Social Media Does Matter
Would you open your business for the day and not turn on the lights? Would you prepare to greet your customers but not bother to unlock the front door or switch on the open sign? The same “of course not” theory applies to your social media efforts. If you are asking yourself why social media matters, think of it simply in terms of a common sense way of interacting with both existing, and potential new customers.
Keeping Up with Social Media
If your time is limited and your schedule is tight, try to carve out a few minutes at the beginning and end of your day for a quick social media coffee break. Pour yourself a cup of coffee as you begin your day and take a few moments to check your @mentions on Twitter and respond to them. While you are enjoying the pick me up from that first cup of office coffee, check your Facebook wall for new “likes” or comments. Reciprocate those posts with responses of your own. This sort of engagement not only shows your network that you are interested in what they have to say, but also that you value the time and effort they have taken to connect with your business. Retweet links in your Twitter timeline that are of interest to you or mention a valuable tweet to a follower so that they might engage with a potential new Twitter personality. By making this networking effort, you will not only grow your followers list, but you will also be encouraging the spread of your tweets. Each time that you extend the kindness of an unrequited tweet, you foster goodwill within your network towards your business. This “you scratch my back and I will scratch yours” mentality is one of the cornerstones of Twitter for business. The same theory applies to your end of day procedures. You would not think of locking up for the day without setting the security alarm. Train yourself to check your social media channels in the same way. A quick five or ten minutes at the end of the day can be rewarded significantly if it turns into increased sales during the rest of the workweek. Launching a new product the next day; take time to post the upcoming launch on your Facebook wall before you leave for the day. Have a new shipment just arrive; announce it on your Twitter page to drive sales for the following day. Not only do you help to build momentum for your sales goals, but you also allow your network and their followers to feel like they have received an insider’s view that not everyone else is privy to. That special feeling that comes from getting the inside scoop is another terrific way to build your followers.
Increase Your Followers
Another useful way to grow your following through social media is through the use of polls and questions. Whether you use one of Facebook’s Poll applications (http://www.facebook.com/OpinionPolls) or you use a third party site like Survey Monkey (http://www.surveymonkey.com) or Poll Daddy (http://www.polldaddy.com), giving visitors to your social media feeds the opportunity to have their opinions heard can be highly rewarding. A business that values the feedback of their customers is a business that is likely to be rewarded with ongoing loyalty. If you are able to include a creative or quirky angle to your questioning, you have the added benefit of a potential viral hit to your poll. Visitors to your Twitter page or Facebook wall are much more likely to share your poll if there is something catchy in it that will be of interest to their friends and associates.
Growing your social media presence and your following is all about engaging on a consistent basis in a way that is both interesting and rewarding. Think about what you react to online and use those same elements in your connections with your followers. Social media does not have to be the painful task that some business owners perceive it to be. It can be just as invigorating as that morning cup of caffeine and so much more rewarding when you see the results translated onto your bottom line profitability. What other form of advertising costs you nothing more than just a few minutes of your time each day, yet continues to reward your efforts with ongoing goodwill?