Most small business owners today know it’s important to have a social media presence for their companies. However, few are good at understanding the methods to successfully building customer loyalty through their social accounts. Social media is often just one more burden on their already heavy plates, and there’s not a lot of time in hectic schedules to research trends in social media marketing.
Oftentimes, businesses slap up a Facebook page or create a Twitter account and assign it to a junior staffer, intern, relative, or worse: A busy manager who’s already saddled with a long list of tasks. (Read our blog on when to outsource social media)
Don’t let social media be an afterthought! By doing it right, you can not only boost business, but nurture a community of devoted clients who will become repeat customers and help spread the word among their friends, fans, and followers. Here are a few tips to consider.
Create a Strategy
To get the most from social media, it’s essential to create a strategy that includes consistent posting and a unique voice and look.
Don’t randomly post or only when you have something to promote — be a part of your followers’ regular intake of social media. Posting at least a few times a week, if not daily, is essential and helps keep your company top of mind. Use industry guidelines and your own analytics to find out when your followers are online so you have a better chance to reach them.
Your social media should mirror your brand, and not just the color scheme, logos, fonts, but your voice and how you make people feel. If you’re an academic expert, you want a tone that reflects your scholarship and authority. If you own a fast casual restaurant, you’ll want a tone that expresses entertainment and value. Make sure your graphic design falls in line with your voice — different fonts and colors convey and evoke different emotions.
One of the biggest mistake small businesses make on social media is not responding to comments and messages. If you don’t reply promptly when someone asks how long a special runs, whether you take reservations for parties of four, or have curbside pickup, they probably already moved on to a competitor.
Moreover, responding to comments helps customers feel like you value them. They interact on social media to feel like they’re part of something greater, not just a commodity.
A quick “Thank you for your support!” is fine if they leave a compliment, but if they are critical, make sure a senior level employee or manager makes time to reach out and understand the nature of their concern and address it. Responding to criticism is so important we wrote an entire blog about it. Short replies and emojis can be misunderstood, so think carefully before responding.
Engage with Followers
If you’re a stand-up comedian, communication goes one way: Out to the audience. They don’t need or want your input. But on social media, it’s important to engage with your followers and give them a reason to keep viewing your page. Make sure to read followers’ comments and reply to them.
Again, be cautious not to cross any lines! You want to share, but don’t overshare by giving too much personal information or opinions, especially on controversial topics. Unless your business is specifically related to a controversial topic, stay away from posts about hot-button issues.
Set Up Rewards
Using social media to reward people for following your accounts and sharing your posts and information is a huge benefit, but one that many small business owners can overlook.
You can harness it to post special offers that aren’t advertised anywhere else. Ask followers to share posts and tag friends. And use social media for your loyalty and rewards programs, such as giving discounts and freebies. Of course, always follow the terms of service (TOS) as outlined by the platform for any promotional campaigns.
As you can see, it takes time, effort, experience, and skill to get the most out of your social media accounts. Here at AZ Media Maven, we have a team dedicated to helping build your business online. Contact us today for a quote.
AZ Media Maven is based in Laveen, AZ, a suburban village in the greater Phoenix area. Owner Rose Tring has more than 30 years of journalism experience as an editor and writer, many of those years in business news. AZ Media Maven was created in 2012 to serve other business owners in learning how to best use social media and to provide affordable public relations services. Reach AZ Media Maven by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling (602) 373-8371.