would in person. If a customer has a bad experience, they may be going online to talk about it. To gain this kind of insight, search all social platforms to find out what customers are saying about you and your business.
3. Engage with Your Customers
Using social media is about building relationships with your customers. Interact with your customers, get to know them, and let them get to know you. Some ideas to help engage with your customers include:
- Have a community presence. Establish yourself in the online communities where your customers are already gathered. You could join industry forums or message boards.
- Join a larger conversation. Joining communities or sites of larger brands is a great way to get insight into your customers’ way of thinking.
- Learn about competitors. Observing your competition can help you learn a lot about customers. Concentrate on the buzz around campaigns or promotions to help you know how to better serve your customers.
4. Make it Easy for Your Customers to Have Conversations About Things Important to Them
When it comes to engaging and interacting, it’s all about what the customer finds interesting. Keep in mind that one customer can make a big difference, so you want to listen to all the conversations happening out there, good or bad. For example, Molly Katchpole protested against Bank of America’s $5 fee and it caught on. Just one customer complaint led to a public relations nightmare for Bank of America. Being involved and making it easy for customers to have conversations with you can help prevent these kinds of problems. Some ways to create conversations may include:
- Be proactive. Get out there and create the conversation before someone else does. Talk about speaking engagements you may be involved in, customer reviews, or the process behind your product.
- Interview customers. You can easily interview a few customers about their experience with your store or brand. Post that interview on social media and you may see an increase in submitted testimonials.
- Create videos. A video is a fun and interactive way to get a conversation started. Make a video about your employees, your design process, or how your company contributes to the community. There are many ideas for fun videos that your customers will enjoy.