Make a clear plan and set your goals. Why do you want to be online? Do you want to attract new customers or is it more important for you to promote a product or your brand? Perhaps you want to increase traffic to your website or make sales? It is possible to combine a number of these goals, however be careful not to turn into just another brand on the web that ‘pushes’ irrelevant information on to your followers.
To help you decide which platforms to use for your social media marketing, you first need to consider your target audience.
As a small business, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the time or resources to publish regularly on all the major social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.) so you’ll need to choose what platforms are right for you and your business. For instance, Pinterest is ideal for businesses that have more visual content such as a wedding photographer, whereas Youtube is more relevant for businesses that use video to market themselves, their products or services.
Social networking sites are about people, so it’s important that what you say, and how you say it, is as ‘human’ as possible. Forget about shouting marketing statements or slogans as your followers will get bored very easily. Instead, use language that shows that you and your brand understand your customers and know what their interests are.
Note: Remember to be mindful of who your target audience is when posting funny pictures or jokes – teenagers can have a very different sense of humour to that of a business owner.
Discuss problems openly and honestly. If a customer has a problem and announces a ‘gripe’ with you on your Facebook Page, it’s better to discuss it openly than to keep it a secret and arouse suspicion amongst other customers or worse, prospective customers.
Customers just want to know that you are ‘trying’ to fix their problem, so work towards providing information that is explicit for your customers.
Note: You can always take a conflict offline and resolve over the phone if your answer online hasn’t satisfied your customers needs.
Your posts should show that you are an expert in your field and that any questions asked can be answered. By doing this, you will not only improve relationships with existing customers, but also build new ones.
The best way to build trust with your audience is by being open, honest and explaining as much as you can about a particular product, topic or brand.