More and more brands are using social media to promote and grow their business. Small businesses that don’t have an advertising budget can easily hop on the online networks to give away valuable goods that require little out-of-pocket cost for them.
So, how can you go one step further to acquire more customers? Simply put, you need to be socially active all the time. Here are 5 ways:
There are more than 300 million tweets sent daily. Chances are, your brand is talked about on occasion. People don’t need to reference you using your Twitter handle or a hashtag. That would be too easy, wouldn’t it? They can talk about you in plain conversation…so be proactive and look for it!
For instance, if two people are discussing which restaurant to go to for dinner, and you’re mentioned, how about chiming in (as subtle as possible) with a special your restaurant is having to sway them in your direction?
Use a third-party tool to search for your name because Twitter’s search feature is not so great. I’d highly recommend TweetDeck, which finds tweets whether or not people have used hashtags for your particular search item.
2. Use Images
Post photos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, etc. Photos generate about 40% more engagement than text alone, according to Facebook’s infamous EdgeRank.
When posting to Twitter, use TwitPic and describe the image using hashtags if you can. You can gain followers (and potentially new customers) if other people are in search of your keywords.
I’m also loving Instagram these days. This iPhone, and now Android, photo app takes awesome pictures, and there’s a whole Instagram community out there. It’s free, so why not play around with it to promote what’s happening in your business? You can post pictures of virtually anything related to your line of work.
3. Host a Competition
If you’re a college campus trying to increase engagement around school, using Pinterest to have current and potential students pin pictures of college life and submit their boards. Give something away that’s meaningful, promotes your business, and is low-cost to you, like swag.
If you’re running a contest where people need to enter via Facebook, you could give an additional entry for every “friend” they share the contest with.
The average Facebook user has 130 friends, so imagine the reach you’d have. And it’s no additional cost to you.
The caveat, of course, is that its got to be a contest worth sharing. Meaning, the incentive (the prize) has to be valuable enough to your target audience for them to want that additional entry. And always get their email address in the process. The worth of a business is how many people they can ultimately reach.
4. Be Versatile Across Networks
There are so many social platforms out there, and although you probably don’t need (or want) to be on all of them, if you are, send different messages through each. Meaning, don’t post the same information on all channels. If you do, people may not feel the need to follow you on each network. Offer “Twitter” only or “Facebook” only exclusives so that there is a need to follow and like you on everywhere.
5. Be Personal
Often, businesses ignore negative feedback because they don’t want to draw more attention to it. That’s the opposite of what you should be doing. Address each comment head on because that is the only way you will have a chance at rectifying the situation.
Be personal with your customer and do whatever you reasonably can to get them to try your establishment again.
Remember, positive reviews are great, but negative reviews can hurt your business 10-fold. People over-share negative experiences and under-share positive ones.
When you receive praise, briefly thank your customer for the time they took to leave the positive comments. They’ll appreciate you for it and be more inclined to re-visit in the future.
If someone tweets about it being their birthday, wish them a happy birthday and invite them to come in for a free dessert (if you’re a restaurant, of course). This goes a long way for your fans.
They realize you’re listening and are considerate enough to offer a good experience for them. In this way, you help them develop a positive association with your brand, even if they’ve never had a direct experience with you or take you up on that offer.
Got any more tips? Add them in the comments below!