It’s time to stop trying to sell on social media and time to start networking. Many small business owners feel an urgency to sell, without realizing the real power of social media lies in the connections created.
What is the difference between social selling and social networking? Social selling is where direct revenue is the desired result. Businesses may spend a lot of time and money for a small click-through rate of less than 2% on Facebook or Twitter. However, when you think about using social media sites for networking, the Return on Investment (ROI) is much richer than just direct revenue. For small businesses, there are numerous other benefits and results that can be achieved. When small businesses network on social media, they increase their brand visibility, build relationships, and gain customer insights. In fact, DCA Virtual Business Support social media training talks about how social media is an extension of the old-school networking meeting.
When it comes to social networking, here are four means to achieve the best results.
Social media allows current and potential customers to follow your brand, post questions, or relay frustrations. JD Power found that 67% of customers now reach out to a brand on social media. Facebook publishes how quickly you respond to messages on your business profile. Set up your profile to indicate the parameters of your response time for your customers. Once you do, you have a chance to address any concerns quickly and in a timely manner. The accessibility of your company is beneficial for both you and your customers. You can provide solutions to problems that one may have with your company, service, or product. You can also suggest new products or services to solve problems that customers didn’t know they had.
The benefits of building trusting relationships with your customers are numerous. Customers who engage with brands on social media tend to spend 20-40% more according to Bain & Company. NM Insite says 71% of customers who receive a quick and effective response to support requests on social media are more likely to recommend that brand to others.
In many ways, social networking has replaced physical networking. The Aquity Group found that 94% of B2B buyers search for a company online before completing a sale. For B2C businesses, building your credibility helps customers trust your business. Customer service is not just answering phone calls. Have a dedicated employee for responding to posts made on social media. Let your current and potential customers know you care about what they have to say. When you build strong relationships, loyalty to your brand will increase.
Gain Customer Insights
Where can you discover the likes and the needs of your customers? On social media, of course! How your customers engage with the content you produce will demonstrate what they find appealing. It can also determine what needs your customers have yet to be filled. The likes, shares, and comments can even show you what information they look for or expect from your company. Paying attention to these details can help you further your relationships you are building.
There are many programs including most of the social media channels that will give you insights about your followers. This demographic information can help you produce relevant posts for your customers on your page. On Twitter, go to ads.twitter.com and pull down the analytics menu in the upper right. There, you can find the age groups, states and countries, and top interests of your followers. Instagram has the same tools next to your business profile name where the bar graph menu option is located. Along with location and gender and age, you can also see the days of the week and hours that your followers are most active.
Increase Brand Visibility
With platforms of millions of users, social media sites hold a unique mix of people. Some users are your past customers, some are current customers, some are potential customers, and most probably haven’t heard of you. This is your chance to showcase your brand and reach those potential customers.
When you post on social media, put the focus on helping people with their problem rather than selling. If you post the problem and provide a solution, you are more likely to get a response from potential customers than if you just post a link to purchase. Take care to frame your posts to project a positive image.
Be proactive in asking for reviews from your past and current customers. Many business owners don’t capitalize on the reviews capability on Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Positive reviews can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on your business. Inviting your customers to become personal brand ambassadors can grow your visibility as they introduce your brand to their friends and family.
Don’t Try to Be Everywhere on Social Media
Keep your focus on 2-3 main social media channels that meet your businesses’ target demographics. Each has their own unique audience and their own advantages. Finding the network that works best for your industry will help build connections and relationships over time. It’s important to carve out time for social media management within your company.
If you are a small business owner who does their own social media, now may be the time to sign up for our social media webinar. We can also gladly discuss a strategy if you need extra hand to help network on social media and balance your customer service. Network with us on Facebook – we’d love to get to know you!