We are in an era where the majority of our time is spent online. We shop online, post reviews online, and even post our lives online through platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Social media is all around us, and for small business, it can be a critical promotional tool. But how can you maximise your social media potential?
Social media is, in a sense, like your shop window.
Artists and authors, for example, rely heavily on social media to get their work noticed, and this is also true for small businesses. Letting people know what you offer through some well-chosen images and some engaging content to accompany them is essential when there are around 1.5 billion active Facebook users worldwide. Like with any shop window, your social media profiles need to be tidy, professional and a good tool to help achieve this is the ‘pinning’ tool on Facebook and Twitter. This very simple tool will put your most relevant post at the top of your page so that it is the first post visitors see. A good example of what would be an ideal pinned post or tweet would be a flyer about your services or your shop.
Word of mouth is vital for small business
This does not always mean Joe Bloggs telling his mates about your business in the pub; it can mean customers and clients leaving Facebook reviews and even sharing your content. People will share your posts with their friends, who will share them with their friends and so on. If you are offering services as opposed to goods, these ‘shares’ can generate leads and new clients. Of course, making sure you are sending out the right message is important here; there is no use telling your customers what you are having for breakfast!
Use your Hashtags (#)
One of the most common questions about social media revolves around hashtags (#). Many people are confused about what hashtags are used for and how best to use them. Hashtags can build a community or a buzz around a particular topic, like the Rugby World Cup for example. Anyone wanting to keep up to date with the Rugby World Cup can type #RWC into Twitter’s search engine and access the latest scores. Using a hashtag can work in a similar way for your business; if you offer cleaning services for example then #cleaner may be a good hashtag to use. Not only that, but hashtags can also help you connect with similar businesses or individuals, which is essential for market research.
Delivering the right message to your customers
As well as acting like a virtual shop front, social media is also useful for delivering the best possible customer service. Offering advice on your page and/or blog is one way of achieving this, but customers may message your business directly through Facebook and Twitter. The quicker you respond to these messages, the better your reputation will be and when word of mouth is still a very powerful tool, it is essential that you do not overlook this.
Used effectively, social media can be a real asset to your business. Make sure you keep your profiles updated and engaging, and do not be scared to ask for reviews! Most importantly, have fun with your social media.