Using social media to get new business customers
It’s highly likely that your customers are using social media, either personally or professionally. If your business doesn’t have some form of social media presence, then there is a good chance your competition does. Your potential customers are actively listening but only your competition is speaking to them. Using social media the right way for your business can increase your chances of finding, talking to and convincing customers to trust your business for their next purchase.
Advantages of using social media in your business
The main benefits of creating a social media presence are:
- even the smallest business can reach large numbers of people in a short space of time
- you can listen to what customers are saying
- it’s easier to ask questions, validate ideas, respond to comments and build better relationships
- the core tools are free (until you start paying for extra services) so starting costs are very low.
Set yourself up for success by ensuring you post on a regular basis, take the time to participate in group discussions and set rules for staff when discussing controversial topics which customers may disagree with.
The benefits of gaining new customers over time usually outweigh the investment in time if you can be diligent and proactively manage any possible risks.
There are so many social media platforms to select from, to name a few, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, WeChat, Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr etc.
It can make your head spin. And this list doesn’t include all the industry and specialist social media sites.
To find ways to market your business using social media use these seven steps.
Step 1. Gain trust and demonstrate credibility
Social media is aimed at sharing and helping your audience, to gain trust and to demonstrate your expertise. It isn’t supposed to be a hard sell. Share information that helps solve a problem and post relevant information that demonstrates your expertise, not just a ‘half price, limited offer’ advert.
Step 2. Find the platform best for your business
Find out what social media your target market prefers or is active on (not the platform you use). If you have a website you may be able to monitor which channel is providing the most traffic via your website analytics to give you a clue. You can also check the primary function of each platform for example:
- Facebook is designed for personal sharing of life stories
- LinkedIn for business contacts
- Twitter for microblogging
- YouTube, Instagram and Flickr for sharing videos, photos and moments.
Don’t be afraid to switch channels if the results are not what you expected and it’s often useful to combine a number of platforms to get your message across.
Step 3. Build your online community
Ideally social media will help convert qualified leads to a customer, often requiring a number of stages. Build a community with regular activity such as:
- regularly posting insights relevant to your business and customers
- participating inside customer communities
- profiling and sharing relevant content
- reposting content from industry experts
- inviting people to join your group
- reaching out directly to connect
- running competitions, webinars or events
Once your social media engagement plans are in place, encourage contact by showcasing your business which could include photos of new products, profiling customers using a popular product, behind-the-scenes look into your company, good news stories of championing a cause or how you’re contributing to your community or industry.
"Pitfalls to watch out for include unfinished profiles, irregular posting, too much automated content, over-promotion and inconsistent messages."
Step 4. Consider paid advertising
If you can afford it, paid advertising using social media is a great way to attract your target audience and segment them into interest or activity groups. You can then profile your most popular posts so they reach a greater audience (not just people who follow you) and write ads that appear either in people’s newsfeeds, or in the side bars of social media sites. Paid advertising can help identify potential customers and complement your customer acquisition through your social media activity.
Step 5. Change if it’s not working
Like any marketing strategy, social media should be carefully planned and well executed to avoid undoing all your time and effort. Pitfalls to watch out for include unfinished profiles, irregular posting, too much automated content, over-promotion and inconsistent messages. If something isn't working, ask yourself why - it may not be right for your audience, or there may be smarter ways of doing it.
Step 6. Keep an eye on the competition
Take some time to see how your competitors are using their social media accounts. It'll help you know what you're up against. You can even see how they’re using advertising with Facebook, underneath the "Info and Ads" tab on any Facebook business page. Seeing the type of content and promotions that they share can give you marketing ideas, find your point of difference and communicate it.
Step 7. Track results and amend
Tracking social media performance data is the best way to identify which of your tactics are working and which are not. Most social media networks have tools you can use to measure your results. A few social media KPI’s (key performance indicators) to watch for are growth, engagement and sharing. But if you don't have time to do this, there are many cost-effective dashboards that offer content scheduling and performance analytic services.
- research which social media platforms your customers use
- schedule regular posts with comments, updates, images or events
- join social media groups and communities
- regularly re-evaluate your goals and experiment with new types of content on different networks.
We hope you found this helpful! Contact your TD Account Manager or find an account manager near you to see how we can help get you where you want to be.
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