Social media has taken the small business marketing paradigm and scattered it like corn in a Nebraska tornado. Small business owners are still learning the tools they need for proper social media management, and there is not one single social media strategy proven to be the best. Everything about social media marketing is still in the infant stages and learning as it grows.
However, one thing is for sure; once you’ve chosen your social media platforms, it is not enough to simply create accounts and hope your audience joins you by the throngs. That works about as well as opening a mom-n-pop store somewhere in the middle of a city and hanging out your proverbial shingle, hoping customers will randomly walk in your door.
Instead, your social media strategy needs to have a provision for engaging your audience and keeping them engaged. Here are a few “best practice” tips:
Getting Readers Engaged
To make a social media strategy work, you need to get your audience engaged in what you have to say. Here is some advice:
Don’t be shy about offering advice, or even promoting your products or services on social media. Remember, marketing is all about showing your target customer your answer to a problem. You must show how your product/service solves their problem and benefits them.
Using your social media strategy, find those conversations that pertain to your business or industry. You might do a search on Facebook, look for Twitter hashtags, or even monitor your comments on your company blog. When you find a conversation where people are discussing a problem that you know your company can solve, jump in and add your two cents.
Don’t be overtly salesman-like. But rather briefly and tactfully explain how your product could be beneficial in reference to the topic.
Asking questions is a proven social media strategy winner. Asking questions lets your audience know that you are interested in their opinion. And believe it when we state that social media is a platform where people like to express their opinions.
Questions might be in regards to your product or responses to a recent industry news story. Or perhaps people are even just inquiring what people are doing on a rare sunny day.
Don’t forget to answer questions as part of your social media management strategy. If someone, whether or not they be a current fan, follower, or customer, asks your social media account a question, oblige them and provide an answer. This also helps stimulate further discussion.
Keeping Readers Engaged
And while engaging your audience is a sound social media strategy, keeping them engaged is the trick. Here are some suggestions to keep your social media audience focused on your small business.
Never fail to thank your commenters for their input. Knowing that their opinions are valued and that someone actually reads what they have to say helps reinforce their position as a valued member of your social community.
Make Commenters/Responders Feel Important
Another way to provide positive reinforcement is by making your followers and commenters feel important. This form of social media management puts the proverbial ball in your audience’s court.
You might ask your readers what they think about a new product you just released. Or even how to improve a current product. Publish a survey and let your readers know that their input is valued and exclusive.
You can also help them feel important by responding to complaints. If a reader posts a negative comment about an experience with your product or service, thank them for their input and address the issue.
Provide Good Follow Up to Hot Topics
Once in a while, you may find that a particular thread of comments and responses will last longer than the norm. In some cases, readers may comments for months on a single blog post or social media update. Keep that type of engagement going by following up and adding a few logs to the fire
Your social media management plan is your key to a successful and profitable social media marketing strategy. Keep these tips in mind about stimulating discussion and keeping your audience engaged, and you’ll likely notice a better bottom line.