There's no doubt about it. Social media has completely changed the way we communicate online since its origination with personal blogs in the late 1990s. Some would even say it's exploding in popularity with the amount of websites, channels, and platforms that seem to pop up almost overnight.
Now, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat leading the way as the most popular social media platforms, it has taken on a different purpose than simply giving the world a sneak peek into the personal lives of millions. Businesses ranging from Fortune 500 companies to local mom and pop shops can now have a social media presence that's designed to increase exposure to their products, mission, and overall brand. Here's how to use it to boost your own business.
1. Showcase Who You Are
Social media is the perfect tool to give buyers a glimpse of who's behind the curtain for a richer customer experience. By using your voice and choosing content that perfectly aligns with your brand, you can easily showcase your employees, new products, and even your favorite things about your company.
Every social media channel represents another opportunity to syndicate your brand's voice and content, making it much easier for new customers to find your company and build trust in your business. Plus, every online interaction is another chance to show just how customer-oriented your business is. For example, if someone criticizes something he or she purchased, you have a chance to immediately take action to make it right. On the flip side, if someone says something amazing about your business, you can quickly send a thank you and recommend something else he or she might like.
2. Link To What You're Selling
Every social media contribution, whether it's a video, post, picture, or snap, is another way for your customers to check out what's for sale. The more content you produce, the higher the chance is that someone will take notice and click through to your online shop or visit your physical store. Without social media, you're probably relying on keywords to help customers find you through an online search - a complicated and frustrating strategy since search algorithms are constantly changing.
3.Tap Into Valuable Customer Insights
When you connect with someone on social media, you're essentially opening the door to have conversations with anyone in their social network as well. These interactions almost mimic a snow ball effect to give you tons of exposure to new prospects. Another plus of social media is that customers tend to be extremely vocal online about what they like and don't like - and social media helps you listen in on many of these quality conversations.
"Social media allows salespeople to see what prospects are saying about their brand and competitors," says Janet Fouts, a social media coach and chief executive of Tatu Digital Media in a Forbes.com article. "You can really get to know his or her needs through social listening. It's a great way to research a market and initiate conversation leading to a sale." Not only can you see what people are saying about your business directly, you can also see what types of content, products, and ideas your customers are most interested in.
4. Offer Valuable Help
Engaging with the online community can easily be worth the time and effort it takes to create cool content. Social medial has so many creative ways to share projects, ideas, and even tutorials through videos, live chats, links, and pictures. As Jennifer Fong, a direct sales social media expert at Luce Murphy Fong and Associates believes that if you "[meet] someone at their point of need with a solution, [you] can then create a lead who is interested in learning more about a product or service."
As you connect with customers online, think about how you can present your items in fun and interesting ways that appeal to your target customers. Both in-person and virtual events are excellent ways to show off your items, offer knowledge, and get to know shoppers. Keeping a blog on the latest trends and linking to your most popular posts in an emailed newsletter is another way to keep consumers connected to your company. No matter which sharing platform you choose or what kind of content you offer, just remember to stay true to who you are as a brand!
5. Find New Opportunities
Social media is one more way to get potential shoppers, partnerships, and even major influencers to get to know you since mutual connections can lead to new ideas, sales, and initiatives. In fact, according to LinkedIn, a referral from someone you've helped in the past "increases the odds of successful sales by 200 to 400 percent." Social media also gives you the chance to swoop in if a competitor is dropping the ball. A disappointed tweet or negative post might end up being a promising opportunity to be the solution to an easily solved problem.