How To Successfully Market Your Business Over Social Media
Social Media has rapidly spread into the lives of hundreds of millions of people over the past few years and continues to flourish. Facebook has roughly 750 million users who spend nearly 700 billion minutes per month on its site, while Twitter adds nearly 500,000 new users per day (according to Jeff Bullas, a digital marketing and social media consultant). It is no mystery that social media and digital marketing hold enormous potential and can greatly benefit small businesses now, and in the future.
So, while there are millions of Facebook and Twitter pages, not many have strong interactive followings. Celebrities and premier athletes may have huge followings, but how should a small business approach social media? Here are a few simple ways to better your company page and increase its effectiveness.
Stand Out/Be Memorable
- A business fan page on Facebook allows your customers or fans to “like” your business and receive your updates via their news feed every time they log in.
- So, create a unique persona. This is not as hard as it sounds as there are lots of ways to stand out. For example, if a flower shop has an interesting logo or a unique flower they are known for; they should exploit this quality to make themselves stand out. Take Experian as an example. The FreeCreditScore band that we introduced in commercials and via social media years ago provides tremendous recognition and awareness to our target consumer audience. With FreeCreditScore.com fan pages on Facebook and Twitter, consumers engage with us and with each other generating greater loyalty and engagement. The feedback from our social media followers was so great that it even influenced us to bring back the original band (coming back 6/18/12). Effectively engaging your customers through social media may help drive you marketing and product decisions as well.
- Take risks. Although the FreeCreditScore band is sometimes goofy and unorthodox, they are a highly recognizable symbol for the professional quality and premier service Experian’s personal credit scoring and identity services offer. Social media is a way to let your customers experience a different side of you than they would see in traditional media.
- Word of Mouth continues to be one of the most important methods for small businesses to promote themselves. Yet most business owners say finding ways to drive word of mouth is one of their most difficult marketing tasks. Social Media presents an ideal opportunity in this area.Twitter’s popularity is growing rapidly, and many small businesses have already jumped on board. Businesses can use Twitter to push brief messages to their ‘followers’ or for customer service. When customers like what you wrote, they ‘retweet’ your message to their followers, reply to it and create a dialogue with you, or favourite a tweet to show they liked your message. A great tweet can be sent again and again and again, increasing your audience many times over.
- So, find a way to engage your customers. For instance, Experian has also used the FreeCreditScore band as an entertaining twitter channel. Responding to followers remarks and getting them to interact with each other is a great way to spread your message. For example, when the FreeCreditScore band performs live, this creates a perfect opportunity to invite followers to attend the outing or post about it on our page later. All of this benefits Experian. So, whether it’s connecting with a community cause, creating your own event, or running a special at your store, you should broadcast it over social media because of amazing viral word of mouth effect.
Ask Questions/Create Incentives
- Asking questions can be an effective technique to engage your customers and begin a dialogue. “Who wants a free copy of the next bestseller arriving in my bookstore Monday? Retweet this message and it could be you!” gets your posts spread across Twitter for many people to see, adding value to your small business page.
- Asking for feedback can also be an effective way to build a larger following. Posting statuses or tweets such as “Does anyone think I should run a contest to design my new store sign?” gives the intended audience a sense that your business cares about consumer’s thoughts and opinions, and lets them know their voice is being heard. The more responses you receive, the more “buzz” you are generating about your business and creating excitement about what will come in the future.
- Offering incentives is a tried and true marketing tactic. Many social media users even expect businesses to make them a special offer. One great advantage of extending offers through social media is you can now use your customer’s networks to spread that offer. For example, posting “The first 10 people to like this tweet will get a free pizza at our grand reopening this Saturday” creates a buzz that can be contagious and will get followers keeping their eyes open for your posts in the future. Recipients will forward to their friends so that they can take advantage of the offer.
There is no doubt that creating and sustaining an engaging business page on Twitter or Facebook can pay huge dividends and put you on the right track. Good luck!
Citations MLA Format
“20 Stunning Social Media Statistics Plus Infographic.” Social Media Marketing and Blogging. Web. 05 June 2012. <http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/09/02/20-stunning-social-media-statistics/>.
“3 Ways to Supercharge Fan Engagement on Facebook.” Entrepreneur. Web. 05 June 2012. <http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223701>.