Are you confused with all these buzz words about using social media to promote your business but have no idea how to get started? If so, then this article is for you. Social media is an inexpensive way to build relationships with prospects and customers and to improve your bottom line. I will discuss some social media platforms and technologies such as QR codes to show you how you can leverage them to reach a wider audience and attract more visitors to your website.
For me, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram still dominate social media for small businesses targeting a more “local” rural population.
The most important things to remember is this:
1. Attract, engage and convert your audience. Don’t ever talk at them; talk with them. Give them valuable information they can take away and use on a daily basis. Don’t be concerned about giving away too much information. With the power of the internet, those hungry for information will find the answers somewhere. You might as well be the resource they turn to!
2. Don’t try to do everything. Pick one or two social media platforms and focus on doing that well!
3. Keep a social media calendar and be consistent. Creating a game plan will help you focus on your overall objectives and save you lot’s of time in the long run! Don’t let a social media calendar overwhelm you. There are tools available like hootsuite.com that can help you schedule and deliver timely and consistent messages.
Every business should have a Facebook page where they can engage customers and post company information. This should be separate from a personal Facebook page. The following are ways you can use Facebook to promote your business:
- Encourage visitors to ‘Like’ your page by offering discounts, freebies or special offers. Provide links to your website where they can receive these offers with a ‘call-to-action’ page.
- Engage prospects and existing customers by posing questions about your products. This will encourage feedback that should be used in marketing and product improvement efforts.
- Ask your visitors to share pictures surrounding your products and how they are using them in their day to day life.
- Run a contest. For example, the best photo uploaded to your page receives a ‘free’ product.
- Post thank you letters to show that you do read each and every email or other forms of mail that is delivered to your business.
- Create a video around your products and upload them on youtube. Post a link to the video on your Facebook page. This is a great way to add different media types as part of your social media marketing campaign.
- Regularly post authentic and creative information that is useful to your visitors. This will encourage them to share the posts.
A twitter account will allow people to retweet your comments or to tweet about your business and, in turn, increase your brand recognition. I typically recommend twitter to those businesses targeting a demographic outside of a rural area.
- Ask your followers questions about your products. For example, how can you improve on a certain item?
- If you are organizing an event on social media, use Twitter and create a hashtag to promote a Facebook event.
- Tweet on a regular basis and post information that is different from what is on Facebook. Duplicate information can quickly cause a visitor to stop following you.
QR codes contain data about a product or service and can be easily read on smartphones. Much information can be contained in these codes, and, with the right software, this code can be deciphered to provide a wealth of information to a consumer. The sky is the limit when it comes to uses for these codes. Restaurants use them to provide nutritional information on their products. Magazines or other printed material use them to provide links to their websites. Some municipalities use them to guide visitors to parking spots, gas stations or other useful information. QR codes are quickly becoming a small business owner’s latest tool to stay competitive and increase sales.
Implementing an online social media campaign is crucial in today’s economy. As a small business owner, you have a distinct advantage as you can adjust and modify your strategy quickly as results are being measured. Good luck with your strategy and have fun experimenting and revising as needed!