People probably get tired of hearing the words social media used to describe their online presence. Reality is, however, that more and more people are turning to social media outlets for information on a daily basis. For companies this means that more customers are ranking the places they do business by how accessible that company is on social media sites. Big companies like Coke, Pepsi, and others have entire divisions dedicated to developing a social media presence, monitoring that presence, and improving interactions for their customers.
Customers are buying from companies they relate too like never before. Business has seen this over many years with growing pushes to shop locally and support homegrown businesses. A recent study by Bain and Company shows that customers are spending 20 to 40 percent more money with companies when they engage with them via social media. Through wise social media decisions and targeting your audience your business can capitalize on this trend as well.
Share Your Interests
Customers shop with your company for several reasons. They want your products, they need your products, or they like your products. In many cases they turn to you because you share an interest with them. To build a relationship with customers that convince them to trust you and your products, you should post information on shared interests. You want to connect with your consumers and one way to do this is through a blog. This article does a really good job of breaking down 5 blogging tactics that helps you connect with your audience. This is subtle marketing that strikes a chord with consumers. They want to know your company is diverse, not just care about what you sell.
Target Your Audience
Simple, informal surveys of your customers can tell you what social media websites they are most using. Take the time to do create these surveys, send them out to your customers, and compile the data when you have the results. You can then use that data to target the areas where most of your customers are. For example, if 75 percent of those polled prefer Facebook to Twitter then you should focus your efforts on Facebook. That does not mean ignore the 25 percent on Twitter; you just have to get a little more creative to reach those on Twitter.
Focus On What’s Next
Avoid the pitfall of continually saying how great your company, products, or services are. Look at your industry and know what is the next big thing trending. If you want to succeed in our quick world and the fickle whims of the internet then you need to know what the next big thing is at all times.
Listening to your customers can help you greatly in this arena. Customers will tell you what you need to focus on then your job is simply to focus on what they want. Seems simple right? That is not always the case. Companies often get caught up with whatever is new or hot in the industry and lose sight of the customer. Just because something is new does not mean it is great, listen to your customers.
You can hear your customer’s voices by reading your forums, reviewing and engaging with them on social media, or conducting surveys. Listening to your customers is the most important thing you can do, so make sure you make it a priority.
Engage Your Critics
Companies who engage their critics openly and honestly see a remarkable benefit from those engagements. Critics are often extremely honest in their evaluations and are not necessarily critics because they dislike your company. If you can engage those critics, openly on social media then you will show your clients that you are not afraid to tackle the important issues. You may also sway some critics to becoming fans and that is always a win.
If you don’t engage your critics, then you may open yourself up to a PR nightmare. Just look at the recent PR nightmare with Baby Bullet when a Midwestern mom found lead poisoning on a bolt on their food blender. This showed the importance of addressing criticism from unhappy customers. If Baby Bullet had simply responded to their concerned customer, this could have potentially been handled without the PR firestorm. Instead, the customer was feed up with the lack of response and released her frustration on social media. Learn from Baby Bullet’s mistake and constantly engage with your customers, whether they leave good or bad comments.
Get People Talking About You
One Internet marketing guru tells his clients to be remarkable. How does one be remarkable becomes the question of the day. Through using time tested techniques of social media marketing you will be seen as remarkable. In the modern age of the Internet, those on the leading edge of trends are often the ones who are seen as remarkable. If you do this enough you will have people talking about you and you will get even more mentions on the various social networks, getting your name out there helps drive customers to you.
There are many ways to engage clients via social media and there are many ways to lose clients over social media. To successfully market on social media networks you need to become an expert on the topic. No matter how large or small your business is you can profit from a sound social media strategy. Look at what others are doing and what is working and adapt that to your business and your situation. Chances are you will be rewarded when you use a developed bag of tricks.
About the Author: Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
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