5 Reasons Small Businesses Should Embrace Social Media Marketing

social-media-marketingSocial media marketing allows businesses to directly connect with their existing customers and work toward developing new customers through a medium that is used by the majority of people today on a daily basis.

The people that are using social media will include your customers, as well as your prospective customers. Unlike traditional methods of communication between the company and the customer, social media marketing allows you to connect with your customers in a much more dynamic manner, significantly improving response time.

An important point to keep in mind is that in order to attract prospects, convert them into paying customers and build the relationship so they become repeat customers, you will need to employ multiple types of marketing strategies. There is no one marketing strategy that’s going to effectively cover all of those areas and social media marketing in only one of them.

The following are 5 reasons small businesses should embrace social media marketing:

1. Social Media Marketing can help potential customers find your business

Through social media someone can locate or discover new things on their own which means that your business website could ‘accidentally’ be found while they are performing their everyday online tasks. In turn, they could contact your website to learn more, and increase the possibility of becoming a customer. In addition, because social media sites promote communication and sharing between the people who use them, this allows the user to share information about a product or service they like with their friends.

2. Social media marketing allows your business to raise its brand awareness

Social media platforms allow a company to spread its brand’s information all over the Internet. Potential viewers could see your brand in image form, in online videos, in discussions between users and via your company’s website.  They will also be able to learn more about your brand when they perform an online search. The more that people hear, read or see your brand, the better the chance that it will stick in their mind.

3. Social media marketing allows you to build customer trust and loyalty

One of the best ways to increase your customer’s trust in your company is to speak with them directly, as though you were a friend rather than a business. Social media allows your company to do exactly that. Direct interactions and contact with customers that’s engaging, interesting and co-operative both help to build customer trust and create customer loyalty.

Make your customers feel appreciated on a social media platform that they use every day, and you will see an increase in repeat customer transactions!

4. Social media allows you to interact with your customers

This is closely tied in with #3. With social media you can do more than just showcase your latest advertisements to your customers. It lets you interact with them. Online users are always bombarded by banners and advertisements, so they want to see something different. Rather than just shoving an advertisement at them, you can use social media to deliver your message in an engaging, interactive and far less aggressive manner.

You can have a talk with your customers and they can talk back. You can use social media to find out your customer’s opinions, ideas and desires, and then you can use the information to deliver it to them.

5. Social media is a great way to perform market research

Interactive online media platforms allow you to listen to what your customers have to say when it comes to products and services. You can then use this information to improve your product or service, and in turn, share these improvements with your customers. Few things offer your business a chance for such easy insight into your specific market.

These are only some of the benefits associated with social media marketing, but small businesses can no longer afford to ignore social media marketing.  For the busy business owner or entrepreneur it can be confusing and challenging so I invite you to schedule a Complimentary Breakthrough Strategy Session with me to discuss how you can incorporate social media marketing into your business.

Are the Six Most Expensive Words Killing your Business

We've always done it that way

The term “microwave generation” has been applied to our society of people who want what they want NOW.  Information is readily available literally at their fingertips and in the palm of their hands.  What does this mean for the business owner?  Business as usual is no longer going to be effective and the idea of ‘We’ve always done it that way…” is no longer going to be acceptable. These six most expensive words could be killing your business!

How does this affect Customer Care?

There are some benefits to doing business the way you did it in the past, but these have to evaluated individually.  For example, in the past small business owners found it easier to connect with their customers and build a one-on-one relationship with them.  A lot of that intimacy may have been lost as more people do business online or over the phone.  So what’s required?

1)       An active online presence, which includes having a user-friendly website that provides information on your products and services.  Depending on the type of business you have, research shows that visitors would prefer if you have information right there on the website, perhaps a section for Frequently Asked Questions so that they can get information without always having to make a phone call to speak with a person.

2)      Finding out where online your customers and prospects hang out and make sure that you’re on those platforms to answer questions, add value, and position yourself as an expert in your niche.

3)      While you do not have to spend large chunks of your day on social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn; it makes sense to have a basic schedule of what you will do in the limited time you spend there and the kind of content you will share to educate your prospects and customers.

4)      In order to restore a measure of intimacy so you get to know your customers, ask for feedback and try to get them involved in what you’re doing.  At the same time, share, to the extent you feel comfortable, some information about yourself so they get to know, like and trust you.

5)      Customers do not want to wait for days for a reply.  They want it as soon as possible so it’s your responsibility to explore what channels you’ll use to deliver exceptional customer service, always keeping in mind the goal of customer/client retention.

“We’ve always done it that way” could be killing your business unless you analyze and evaluate what’s working and what you need to change to meet the demands of your customers so you deliver superior customer care.

Are you losing your customers? Do you know someone who is? You may download my Special Report: “STOP Losing Your Best Customers: Time-Tested Tips to Grow Your Business with Customer Retention.” Please forward to a friend who may find value in this information.

 

Why Make Time to Keep in Touch with Customers

keep in touchSmall business owners often wear many hats and are very busy.  Even if there is a small staff in place, a great deal of the decision-making and general day-to-day business operations fall of their shoulders.  It’s easy for some things to get lost or be given a lower priority.

One of the things that often get pushed down on the list is making time to keep in touch with customers.  The thing is that keeping in touch with customers should be given as much priority as Marketing and Sales.  Why is this so important?

  • Keeping in touch with your customers on a consistent basis builds the relationship and creates a bond that affects the emotions.  Your customers will get to know like and trust you even more.  When your customers are emotionally attached to you they’re less likely to defect to your competition.
  • Keeping in touch works in tandem with Marketing and Sales.  In fact, it can contribute to effective marketing because surveys and feedback from your current customers empower you to identify what’s working and what may need to be improved in your marketing strategy.  At the same time, your sales will improve as your customers become repeat buyers.  You also have an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell.
  • Many small business owners struggle with consistency.  They may intend to contact their customers on a regular basis, say two times per month or even once per month but they become distracted so that months may go by with no contact.  The effect of this is that you will be perceived as being unreliable and your customers could lose trust in you.  Since recapturing lost trust is very challenging, making a schedule and sticking to it is important.
  • When you keep in touch with customers it gives you an opportunity to educate them and position yourself as the expert in your market.  Let your customers know what you’re doing in your business.  Large corporations have credited the success of some of their products to the suggestions and recommendations of their customers as they kept them updated during product creation.
  • If you’re a speaker, share with your customers where you will be speaking.  If you’re sponsoring an event or doing something in your community share that with them.  People want to see  and come to know who you are as a person, not just the business side. 

It takes time to stay in contact with your customers, so this is something that has to be included in your formal schedule of activities.  It cannot be left to chance.  Building relationships with your customers when you keep in touch with them on a regular basis will help to bridge the gap between your efforts to attract them and retaining them on a long-term basis.

 

Building Customer Relationships – a Priority for Long-Term Success

build relationship with customersBuilding customer relationships is of utmost importance.  Businesses know that their competition will gladly service their customers if they fail to do so correctly.

Customer attraction is rarely an issue because companies, large and small, are well-equipped with sales and marketing strategies that attract new clients and customers.  This is evidenced by the volume of offers most residents receive in their mail boxes.  And some of these offers can be quite enticing.  From banks offering appliances or Gift Cards to communication providers offering up to $250 Gift Cards, it can become challenging for individuals and businesses to remain loyal to their current provider or bank.

Failure to build strong relationships with customers is a mistake!  Michael Denisoff, Business Consultant; some time ago noted that all successful small businesses–regardless of what they do or sell–have one thing in common:
their owners know how to build and maintain relationships.  He continued, “Without strong relationships, it is impossible to have success as a business owner.”

Like any other relationship, building strong relationships with your clients and customers, as well as vendors and suppliers, all of whom have a stake in your business, take time and work.  However, once all of these stakeholders recognize that you’re serious about cultivating the relationship and are willing to enhance the value you bring to them, you’ll find that you’ve built a community that will be loyal to you.

Think about it: If you had a friend and the only time you contacted him or her was when you were in distress and needed their help, how long do you believe that friendship would hold up?  Eventually your friend would begin to see you as a ‘user’ who only contacts her when you need something.

The same is true for your business.   In building customer relationships here are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Have I set up a database of my customers with as much information as possible?
  • Do I have a system in place so that I contact my customers on a regular basis?
  • Is my system flexible so that I can add notes from conversations I, or any member of my team, have with customers for effective follow-up where necessary?
  • Do I ask for feedback from my customers so that they feel that they have an active part in the growth and success of my company?
  • Do I carefully listen to the feedback objectively and seek to implement where necessary?

It’s important to remember that as business owners, we’re often so close to our business regardless of the size and scope, that others can often see what we cannot.  In addition, your customers need to be made to feel they are important to your business.  The reality is that they are.  So by seeking their feedback, listening, and implementing where necessary, you’ll be building and cementing the relationship with your customers.

What steps have you taken to build or continue building customer relationships with your customers and suppliers?

3 Ways to Create an Online Reputation that Attracts Your Ideal Customers

threeThe importance of creating an online reputation that attracts your ideal customers and clients cannot be underestimated. Advancement in technology makes the world a smaller place because of the various means of communication.   The Internet makes it possible to impact and be impacted by people ‘on the other side of the world’ at the drop of the proverbial hat.

You know that people do business with people they know, like and trust; therefore, it’s important that as part of managing your online reputation and allowing people get to know you, you create products that educate them, not only on what you do, but also provide information that answer their burning questions. You can do this in the following ways:

  1. Article Marketing: Article Marketing is constantly evolving, and is still a valuable way to acquaint people with what you do and build your personal brand. It’s a good way to let your ideal customers know how you can help them with the questions they have and the problems they’re seeking a solution to. The Resource Box is valuable real estate that should be used to lead them to learn more about you and the solution you provide.Another advantage of Article Marketing is that you can submit your content to multiple article directories where they can serve to attract your ideal customers that are outside of your normal sphere.  You also build your online reputation based on the excellent information you share in your articles.
  1. Blogging: Blogging, like Article Marketing, is a way to educate your audience. Becoming part of the blogosphere allows you to connect with your customers – you can answer their questions and address their pain points. By having a comment box that is active on your blog, this allows your customers and potential questions to ask you specific questions and for you to provide specific answers.  You can also expand on your answer by writing a blog post that can benefit even more people. It also allows you to get your name out to others bloggers and connect with them and build a relationship.The key is to blog about content that will appeal to you ideal customers. This will help to create an online reputation that attracts your ideal customers and make them want to learn more from you.
  2. Monitor what others are saying about you:The people who become customers usually do so after they’ve spent some time getting to know you.  They may do this through opting into your list and receiving emails from you.  Or they may get to know you through social media posts.  However, all the goodwill that may have been built up over time can be destroyed in a moment by malicious or derogatory comments on your blog or social media platforms.Monitoring mentions of your name and company name online are a must!  One free way to do this is by setting up Google Alerts for your name and the name of your business.  There are also paid services that will monitor mentions like Beevolve which offers a 7-day trial.

Your reputation can attract your ideal customers or repel them, so it’s important to make sure that your online reputation serves you in a positive way.  Do you have questions, please contact me at http://yvonneajones.com and I’ll reply to you personally.