Small business owners often struggle with social media. Mainly because they think it takes too much time and investment without a huge payoff. When I hear this, it is usually because they have taken the time to create a Facebook page or Twitter account and then expected it to grow on its own. That is a bit like sowing seeds in your garden in the spring, then ignoring it all summer without water or maintenance, and then saying that gardening is difficult because yours did not provide any produce. In other words, you will see bountiful results in social media ONLY if you provide the appropriate care by engaging your customers. There are three easy ways that your business can engage your customers for plentiful results.
#1. Reward Your Clients
It is human nature that we all want to feel special and as consumers we want to feel like we are getting a deal. Using your social media accounts, you can provide your clients with “insider” deals that you are only providing to people who mention the deal when they contact you, or let them know that you will reward them with a special discount if they share your post on their wall or retweet you. You can also create a following by telling your current customers that you often offer exclusive specials or discounts to your Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Pinterest followers.
#2. Use It As A Customer Service Tool
The most successful business to consumer companies have found that social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook actually save time and money. They can improve your response time and improve your brand too. When customers are able to tag you in a tweet, they often will, praise your products or request help with your product or service. If a customer has a complaint that a product or service you provided was less than stellar, you have the opportunity to respond very quickly in a positive manner to let the customer know that you want to provide a satisfactory solution. While everyone who follows you on Twitter or Facebook can see the initial complaint, your positive response illustrates that you strive to make customers happy and that you are responsive rather than reactive. After the initial public response, you can then send a private message to connect the customer with an email or phone number to discuss the solution offline.
#3. Provide Content
This is one of the most time-consuming parts of social media that often scares people away from doing it, or causes them to burn out quickly. Providing content does not have to mean writing lengthy blog posts everyday. It can be as simple as providing quick tips in your field of expertise. Another way to provide content is to sign up for Google alerts for key phrases that fit your industry. When you get an alert that you either agree or disagree with, you can post a link to the news article and then provide your commentary on how your business deals with the issue. This engagement technique can showcase your expertise without time-consuming web searches or struggling for blog topics.
What are your favorite tips for engaging with your customers? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!