The majority of successful businesses use social media to gain and maintain customers or clients. This use has been steadily increasing since 2013, and will continue to rise as innovative social media platforms are conceived. There are benefits to using social media as a marketing tool, but it is not as easy as it seems.
Benefits of Social Networking
Specifically, social networking can be great for small businesses. People expect to see advertisements from large corporations, and they pay the big bucks to make sure those are seen, but small businesses can use social media as a tool to connect with their customers in a way large corporations cannot. Not to mention, social networking is affordable and can grow your customer base.
Have you ever gotten an automated response from a large company about a review or comment you left on social media? It might read something like this: “Thank you for your feedback, we will pass it on to our team.” You will never hear from them again. A small business has the ability to capitalize on this lack of customer service. A reply from a small business might read: “Thank you for your feedback. I will direct message you to learn more about X.” Then the employee, possibly even the owner, actually follows up and makes it right. This allows customers to feel connected and have an increased level of satisfaction with your business.
Obviously, social media apps are free. This makes them an affordable marketing tool. An investment you might need to make, which could be a one-time payment, might be in a social media consultant. This person could assist you in establishing your brand. He/she might tell you what types of posts will target your ideal customer, and what posts your current customers want to see. If you feel someone on your team is great with social media, consider adding “social media manager” to their title and giving them additional responsibilities. This is still an affordable option compared to other types of marketing.
Grows Customer Base
What you mainly want from potential customers is their email. This will ensure you can target their inbox on a regular basis with reminders and offers, but growing your email list needs to happen first. Social media is a great way to establish a list of customers or clients interested in your business. To get this list, you will need to offer something relating to your business your idea customers would want. This could be a free resource, coupon, etc. Once they accept the offer, they’ll need to give you their email address. You can then use this email to promote your business in a more targeted way than you can on social media.
Tips to Using Social Networking
While establishing a social media presence may seem like a full-time job, and it can be, there are tools you can use to automate the process. Eventually, your social media can run itself with some initial legwork and fine-tuning along the way.
You can automate your social media posts as well as your customer emails. This takes work to set up, and you’ll have to do it on a somewhat regular basis, but you won’t be concerned with what to post or email daily. What you can do is create batch-content. This means you’ll create multiple social media posts and/or emails all at once, and then use a social media planner to schedule when they are posted. Doing this for a few hours every quarter will save you the tedious time you might spend on it every day.
Once you’ve established your social media presence, continue to monitor the metrics to ensure your posts are reaching the ideal audience. Check how many people saw the posts and interacted with the posts. More importantly, see which ones your audience is interacting with the most. This will inform you about what kinds of posts to continue to create and which ones you need to either tweak or remove.
When considering establishing a social media base, it can be overwhelming. Consider seeking an expert in this area to assist you in your initial start-up.
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