Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Bloggr, Instagram, MySpace (whoa, that’s a blast from the past), LinkedIn, Google+…..aaargh!
The list goes on, and it can be a headache trying to sort out even one functioning social media account. However if you’re a small business, the rewards for doing so could be great.
Here are 6 things to keep in mind when it comes to social media.
We know how important digital is. A homepage is a ‘must’ and people react with shock and disbelief if they type in the name of a shop they know and get nothing. In our info-greedy world many people, us included, like doing some research, before we choose where to go and part with money and time. And frankly – a shop with no digital traces will struggle to get remembered amongst the others that do. This is where social media comes in.
Although there are several tools and templates out there to facilitate this, you efforts may be better spent setting up a facebook page or a twitter account for your business. This way you can reach your customers directly and communicate with them – something your average homepage can never do as well. Use your social media presence to reach out to customers, to create a brand identity, and to keep customers informed about new products, offers, staff changes or simply everyday musings – although we’d suggest keeping it mainly on topic.
The pitfall of a social media page is a lack of focus. Depending on what your business is like, we recommend setting up a separate account/page for this, rather than mixing it with a personal one. This is an easy option, and you can even involve other people to do it on your business’ behalf, freeing up more time for you to deal with the actual business of running a business. The key to get social media working is consistency and engagement. For Facebook, a start could be to post 3 times a week. It may also help to categorise your posts, to make it easier to stay on topic. This could for instance be – Monday – New products, Thursday – News from the shop, and Friday – Offers/Discounts. This also gives your customers a sense of what to expect from you.
Make sure you think of what you post from your customers point of view. Why are you posting it? What is the value of it? Will it tell me (the customer) something new, or useful? We find that an informative approach works well. Establish yourself as knowledgeable and experienced in whichever sector you’re in, and use social media to share this. For example, a children’s clothes shop could do a post on Facebook about ‘Our fab range of shirts makes it easy for the boys this party season’ or ‘Every little girl dreams about her birthday..we have the perfect gift’.
When you post, give half a thought to style and language. Make sure it is suited to your company and reflects your business. Ask questions to engage, and respond to all your comments. Use your social media page to be easily approachable and accessible to your customer.
For most small businesses, one working social media page will be sufficient. Two gives you a broader audience but if you are unsure about how to manage them, don’t worry.
We suggest starting with something you know. Do you already have a private Facebook profile that you use? Great – now create a page for your business. Let your customers know you have a page, and invite them to like it. For twitter you can set up a separate account alongside your personal one. Twitter is great to reach new people, as you can simply follow them to notify them of your presence, and generally they will follow you back (the unspoken norms of twitter). A great way of getting your brand out there.
If your sole digital presence is via social media, make sure you add relevant information such as location, contact details, menu (if applicable), pictures of your shop and your products. This helps new customers figure out what you do. You will want people to understand, instantly, what your business is about.
By setting up a social media account in your business’ name you also make sure an internet search for your shop is rewarded with a relevant and informative result for whoever’s looking. Take advantage of this – this is where you can create your ideal first impression of your business. Your social media account should focus on what your business does, and should be updated regularly with relevant content. It doesn’t have to be every day – start with a few times a week if you’re unfamiliar with it. Once you get the hang of it, and your customers know you’re there you can step it up as you wish.
It takes minutes to set up, minutes to do an update, and means you’re more attractive and approachable to both existing and new customers. Get social now and give your business a boost!
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