If you have a business chances are you have been struggling with the idea of just how social media can grow your business. Although the buzz right now is using the various platforms to reach out and connect with your client base, for most of us the very concept of moving beyond the daily work of our business is mind-boggling.
The choices of what to use and how to use social media can be overwhelming and so we usually end up just not doing anything at all. Even if you plan to have someone else do the heavy lifting of daily updates, the idea of making a choice can be the big stumbling block. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some examples from other business of how to use social media to expand your reach and grow even in a slow economy.
Interaction is Crucial
Many small businesses think that if they have a Facebook page they have mastered how to use social media, but it needs to go beyond this. A good example is Smashburger, a small regional chain that began with three locations in Denver back in 2007 and grew its clientele until today it has 150 outlets across the nation. They decided on how to use social media networks to grow by building their presence on Facebook with coupons and contests.
These are great, especially when they are user-generated concepts. They added Twitter to the mix and their Facebook page grew to 67,000 followers. They also did an on-going reach-out campaign to food bloggers inviting them to guest on their sites when they opened up new outlets in their area. This is a great example of using multiple platforms of social media networks to gain traction for increasing your sales.
Set Goals and Stick to Them
Another example of how to use social media successfully is by setting goals when you make the decision to add social media networks to your marketing campaign. It can be as simple as saying you are going to try to increase sales by 15% through a coupon campaign and give-away contest. A good example of how to use social media networks is inviting your customer’s to sell your product to others by having them contribute to the Facebook page.
Brian Henry and his wife make and sell a specialty cheese spread. When they started off, they simply showed the cheese on the site and although sales were okay, it wasn’t really catching on the way they wanted it to. They decided to really up the ante and gave themselves two years to build a community around their product. They began posting customer recipes, giving away T-shirts, running cheese trivia contests and created an area on their Facebook page to answer questions about buying, storing and serving cheese. This is when their site began to catch fire. Sales went from a little over 500,000 in 2009 when they stated their campaign to 2.1 million in 2011. The key is they had built a community that loved cheese and wanted to share their stories about it, and they did it within their deadline.
Social Media Networks Include Blogs
For many business owners, blogs are the forgotten part of the social media network and yet blogs are an essential ingredient in that marketing plan. But a haphazard blog can often do more harm than good. Just as you should have a goal in mind with your Facebook page, decide how to use social media with what you want for your blog. This is the perfect vehicle to really reach out and gain the trust of your site visitors, but to do it you have to earn it.
Don’t always talk about business on your blog, add some personal touches. Are you a real estate agent who loves to garden? Talk about this in your blog. Remember that only one out of four posts should even be about selling or your business product directly. The others are information of value to your visitors, personal stories to connect and tidbits or helpful hints that are related to your business.
Restaurants post recipes, but if you are an Italian Restaurant and your family is from Italy, why not share that with your site visitors? Use a blog to connect to your potential customers, and post as often as possible. Post every day if you can, this gives them a reason to keep coming back. And repost those posts on Facebook and Twitter.
As you can see this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding out how to use social media to build your business. The basic building blocks continue to be your business blog, Facebook and Twitter, but don’t leave out Pinterest if you have a business that will focuses on the visual such as a real estate agent, dress store or a home decorator. There are social media networks that follow niches such as Zillow and ActiveRain for real estate or how about a site like GirlSense about fashion if you have a women’s retail store? Get creative, there are so many ways to reach out to a potential client out there on the web. Be brave, and they will find you.