Using Social Media to Find Customers
As a small business owner, the race to gain an audience may seem like an obvious goal. But before you jump onto the social media bandwagon it is important to develop a solid strategy because, without one, mistakes can be made.
Top Three Tips for finding customers through social media:
1. Realize that social media is a big time commitment.
Social media is free and it is where customers' congregate, but it takes a lot of time. You have to be willing to make a serious time commitment and stick with it. Many people underestimate that effort and time requirement associated for an effective social media campaign. If you put something out on social media, it does not always go viral. To be effective with social media, you need to post regularly with quality content and support your social media campaigns. If you have a twitter account, for example, you need a blog so that your tweets can have links that visitors can click on to reach your blog articles, and ultimately your website or shopping cart. If you post on Facebook, on the other hand, you need to do it regularly and post quality content so that you encourage visitors and engagement to build a community. On Facebook you can post videos, links, and comments, but more often than not, an effective Facebook campaign consists of relevant posts in "first person"—posts that are engaging, entertaining, personal, and timely.
2. Provide value to enlist followers.
Ultimately social media is about delivering value to people. The companies that use social media effectively have followers because they deliver information that is useful. If you look at Facebook, Twitter and blogs, for example, people that use them effectively do it by delivering useful messages and information which encourages people to tune-in. Any business owner worth their salt knows people love to get something for free. The question is…. is what you are handing out through social media enticing enough?
Delivering value to people is the ultimate goal. Effective marketers have followers because those followers see a benefit and recognize the value.
3. Go where your customers go.
One of the fundamentals of successful marketing is having a clear picture of "who" you are going to target. This includes knowing your target audiences' behaviors, their patterns of usage, and most importantly—where they congregate. And this is the same situation in social media. Just because you launched a LinkedIn or FourSquare campaign, does not necessarily mean that you will gain customers from those campaigns. This is especially the case if your target audience does not visit those social media sites in large numbers. LinkedIn and Foursquare are wonderful tools, but they attract certain demographics. Don't use Facebook or LinkedIn if your target audience is not using those tools.
Who is your target audience?
First of all, decide "who" you are going to target and then you can decide where to find those people.
Making a mark in the social media world can result in a huge pay off for small business owners, but it is important to know your limitations and plan for them. Using social media takes effort so it is important to determine if your target audience is using social media tools and which ones they frequent. Know these facts prior to launching a social media campaign. Social media can be a positive investment for small business owners if it is planned beforehand with an effective, well-planned strategy.
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