Small business owners can benefit from adding in social media marketing to their online efforts. There are currently over 70 million active business pages on Facebook, having a presence on social media platforms is essential to help customers learn about a business and aid in potentially making a decision to purchase.
The proper use of social media tools can both drive direct sales and, more importantly, build and enhance long-term customer relationships.
Here are some ways to make social media marketing work for your small business:
- Offer special coupons or discounts. Provide special offers to social media followers. Not only will they be glad they follow your company, but they may also share those offers with others, expanding your social media fan base in the process. Just make sure those offers are for a limited time.
- Create product or service videos. Videos posted to social media channels such as YouTube and Facebook are great, and inexpensive ways to highlight your products, provide how-to information, and spread the word about your brand. Videos need not be formal or professionally produced. In some cases, the more "amateur" your video appears, the more credibility you gain. Another great service for marketing your business and product online through video is utilizing Facebook Live or Instagram Live.
- Extend special services to followers. Customers who interact with your business on social media tend to be loyal, satisfied customers. Reward them: Create a customer appreciation event. Make the event worthwhile, and you not only cement the relationship with current customers, but you can also create incentives for potential customers to follow and interact with your company.
- Run contests or other events. Have a contest to give away a product. To be eligible, customers must visit your website or like one of your company pages on social media in order to enter the contest. Spread the news of the contest through Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. People are much more likely to share the information with their friends through social media than through other means since sharing is incredibly easy. In the meantime, you drive traffic directly to your website.
- Expand search results. More and more people search for products, services, reviews and other information on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest. A presence on these social media sites can place your company higher on search results lists.
How do you know if your social media marketing efforts are paying off? The simplest way is to create promotions that are tied directly to the social media you use. For example, if you run a special and publicize that event on Facebook, you can tie increased sales directly to your Facebook campaign. The same is true with coupons; create a coupon specific to the social media you use and track the results.
Finally, keep social media marketing in perspective, and use other direct-response marketing strategies as well. As with any type of marketing, experiment then evaluate your results and try new tactics when ones you are using don’t work. Over time you can refine your social media marketing campaigns to drive direct sales better and build longer-term relationships with your customers.