For an entrepreneur starting a new business or looking to grow, finding an edge is an important way to bolster success. In today’s world, having a social media presence can give you that edge. Being able to effectively utilize various social media outlets can give your business a big boost, whether you are looking to drive online traffic or increase feet through your door.
Whether your business is online-only, strictly brick and mortar or some combination of the two, a social media presence is a free way to spread awareness. It can increase profits from existing customers as well as bringing new patrons to your business. Social media platforms are websites that allow you to have your own presence. The most commonly used platforms in today’s world, both for business and personal use are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. Each of these platforms has different specialties, strengths, and uses, so it can be helpful to maintain a presence in all of them. This also allows you to link between them, which can let customers get quick updates and news from Twitter and then pop over to Instagram to see new pictures of a product or your location. Keep in mind that frequent, even daily updates to your media sites are important. This keeps customers interested and checking into your business regularly. Social media also allows your customers to link your pages to their friends and family, creating a web of interest. When posting, however, keep in mind the 80/20 rule. Only about 20 percent of your posts and updates should be directly about brand awareness and promotion. The remaining 80 percent should revolve around ways to generate conversations and draw interest. This lets you connect with customers and turn them into loyal patrons.
Build Your Brand
Your business and your brand are actually two different things. Your brand is essentially your business identity, and that identity is vital to building relationships with customers and loyalty toward your business and products. In this regard, social media is important for brand building because of how it helps you to interface with your customers and even resolve issues and problems. Giving customers a link to a review platform will allow you to receive more feedback. Customers that express issues can be contacted to seek an effective resolution when appropriate. Reviews are easily available on your Google My Business link and can be found on many of the big social platforms such as Facebook, or independent review sites like Yelp. Additionally, many customers, especially in younger generations, are using social media as a first contact platform. Make sure to respond to issues quickly and clearly to give the best image of your business as possible. Not all interactions need to be responsive or corrective in nature though. Engage with customers by holding contests, asking questions, using popular culture and more. Just be careful about taking controversial stances. While some demographics or industries may respond well to that, many will not, and you may lose customers instead.
Not all social media benefits have to come from you directly. Almost as important as your own posts and content is content generated by your customers. Known as user-generated content, these are posts, likes, links and more that come directly from the people who love your brand, use your products and visit your stores. User-generated content is an important part of your marketing because it adds a layer of genuineness and authenticity that just cannot come from the business owner or employees alone. Customers trust each other to speak honestly, so when they see people excited about your brand, they become primed to either give your business the first try or, for repeat customers, turn them into loyal brand enthusiasts themselves. A savvy business owner can even consider using influencers to generate content and interest. Influencers come in many shapes and sizes, so make sure to engage with those who would best represent your brand and convey it to a follower base. A mistake that some make is to think that “bigger is better” when it comes to an influencer. The reality is that you may be much better served by using a micro-influencer who has a more local following or is influential among your targeted customer demographic. Many successful businesses can even find recruits from among those they interact with on social media, letting them become trusted brand ambassadors to the community.
Social media is an important part of today’s business world. Failure to properly harness the power of social media can set back a business and allow competitors to surge ahead or steal customers. However, an effective social media strategy can be a huge boon to both existing businesses or for a brand new enterprise. No matter your business, make sure to research and employ social media strategies that promote your brand and bring customers to you.
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