Have you heard of this thing called, "Facebook"? And do you know what it means when someone "tweets" about a topic? Okay, we think we can safely assume you haven't been hiding under a big rock for several years and that the term "social media" is a familiar one. In fact, you probably have personal accounts of your own. Our real question then is, are you also using social media to market your business?
We understand you might be reluctant to leverage platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat ... et al as a way to promote your business. After all, this is where your teenager goes to share cat videos. Still, social media can be excellent tool for building your brand identity IF you follow a few basic rules:
- Limit Your Choice of Platforms - There are many, many social media platforms available, but narrow your choice to the one or two you will commit to using on a weekly-even daily-basis. (Remember, someone's going to have to monitor and manage your accounts because after all, this is a conversation.) Make your selection based on what's most popular with your target audience AND which will best allow you to convey your business communications (i.e. 140-character messages, a compelling photo, or detailed interaction).
- Stay Visible and On Message - Out-of-sight is out-of-mind, so you need to show up in your audience's feeds enough to remind them that you're around whenever they need you. But always make sure your messaging speaks to why they liked you in the first place. (For example, if you're a CPA, they might appreciate your tax tips.) Don't overdo the frequency of posting though. Too many can quickly get you "unfollowed."
- Offer Value to Your Social Media Community - People like to feel they are part of a community, and social media often fulfills this desire. But to really heighten their sense of belonging to something worthwhile, let your followers in on special events, exclusive offers or share informational resources that the general public can't easily get.
- Be Responsive, Thoughtful and Polite - Social media is a two-way street for communications. Anything you post may elicit a reply. At the same time, your customers want to use these platforms to get in touch with you. Keep in mind that what you say to them-and what they say to you-is visible to everyone else. Make it clear that you're interested in your customers' opinions and concerns by responding quickly to their queries and comments, and always do so in a respectful manner.
The bottom line is that you shouldn't be afraid of social media. These platforms offer an effective and genuine way to reach and stay connected with your customers ... and you can have fun doing it!