5 simple tips for businesses who want to get started on social media (part II)
In the first part of this blog post, I described how to get started on social media and begin talking to your customers online. In the second part of this blog post, I describe how to develop long-term relationships with social media users and foster better business insight through social media.
Step 3: Establish long-term relationships
Companies that ‘dip a toe’ into social media are often disappointed by a lack of return. Tweeting details of new products or adding some fresh messaging on LinkedIn doesn’t necessarily mean a corresponding surge in sales. While special offers and first-come, first-served promotions have their place and can even deliver short-terms win, social media is best executed as a long game. It’s also important to respond to customer queries on social media in a timely manner.
If you operate on multiple social media networks, developing lasting relationships can become time-consuming. There’s no need to spend all day on social media; instead consider it a small but essential part of your working day.
If you are an expert within a particular area, you could set aside thirty minutes out of every day to converse with other experts on one social media channel. These consistent conversations will draw traffic towards your company page and will also provide you with a source of information for your posts.
A good rule of thumb is: it’s worth managing one network really well, rather than several networks on a piecemeal basis.
Step 4: Encourage customer engagement
Social media is about starting conversations as well as joining them. Regular conversations with customers will provide you with greater customer insight and help inform your social media posts.
There are a number of things you can do to start conversations and increase engagement. You can:
- Offer special promotions and discounts for people who comment on a discussion on your Facebook page.
- Post links to your blog posts on relevant Google+ groups and ask members for feedback.
- Cite new product features and announcements on Twitter and tweet details to relevant people in your industry.
- Pin interesting content that relates to your brand from the boards of customers you follow on Pinterest.
- Run product related polls on a LinkedIn group and ask members of this group for advice.
- Announce details of your social media activity on your company newsletter or website.
- Link to your social media pages on all communications materials.
Step 5: Let social media inform your business
Social media can provide a company with low-cost market research and the type of customer insight that was once the sole preserve of big business. You can also use social media to track the progress of customers, leads and business partners by following their LinkedIn page, Twitter stream or relevant social media channel. And you can use social media, to follow your competition and keep up to date with industry trends.