Engage Customers with Social Media
It’s no surprise that social marketing is an effective way to get in front of both new and existing customers. Social media is the place for connecting and staying engaged with your current clients and potential new clients. The best part of social media for a new business is the price, it’s absolutely free to start. Down the road, it may make sense to run paid advertisements in these areas but to start building your audience and communicating it is completely free.
Sign up for every mainstream service, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. You will find that different parts of your audience live in and on different social networks. Even if you aren’t interested in being active on a particular social network, still sign up and reserve your company’s name. Maybe one day you will change your mind. As you spend time on each social network you’ll quickly learn from feedback from your customers where they’re seeing your posts and where your time is best spent. Social networks may or may not be a place for you to find new customers. In time you will find that out. Regardless, social media will definitely be a place where you can continue to engage with and get attention from your current customers to make sure that your customers and potential customers are thinking of you and you are top of mind for them. Ask your customers what social networks they enjoy and where they spend their time. You want to be where your customers are.
Connect with as many real people as possible on social media. Make sure to get all of your friends, friends of friends, your relatives, and your relative’s friends to like and follow you on as many platforms as possible, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You never know which one of these people will connect you to your next customer or perhaps help you find your next rock star employee. Bring the human element into social media. Of course, post business-related items about your products, services, etc. Also, keep in mind people tend to connect better to feelings than simply to business related items. In our example of Mary the Dog Walker, she should include pictures of her pets, her life, her human experience. If it’s rained in Mary’s area for a week straight and she’s frustrated about walking all of these dogs in the rain, Mary can post a picture of her wet dog and share her frustration, chances are many dog owners in her rainy area are frustrated too! Mary should post stories of her customers and her customer’s pets, with their permission of course.
Offer your audience value. In the example with Mary The Dog Walker, Mary will offer some tips to help pet owners with their pets. An obvious example would be to post something like 3 important questions to ask when hiring a dog walker. Perhaps she’ll post useful first aid tips for dogs. If seasons are changing to summer, post tips on how to keep your dog cool in the summer months and make sure she posts information on how to make dogs as comfortable as possible during the winter months as well.
Consistency is King. Try and keep a consistent posting schedule. Audiences get used to seeing a certain frequency of posting. If that’s once a day, keep up a consistent one post a day, if it’s 3 times a week, keep it up! There’s a balance that’s right for your business and your audience. The only way you’ll find it is to experiment. Create a social media editorial calendar. This sounds fancier than it really is. For example, at the end of May, create your calendar for June. Let’s say you plan on posting once per week and you want your post to come out every Tuesday. Look at the June calendar, and if there are 5 Tuesdays in June, think of the 5 things, articles, pictures, tips, etc. you plan on posting in June and prepare your posts ahead of time, with the written content, pictures, and anything else. This will make the process thoughtless and more likely to be successful.
One of the most powerful aspects of Social Media is sharing. Mary the Dog Walker or any one of her followers could take any one of her posts and share it on their own page, to a community group, or elsewhere. For this reason alone, it’s important to make posts public so they can be shared and your company’s name will be seen by every audience the post is shared with. Another great way to engage your customers and your audience is with contests. Mary The Dog Walker could run a contest on who could collect the most dog food donations for a local animal shelter and offer the winner a free week of dog walking services. People love the idea of competing for a good cause.
Before you know it you will start to have a history with your social media presence. Potential customers will be looking at this history as part of their evaluation process. Ask your customers for reviews. Reviews are very important and a very helpful part of establishing a positive online reputation. Mary the Dog Walker could offer a discount of a few dollars to every customer who likes her Facebook page and leaves a review.
While I truly believe email lists are the best because they are completely owned by you and I don’t love the idea that Facebook controls how much of the content I post my audience will see, there is one way to help ensure your customers see your posts and that’s by creating a private Facebook group. For example, Mary could create the group, Friends, and Customers of Mary The Dog Walker as a private closed group and send out the link to your email list and Mary’s personal page and the Mary The Dog Walker public page explaining that by joining the closed group you’re more likely to see Mary’s posts and interact with other down owners. There’s a lot of power in private Facebook groups.
Instagram is another place Mary can help stay top of mind with her customers. It’s a pretty minimal effort to take a few pictures a week and post, tagging customers with pictures of their dogs on their daily walks (with the pet owner’s permission of course). Using a hashtag like #marythedogwalker can help people find other posts Mary has made. When you make a new blog post, you can take a screenshot of the blog and post the screenshot. Take the link to the blog post and put it in your Instagram Bio and in then in the caption field, you can say something like link to blog in bio.
It’s no secret that LinkedIn is the social media network for businesses. There are many business people that aren’t on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, and your only chance to get in front of these people, in terms of social media is on LinkedIn. This alone makes it worthwhile to signup for an account and add your business to LinkedIn. Like the other places, you can post your blogs, your events, and pictures. As a general rule, a lot of these business people have money and are busy. If they’re running late at work, there’s a good chance they may text Mary The Dog Walker, for a last minute walk for their pet, and Mary makes some unexpected money for the day.
Here’s a list of action items to complete to get your Social Media going!
- Create a page for your business on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Start inviting friends and family to your business page and ask your friends to invite their friends to your business page
- Consistency is King, figure out how many times you plan on posting per week and setup an editorial calendar for the month and stick to it!
- Send an email to your friends, family, and customers, inviting them to follow you on each of your social media accounts
- Ask your customers which social media platforms they are on and which ones they like the most or spend the most time on. Track your results in a spreadsheet.
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