Many businesses think that creating a social media presence is a difficult task, full of dangerous pitfalls. I will be the first to agree that businesses need to have a plan before jumping into the mysterious world of social media, yet it’s not nearly as difficult as you might think. I have created a few basic guidelines that should be followed – **all of them revolve around common sense. **
If I walk into Best Buy looking for a TV, do you think I might be able to receive assistance from a salesman? If I asked an employee a question, should I expect a response? Of course! Likewise, you must view your Facebook page or Twitter account as your storefront. People have questions, it’s your job to answer them!
Many businesses also don’t realize the power of asking questions. The days of costly focus groups are over, instead, questions should be broadcast on social media sites – chances are your fans are willing to answer your questions, but have you asked them for their input?
On a final note, Facebook is currently rolling out a Questions Application, which will allow you to collect quantitative information about what your customers like (or don’t like).
2. Provide Value
I hope I don’t offend any of you, but the truth of the matter is that people don’t like when you **constantly talk about your product or service. **Instead, provide value to your customers. I advise my clients to post articles, videos, or news about their area of expertise. Inform your customers about the fine print and educate them! Be a resource of information to your customers, you will be rewarded. Stop selling, start informing.
As I read articles about social media, I am constantly seeing the phrase, “engage your audience.” I am a very simple-minded person, but the word “engage” seems very unemotional and boring. Although social media platforms are very structured, businesses must make every effort to set themselves apart from their competition. Customize your page – add applications like Wix, Wufoo, and North Social to make your social media presence unique! Captivate your audience.
Do you want more people to follow your product or service? Start rewarding them. Although I don’t suggest destroying your business by giving all your product away, relocate money from your advertising and marketing budget to properly reward the people who are willing to interact with your business.
Imagine when you were a young child. You may not have been the most compliant child, but when offered a happy meal at McDonalds in return for exceptional behavior at the dentist’s office – you were an angel. Don’t complicate social media – incentives are a great way to reward your customers…..and gain new ones. Set up a landing tab on Facebook, encouraging visitors to “like” your page. **Reward people who are willing to interact with you. ****
In his new book, The Thank You Economy, Gary Vaynerchuk provides compelling examples of how businesses should treat its customers. He references how social media has brought back one-on-one conversations between a business and its customers. I find this to be very exciting – businesses can now leverage social media to communicate more efficiently and effectively with customers, allowing the opportunity to create lasting, memorable experiences.
For example, I noticed that a woman posted on a businesses’ Facebook page how she loved the exceptional service that they provided, yet was disappointed that “her flowers were trampled.**” **Imagine how excited she would be if she received a gift card to the local flower shop from this business. She would tell her friends and family about how great the customer service was, and how they exceeded her expectations. The truth is that these opportunities are available all the time, you just need to look!
On the contrary, negative experiences can ignite quickly, sparking a wildfire of negativity for your business. Ten years ago, if I had a poor experience at the local diner, I would probably mention it to a few of my friends**. **With sites like Facebook and Twitter, I can now broadcast my negative experience to hundreds of my friends and connections.
Caring for your customers needs to be genuine, go above and beyond what is expected and don’t bind yourself to a one-size-fits-all approach.