With the increase in popularity of social media, especially for business use, the question of how to use social media for business is a popular one. There are a number of ways you can take advantage social media to benefit your business, often resulting in more orders, improved customer service and better loyalty retention.
Customer service can often be greatly improved with the use of socialmedia. Participating in the communities that your customers are in will let you have great conversations, and offer support where necessary. Here’s a few ways to make it work for you:
Providing product and service updates via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other forms of social media will let your followers know what’s going on with your company.
It’s also important to monitor any @ replies, or direct messages, both on Twitter and Facebook, for questions, complaints, or comments. Being quick to answer your customers’ questions online through social media is a great way to increase brand recognition and loyalty.
Social media is also a great medium for offering discounts and promotions for your products and services. Allowing your followers, fans, and friends, to enter draws or receiving discounts for helping you promote your business can be an excellent way to increase sales while reaching more people.
Try to avoid posting regular priced items, unless there’s something special about them. For example, if you just got in a special order or just modified something anew, then post all you want! However if you’re just posting the same old product without promotion, your followers will get bored and unfollow you. Instead, if you have nothing new to post about your products, then write articles or post images on your website that are related to your products and industry. Then you have something ‘new’ to Tweet about or send to your Facebook followers that will likely interest them.
Even if you don’t directly ask for a sale in your social media posts themselves, you can indirectly do so by having your call to action in the content or at the bottom of the article your posted on your site. This way your followers click through to an article about something they’re interested in, then become enticed to purchase your product or service once they visit your site. Pretty neat, right?
Another great reason to use social media is to leverage the content on your website. By promoting your new content via social media it will give access to your content to potentially thousands of people that wouldn’t otherwise know about it. This may also increase the amount of back-links to your site as well as the length of time visitors stay on your website. If you are able to track these visitors you may also get a better idea of what percentage of clicks or sales to expect if you were to run a promotion or sales campaign.
Google uses your Google+ profile to often improve the ranking of your website, as long as the two are linked clearly. With Google+ you need to ensure that you specify your author rel info in the meta tags of the site (the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin has this option) as well as specify that you’re an author for your website in your Google+ settings. A few days after doing this, you should see google searches for your website showing your G+ image beside them along with how many people have you circled. This can improve rankings.
Bing supposedly does the same thing with Facebook, however we have yet to see a direct relationship between the two in actual search results. It still doesn’t hurt to fully complete your social media profile info to ensure any potential tie-ins like this are fully realized.
If you plan on opening a business Twitter, Facebook, or other social media account it is important to use them. If you do not plan on using your accounts, you are better off without them. If potential customers find you through an outdated social media profile, it may cause more harm than good if they try to contact you and don’t get a response.
If you aren’t getting notifications from your social media accounts, then be sure to check them at least once a day to stay on top of any activity. Alternatively, consider not opening certain accounts if you don’t have the time to maintain them. You can also have a professional take care of your social media for you.
Software like HootSuite and Buffer can help you save time and enjoy using social media by combining multiple actions, such as posting on each profile individually, into one by having you post only once then sharing your post to all forms of social media you’ve connected to the service.
HootSuite can also help by providing real-time search over your Twitter and Facebook feeds. This can help you keep ‘in the game’ if your potential customers are talking about products or services related to yours. Check out the help info on the HootSuite website for more details.
You might think you can simply save time by linking a Facebook and Twitter account (for example). While this is true, you’re also likely to annoy your followers. How? By posting inaccessible and vague content. For example, posting images to Facebook results in an automatic tweet saying “I posted an image to Facebook” with a link to your Facebook profile. Many on Twitter purposefully avoid Facebook links, often the link requires they sign in with Facebook credentials (rather then redirecting to the app on a mobile device) and the content of that tweet is completely useless in that it doesn’t indicate what the photo contains!
Why irritate your followers unnecessarily when you could avoid the majority of these issues by using HootSuite or Buffer? (See above for more info)