How to Use Social Media to Reach Customers
By Pat Lemieux
Undoubtedly you get inundated on a daily basis on the latest greatest cool thing. You are told about how Pinterest will revolutionize the way you sell products, how you need to be advertising everywhere and get up multiple online stores. You probably got all those emails about a year ago showing you 10 ways to use Vine to promote your brand (which was really cool for about 3 weeks).
But let’s be real; ain’t nobody got time for that.
You’re a busy, important person. You run a business. You have staff, sales, paperwork, inventory management, and a bunch of other, time-consuming things that I’m not thinking about right now.
You simply do not have the time to manage all the different social media channels. Automating your social media could come back to bite you in the ass when you tweet something contextually damaging or your audience leaves you because you have created a one-way conversation.
Social media isn’t TV commercials or radio ads. It’s interactive. It lives and breaths with every Facebook post. It is meant more as a conversation and less as a microphone. In short, it is a total time suck.
So please, use your time wisely. Don’t spend your time divided among 6 or 7 different channels. Find out where your customers are, and be there.
If most of your customers live on Facebook then that is where you need to be interacting with them. If your audience is more about Instagram or Twitter spend your time reaching out to them there.
It takes time to build a following full of advocates for your company and if you spend all your time just dabbling with all the different social options, you may never get there.
Step 1: Who is Your Customer?
Think about what types of customer you have. Do you know what social media they currently use? If you don’t, ask them. Ask them when they are in your store, or send them an email survey if you have that data.
When asking people it is important be honest as to why you are asking. Ask them if they would like to receive news and updates from you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email.
Step 2: Find Them and Engage Them
Build up your social media presence on the platforms most relevant to your customers. Interact with your customers. Encourage them to follow you, but also make them understand the value in following your business. Are you going to show off new products, offer deals, provide customer service and support, share ideas? Why do you deserve to be paid attention to. Explain your value proposition. It could be as simple as “Follow us to find out the soup of the day or we tweet or sales.”
Step 3: Be Consistent
Interact with your audience on a consistent basis and follow through on your value promise. If you say you are going to respond to customer questions each day then carve out time to do so. If you fail in this, your customers will let you and all their followers know it.
Nocturnem Draft Haus in Bangor has rotating taps at their bar. Each day they consistently share the new draft list out to their followers, letting them know the new beers they have on tap. It is a great way to deliver a consistent message that highlights the value proposition of their bar, it also helps to make their customers interested in what they are offering and stop in more frequently. Many other food establishments do the same thing.
LiveMaine will use Instagram to send out photos when they have new products or sales on their existing line. They will also solicit advice from those who follow them about future products, colors and styles. It is a great way to find out what their customers will buy.
Step 4: Reach Out
Once you have established yourself on social media with your customers and provide value to them then find more people like them. Chances are the people who follow you customers will also make good customers. Encourage your existing followers to share sales, stories, photos, and testimonial about your product or service.
Don’t simply show up on a platform and immediately start asking for followers. Again give people a reason to want to do this and let it happen organically. One person being told about your business who will actually shop with you is a lot more important than ten people liking your Facebook page and forgetting who you are.
Finally: Consider Who’s Managing
Think long and hard about who is going to run your social media. If you have a trusted employee with experience, they might be better suited for it than you. If you already have people doing your marketing, talk with them. If you do it all yourself, just remember to have a consistent voice and make sure it is in line with your own company brand and goals.
In short, social media is like any other part of your business. Think about your customers’ needs first, and how you can best help them meet those needs. Your social media strategy should be a part of your entire process in making that happen. If it is, then you will see positive results that translate into online growth, customer engagement and sales.
You also don’t have to do it alone. If you’re interested in more ways to reach and attract customers, we can help. Contact Dream Local Digital today to start growing your business.