How to make social media work for your business?

social_media_platesListening to the buzz about social media and want to explore it for your brand but still cannot make up your mind.

May be you have already set up accounts on Facebook and twitter and want to take it forward. Here is how to do it.

1. Think

Invest some time (30minutes, an hour or 1 full day) to think about your customers. Time to be invested depends on size of your business and time on your hands. Ask yourself these questions;

  • Who you do you sell to (consumers or business)?
  • Who makes the buying decision for your product or service?
  • What is the way you reach the buyers of your products currently?
  • If you sell to consumers then ask who they are (young, old, male, female, and income level)?
  • What influences their buying decision?
  • Why they buy what they buy? (for prestige, utility, growth, to save money or something else)
  • What is the information that can help them make an intelligent purchase?

Answer to these question will help you craft your message (the updates you will share on these networks).

Also think about spaces online that your existing and potential customers frequent – Facebook, Twitter or your local daily deals website.

2. Explore

See how your competitors are doing it? What is being done in your industry globally? Also explore what is working for them. Are there examples that have generated sales in a short period using this medium?

3. Create

Given the sheer size of networks like Facebook and Twitter it is likely that some of your customers will be online in these spaces. Add a mix of SlideShare to showcase and share your presentations; LinkedIn to create a professional presence that can help you win business and also attract potential hires. Putting images online on Flickr will make sure that your brand is seen when people search for images of brands or products like yours.

4. Share

With your employee, friends, family and request them to sign up to these pages, make it voluntary though.

5. Get permission

Add a signup form for a newsletter on your website — use MailChimp’s service for this; it is currently free for up to 1000 subscribers. If you participate in exhibitions and expos put newsletter subscription forms there to enable sign-up for your newsletter.

6. Increase subscriptions

Increase the subscription rate by providing some incentive (gift) for those who sign up. If you anticipate that too many people will sign-up, announce a lucky draw. As a prize, you can offer a small ticket item of your company for 3 subscribers. On website you can offer a free eBook for those who sign up.

7. Showcase Social Proof

When you create a reasonable number of facebook fans or twitter followers for your brand, showcase the numbers on your website to entice more users to follow. Focus on collecting customer testimonials through various channels like (online) store front, website, and exhibition participation.

8. Give first, ask later

On twitter or facebook or email newsletter — maintain a good signal vs. noise ratio. Do not send out more than one promo per month. Maintain 1:12 ration, 1 point promotion for 12 points of value.

9. Increase traffic

Add a blog to your website, write yourself or put somebody at work to write a post or two a week — relevant to your customers.

10. Use existing resources

If your company is small, it should not be a deterrent for your social media efforts; just assign this responsibility to a social media junkie (some who has had reached 5000 fan limit on facebook and is aware about all upcoming social networks) from your existing resources. This can be a teenage family member as well.

11. Take help

While you do this, ask a friend, who understands the medium well, for feedback. If you have resources then take professional help. If you do not want to invest much then at least invest in a 1-2 day social media workshop. Better you do it after you have done it for a while yourself. This way you will get better ROI and you will learn more as you would already have figured out your challenges.

Why do it?

Still thinking? Think once and then just do it. It helps you to move ahead with times. Social media should not be your core activity but something that helps you either grow your top line or bottom line; help you connect better with your customers.

To your success.

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