If you didn’t grow up with social networking, chances are, you don’t have a choice anymore. Just about everyone is on Facebook these days, and you shouldn’t underestimate the power of social media marketing for your business – and, best of all, it’s free! Here’s a few tips to get you started.
Don’t fall in to the “demographic trap”
I’ve spoken to a lot of business owners who fall in to something I’ve coined the “demographic trap”. Too often, people say to me “we’d get a Facebook page, but I just don’t think our customers are using it”, or “our customers aren’t young kids, so it’s not worth it for us”. As of June 2012, 17.3 million people have active Facebook accounts in Australia. Given that there are only 22.6 million people living in Australia, I’d argue that almost everyone, irrespective of age, is on Facebook. I’d also argue, that if you’re not on there, you’re missing out. Times are changing, and businesses that accept change and embrace new technology, almost always, excel and outdo their competitors. Don’t tag behind, and don’t fall in to the “demographic trap”.
Make your updates informative and relevant.
As a Facebook user, I hate having my news feed clogged up with things I just don’t want to see. Included in these, are updates by companies that are trying to flog their products. Facebook isn’t a tool to sell products, it’s a tool to generate interest, and build up your brand. Don’t think of social networking as selling tools, but more as marketing tools. Nobody goes on Facebook to buy things, because it’s simply not that type of tool (well, not yet, anyway). People go on Facebook to engage, interact and communicate with friends, family, and, if you’re lucky – your business. For this reason, give them relevant and interesting updates. Try to update your page with photos (for example, photos of your new office or a new line of products), interesting statistics and information, and great tips and tricks. If you take the emphasis off money, and push your brand and image, you’ll see a noticeable increase in phone calls and enquiries.
Don’t forget your professional image
When you’re on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, almost everyone has access to your feeds. Treat your social networking presence the same as your website. You wouldn’t put something on your website that makes you look unprofessional, so why would you do it on your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page? Too often, I see businesses making updates that are badly worded, and full of spelling mistakes. Think about what you’re writing. Updates are good, but you’re better off not posting at all if you’re rushing to update your page with an update that doesn’t make sense.
Promote engagement with your clients
For Social Network to be effective for your business, you need your clients to interact with you. Encourage them to engage with you by asking questions in your updates, and taking the time to respond to clients that go to the effort of writing in. Be prepared too, if a client happens to make a complaint that the whole world can see. Act quickly, and act appropriately. You’ll be judged by everyone that can see your responses, so make sure they cover all bases, and sound professional. Remember, businesses are judged not only on their ability to deliver, but by their ability to deliver when things go pear shaped. The way you deal with conflict and complaints says a lot about your business – so make sure you do it right!
Status updates and new ideas - keep ‘em coming!
There’s a fine line between too much, and not enough. You want people to engage with your business, but you don’t want to lose people, and potential clients, in the process. Try to gauge just how well received your updates are. Are people interacting, or are your feeds falling on deaf ears? A dead feed makes your business appear boring, so make sure you’re updating it at least three or four times a week with interesting and new content. Try to keep the updates consistent, too. You don’t want to be putting five updates up in the space of an hour, because that just doesn’t work. Space them out, and plan them in advance – and again, think about what you’re posting. A little bit of thought can go a long way!