Social media is still a relatively new business tool – sites like Facebook and Twitter didn’t really take off until 2006. There are lots of people who blew it off as a fad, nothing more than a way for kids to keep in touch with each other, and assumed the sites would be down within a few years. But social media is here to stay. There are over a billion people on Facebook on any given day, sharing details of their lives, catching up with old friends, laughing at memes, and (and here’s the kicker) learning about new products and following their favorite brands.
Social media has become a new way for businesses to reach the masses. So how should you be using it?
- Social Listening – This is self-explanatory. Social Listening is where you gather relevant info about your customers. You can see what people are saying about your brand or store, see what potential customers are talking about, and see what products are popular with them. This can be done using a tool such as HootSuite or Hubspot, or by merely performing searches on various social media sites.
- Advertising – You can advertise with any social media site, and it’s cheaper than you think. First, do some research and see what social networks your customers are using. If you’re a B2B, then LinkedIn might be your best bet. Trying to drum up some consumer interest in your products or store? Facebook will help with that. Facebook tends to be our favorite when it comes to advertising, mainly because they make it so easy. We can create custom audiences around certain products. For instance, when we announced our newest exclusive product from Autel, we created an audience of mechanics that worked on commercial vehicles. When creating an ad, you have options based upon what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to get people to like your page? Are you trying to get lead info? Are you trying to get people on your website? Facebook has an ad format for each of those and more. You create your ad, set your timeline and budget, and you’re good to go. We’ve received thousands of page likes for less than $400 in the past, making this a tool most businesses can’t afford to pass up.
- Customer Support – Let’s face it. We live in a society obsessed with instant gratification. We see something we want online, we can order it and immediately go pick it up in the store. Want to watch a movie? Go place an order on Amazon, and you’ll be watching it on your TV in minutes. What better way to keep your customers happy than to give them a way to reach out to you instantly? We regularly hear through customers and end users through our social media accounts, allowing us to answer questions they may have or help them initiate a warranty repair in minutes.
- Reconnaissance – Remember, you’re not the only business using social media to reach customers. Your competitors are, too. A quick trip to their page will give you an idea of what they’re up to – what new products they’ve announced, what sales they’re running, etc. Don’t be shy about checking out your competition. It’ll help give you ideas on how to keep up, and even surpass, them and get customers in your doors and buying your products.
Now that we’ve gone over how to use social media for your business, let’s look at some of the benefits. Whether you’re a manufacturer or retail store, being on social media will help you build your brand recognition. An ad or post featuring your latest offerings will help create demand. Posting about an upcoming sale will get customers in your doors, and you’ll reach more people than you could with signage or flyers.
Speaking of reach, that’ll go way up. Email marketing is a tried and true practice, proven to help sell products and bring customers into stores. One of the most frequently used measures of success in email marketing is the size of your mailing list. Now let’s look at that in a different way. If 3,000 people liked your Facebook page or followed you on Twitter, they’d be seeing everything you posted, right? That’s pretty similar to a mailing list, isn’t it? Think of your page likes/follows as a mailing list and your posts as an email. Add in some custom and lookalike audiences and you'll gain access to thousands of people in your area.
Part of being a success in business is having the tools you need to grow. Adding social media to your arsenal will give you an entirely new way to communicate with customers and get your brand out there.