This article first appeared on my LinkedIn Profile and is posted here for my readers’ convenience.
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs believe that social media is a waste of time, and it truthfully can be if not used correctly: without a plan, a purpose, and a goal. When you view it from the perspective that social media is content and conversation you’ll more quickly understand why all types of businesses today should have some type of social media presence online. If you own a local flower shop or bakery, for example, you can benefit from having a Facebook, Google+ page and/or a Twitter account.
Running Promotions via Social Media
One of the key advantages of social media is that it operates in real time. Once you write your post or status update it displays on your timeline immediately. This means that you can create promotions that are tailored to your audience.
How could the bakery mentioned above benefit from social media? The dinner hour is approaching and you have loaves of fresh bread and perhaps some pastries, still available. Just as people are getting ready to head home and think about dinner, you can post a special offer or a reminder to stop by your bakery. This method works extremely well on Twitter as well.
Most people today are always connected to the internet and check messages regularly. The reaction to Facebook being down for only half-an-hour recently was enlightening. People panicked, went into withdrawal symptoms, called news media, etc. By posting at the right time of day you can plant suggestions and solutions that will have customers walking in to your business.
Promote Coupons and Special Discounts
If you are running a special offer you can post this on your Facebook page and reach your audience without having to physically mail anything out. This can result in significant savings to you and your business. This is why social media is one of the most economical forms of marketing.
You could even create a weekly or monthly coupon and post a new code each month. The customers and prospects who visit your page regularly and leave comments would get access to the code. In return they would receive a small free gift or a discount off their next purchase.
Customer Interaction and Customer Loyalty
Getting your customers involved in social media is a great way to build customer loyalty. Depending upon your business you can get customers to add photos of how they used one of your products.
You could also ask them to leave product or service reviews as well. This is a great way to get references and testimonials that will help grow your business, and one that many businesses fail to take advantage of.
Remember that social media is all about sharing. As a small business owner you want to promote your customers and other local businesses on your page.
For example, if a customer is looking for a product that you don’t have, then suggest another local retailer that may have the item. The customer and the other business owner will both appreciate your efforts. In the future they may both recommend your business to their friends and associates.
Don’t overlook how powerful social media can be. People love sharing their photos and stories. Try to turn your pages into a beehive of local activity for your community.
Yvonne A Jones is an Online Marketing Strategist|Small Business Mentor|Speaker|Author who supports small businesses and highly motivated entrepreneurs to increase their bottomline with online and offline marketing strategies as well as building strong customer relationships so they see real results.
For more social media and customer relationship marketing tips, visit www.YvonneAJones.com and pick up your free copy of “STOP Losing Your Best Customers: Time Tested Tips for Customer Retention” at www.RetainCustomersNow.com.