Time and time again, we hear the rhetoric that social media is a must-have form of marketing for the modern business. But how can social networks be used to reach local customers and boost sales?
For small businesses that want to connect with local consumers, social media can get the job done when implemented correctly. However, you must first figure out which social media sites you should use and how to use them.
Know Which Networks Your Target Audience Is Using
The first thing to recognize is that different audiences will adopt different social networks as their primary source of information, and you need to identify which platforms your target market is using. For example:
* YouTube is the home to millions of videos and the perfect place to host your marketing videos
* Pinterest is an image sharing service that is working very well for businesses that supply products (such as wedding dresses, furniture, etc)
* Facebook is great for sharing videos, photos, links and blog posts. You can also use Facebook Apps and Tabs to host competitions and capture data
* Twitter is a good place to keep your customers updated with what is going on with your company, so be sure to post links to your blog and press releases here
* Google+ is relatively new but it has fantastic potential as both a social network and an SEO tool
These are just a few of the social networks available online today. You can waste a lot of time trying to be everywhere all of the time so spend a little time researching where your target market is most active and focus your efforts on those platforms.
Create, Engage and Interact
In order to grow your status through your social media profiles you need to regularly:
* Create meaningful content that will appeal to your audience
* Share this content via your social profiles
* Encourage your audience to share the content you have created
* Comment on and share content that your audience creates
* Respond quickly to all comments made by your audience – both compliments and criticisms
The more you engage with your online audience, the more likely they are to socialize with and buy from you. The more they socialize, the more likely they are to share your content with their own friends and associates.
It’s important to note that you should not use social media solely as a way to hard-sell to your audience. They will not share your content if you go this route. Social networks are about being sociable – and if you come across as being all about business then you will quickly lose fans and followers.