Whether you live in Red Wing Minnesota or Saint Paul Minnesota, you cannot have failed to notice the rise of social media in general and most notably Facebook in particular. We’re going to focus primarily on Facebook today as it is one the main driving consumer engagement tools used in the social space.
The key to effectively using social media if you are a small business is to start doing the following:
1. Start connecting with your customers on a more than business basis
This is the part of social media that many small businesses in Minnesota overlook the value in. They hear there is a huge audience on social media websites like Facebook so they set up fan pages to promote their businesses. This is fine if done correctly; however, the mistake most make is that they then proceed to ram commercial messages down the throats of their visitors on social media.
Buy my stuff! Buy my stuff!
The result of this is not that everyone immediately puts down what they are doing to send the company cash. No, instead they feel more than a little repelled by them. Not only do they not buy what is being offered, but the chances of them buying that product or service in the future have actually declined, not gone up.
So, it is essential you remember that when people are using Facebook, they don’t tend to be in a buying mindset. They are looking to connect with friends and have a chat, not find out about the latest laser printer your small business has to offer!
This sounds like a disaster if you are running a small business and are trying to promote it on Facebook. But in truth, Facebook can still work, but your approach is going to need a little tweaking.
Instead of taking the “Buy my stuff!” route, you will find you will do far better by entertaining your audience, collecting email addresses and running competitions. Then, much later in the process, softly transitioning your audience into buying mode through following up with them via email or directing them to your company’s website.
2. Be Creative! It’s SOCIAL media, Don’t be Boring!
Another big problem with small businesses trying to promote themselves on Facebook and other social media websites is that they are often far too dry and boring in the content they choose to post.
You need to be creating material that does not make your audience want to yawn!
Even if your business is actually pretty boring too most people! (It is always going to be wildly exciting for you!) There is no excuse for not producing a social media presence that is lively and can keep people engaged.
Paying $500 for this and then releasing it on your Facebook Fan Page (along with suitable branding for your business within the game, of course!) would be FAR more likely to create uplift in your social presence online that $500 of normal Facebook advertising would not.
It is these fun activities that cause a viral traffic uplift to websites and this is where social media most excels.
Small businesses simply need to remold their paradigm a little about what social media really means and stop boring their audiences to death!
3. Be Consistent!
You have to keep posting…
If you stop posting, in social media terms, you cease to exist and your competitors will very quickly jump into your shoes and take your readers.
You need to be consistently posting good content and information to your Facebook Pages and making sure that your audience feels connected to you.
This consistency over time will be essential in creating an audience and means that over time, you start building a lead over your competitors in the social space.
In all honesty, this IS a lot of hard work! So don’t let anyone tell you that social media is a breeze. To have consistent success with Facebook, you will need to treat the process with as much professionalism as you would with any other marketing endeavor.
However, if you do so, you will be rewarded with a loyal audience who starts to tap into your messages, feels good about your brand and who at some point in the future (when you have both built up enough trust with them and contacted them through email enough times), will start to buy your products.
For all small businesses, it is essential to get a birds eye view of your online presence, we’ve put together an article that looks at some of the basic things you should be doing online.
There are a lot of new things happening everyday in the social space, check out what some of the 2012 facts and statistics are at Jeff Bullas Blog