There are certain people that just aren’t any fun to talk to. I can think of a few. They are the people who only call you they need a favor, or salespeople who call constantly, trying to sell you something after you’ve told them “no” repeatedly. And then there are the people at networking events who can only seem to talk about themselves. I’ve got news for you. If you are using social media marketing purely for business promotion, you may be one of those people.
Yes, social media marketing is a great way to promote your business and boost sales. But, the real strength of social media marketing for a small business is in its ability to build and engage a community around your brand. It can help you to create a small army of raging, loyal fans of your business. And who doesn’t want that?
Like anything else, it takes time, but if you remember a few simple rules, you will be on your way.
Give people a reason to follow you.
Think about what it is about your closest friends that makes you enjoy spending time with them. Maybe they are funny or they have a special way of making you feel good about yourself. Maybe they always seem to have something interesting or exciting to talk about. Those same qualities can be found in the people and businesses that are doing it right in the realm of social media.
Post useful content.
Use your social media accounts to deliver timely, interesting and useful information for your fan base. Develop and post content that generates conversation among your followers. For example, if your business sells baby products, post a link to the list of this year’s hottest baby names, stay updated and let your fans know about the latest baby product recalls, and link to articles about hot topics for expectant moms. If you’re an expert in your field, share your expertise and knowledge to the benefit of your followers.
Get your fans involved.
Post a survey. Hold a contest. Ask them for feedback. Give them a reason to get engaged in the conversation.
Make them feel special.
If you want to build a loyal online community, make your fans and followers feel valued. Offer special coupons or discounts or share some insider information about something exciting happening in your business. Interact with your fans and followers whenever possible. Get back with customers quickly if they post a question or even a complaint. Provide the same level of customer service that they would expect if they walked into your store.
Follow an 80/20 rule for social media marketing.
Too much promotion can be a turn off. Use an 80-20 formula: 80 percent useful, non-promotional content, 20 percent business promotion.
Research best practices.
One of the best ways to get better at social media marketing is to watch what other successful businesses are doing and apply some of those best practices to your efforts. Do some research. Look at the social media marketing efforts some of your favorite brands and local businesses are putting out there. Check out your competition. Find best practices and start putting them to work for you.