by Debi Enders
Between fears of security breaches and unfavorable customer comments, some small-business owners shy away from social media for their companies. But what are they missing out on?
A recent Pew Research Center study found that seven in 10 Americans now have at least one social media profile. Businesses that lack an online presence, in other words, are missing out on direct access to their customers and the chance to build brand awareness, enhance loyalty and, most important, increase sales.
Ready to take the plunge? Here are some tips to get started.
1) Start with a plan.
Set goals and objectives that will make a real impact on your business. Acquiring new customers or introducing new merchandise, for example, is more valuable than gaining “likes.” Create a social media calendar to track dates for creating and posting content.
2) Choose platforms that make sense for your business.
Consider your customer demographics and choose the social media platforms in which they are most likely to engage. B2B businesses, for example, may target LinkedIn, while retail businesses may need a Pinterest page.
3) Write meaningful content.
It’s critical to have content that is fresh, timely and appealing to your customers. Overt sales pitches are off-putting. Posts that teach, entertain and amaze are always in style.
4) Expand your audience.
Build your presence by using social media tools like hashtags, tagging and giveaways to attract new customers. Facebook, for example, makes it easy (for a price) for small businesses to “boost” posts and push them out to the demographic of their choosing. Ask for feedback and thoughtfully respond to criticism to create trusting relationships.
5) Piggyback on other activities.
Take advantage of national events like Small Business Saturday by running your own content in conjunction with them.
The bottom line: Social media is here to stay. Don’t miss out on an audience that’s ready and willing to connect with your brand.
Debi Enders (email@example.com) is vice president, small business banking at Commerce Bank.
Submitted 2 years 80 days ago