A business gathering in London to discuss social media. (Photo by JD Lasica)
To increase your bottom line, first engage with customers
Post by Vicky O’Leary
There are now more than 2 billion active social media users around the world. This huge audience available to you through the click of a mouse and the tap of a keyboard is a fantastic resource for all businesses.
Using social media to interact with your customers can boost your business in so many ways – from finding new customers and gaining business intelligence to inform future direction to addressing concerns and protecting your brand image.
If you’re a business owner and just beginning to use social media to promote your company, take heart: You haven’t missed the bandwagon. Most brands are still not making optimal use of the new social tools to connect with existing and new customers and potential brand advocates.
So if you’re just starting out on social, here are four basic ways you can use social tools to boost your business.
You can develop your social currency and transfer it into sales
1In the same way that the popular kids are the ones with the most Facebook friends, the same can be said for the popularity of businesses across social networks. Likes, comments and interactions with your posts across all social media are your currency. These are what you leverage and exchange to get you the real currency that you are after – sales. To boost your currency, make sure you are present on social media regularly with daily posts and interact with people who talk about your business. Even if you just like their comment or follow them, it all serves to boost your own profile. By the way, it’s best for your team to do this directly rather than outsourcing it to a third party agency or an intern.
You can get immediate feedback
2Thinking of launching a new packaging or considering adding a new service to your offering? Put the idea out on social media and you have an immediate test audience who will, for free, give you their opinion. In today’s society, consumers love brands that listen and that signal that the customers are in some way influencing the products we buy. An added bonus: This works not only to provide you with feedback but to increase your audience even more.
Interact with your customers
3This is especially key if you are an online business. You’ll remember that before the advent of social media there were few` ways in which you could interact with your customers. Now they are eagerly waiting to hear from you, following the social media channels of a few favorite brands to hear about what’s coming next. A study by The Social Habit shows that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands.
However, businesses can fall down on social media by treating those channels only as a promotional tool. The key is to remember it is social, and this means having interactions with people, not just talking at them. Ask questions to engage your followers in conversations or hold pre-arranged Twitter chats to talk to your followers, grow brand awareness and build loyalty.
Get involved in ‘days’ and events
4Social media loves stuff that’s timely. Joining in to promote awareness of an event or cause or social topic or special day can in turn boost your follower numbers. From the serious to the comical, there is a day or a week for anything and chances are that you can find something that fits in with your business. Make sure you know the hashtag that being used – try Twubs or Hashtagify.me – and ensure that you use this in your tweets or posts as this will mean you are part of the conversation.
This is just the start of the many benefits that your business can get from increased social media interaction. By implementing these, increasing your output and engaging more with your customers, I’m confident you will boost your business.