When it comes to social media there are a lot of factors that people don’t put into play. For example you’ll need to know the best times to post in order to get the most impressions. Also some social media sites are better for some businesses then others, so research needs to be done on the demographics of users that each one attracts. The world of social media is also ever-changing, so its a continuous learning process, so don’t bite off more than you can chew all at once. Here are some tips on how to use social media for your business.
How to Use Social Media for Your Business | How Can I Find Followers?
So you’ve set up your account/s – you’re tweeting or updating your Facebook status every day, but still people aren’t coming and you’re wondering why. It takes time to build an established community, but there are some top tips you can follow:
- Follow follow follow! This can’t be stressed enough. Whatever your business, follow your competitors, journalists, charities, industry bodies, local authorities. A good tip is to look at who they are following and follow their followers.
- Tweet often. Short, interesting, funny, quirky messages get noticed. Tell people what you or your organisation are up to, even if it’s saying you’ve got cakes in the kitchen!
- Tweet links. If you see something of interest on the internet, tweet it. News, developments in the industry..if you found it useful, so will your followers.
- Tell people about events – open days, new development handovers, charity fundraising…whatever is happening, shout about it!
- Retweet – if someone you follow says something or post something of interest, be sure to retweet it.
- Say thank you – if your tweet is retweeted, drop the retweeter a message saying thanks, a little courtesy goes a long way!
- Build lists – It makes sense to put the tweeters you follow into lists. This not only helps you make sense of what’s going on in different sectors, it helps keep track of your close friends and lets other followers find other people to follow.
- And finally – make an effort on a Friday to do a spot of #FF (Follow Friday). Mention those tweeters who you think deserve to be followed – this helps them out and with any luck you’ll be tagged in an #FF post yourself.
Unlike Twitter, Facebook is a completely different kettle of fish. It takes more work to get someone to like you – after all, you are a business. It’s a Catch-22 situation – people need a reason to like you and become your friend, but they won’t do that if you don’t have any friends…so where on earth do you start?
- Set your stall up and sell your wares. In the first few days, post interesting things about your organisation. Stick up photos, ask questions on your wall, welcome new friends and thank them for liking you.
- Ask questions. Ask your initial friends what it is they want from your Facebook. Is it to find out about new products? Is it to find out what’s happening in their area? Is it to chat to other customers? Be interested in their conversations, and if you can – hold a few early competitions and prize draws.
- Advertise! Advertise! Advertise! Write a news piece that you are now online and advertise this on your website, in your newsletter, on your company email signature. Upload Twitter and Facebook buttons for your website homepage for easy access to your profile..
- Footnote your Facebook. Whenever a customer contacts you online, make sure the thank-you message that pops up once any online forms are submitted includes the line: “Did you know we’re also on Facebook? Why not become a friend of ours today by clicking the blue Facebook icon at the bottom of the page!”. You’ll start to see an increase in friends if you do this I can assure you!
- Respond quickly. When your friends start to arrive, they will start asking you questions. Be sure to reply to these as quickly as possible – adopt a friendly tone and address them in the name they use. Say “Hi XXXX thanks for your message. I’ve passed this on to XXXX who will be in touch with you soon.” Nine times out of 10 you will get a “Thanks”, which other friends and potential friends see. If they feel you’re giving good customer service you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll feel more inclined to like you too.
- Give exclusives. As Facebook is a personal space, your friends want to feel appreciated. With that in mind, give them exclusives. This doesn’t have to cost anything…why not give them the opportunity to decide on the front cover of your newsletter or annual report? Release these a week or so early for them to download, or give them a sneak peak at a page on your website for example.
- Hold competitions. By far and away the most popular part of social media engagement is competitions. If you can afford it, the odd £10 shopping voucher here and there goes down well. Whether it’s a prize draw when you hit a certain amount of followers, or for finding a hidden easter egg or member of your executive team on your website, you can be sure you’ll get a few thumbs up and likes from this. Also, remember to namecheck the winners after your competition on both your Facebook profile and in your newsletter – this encourages more people to click ‘Like’ and become your friend.
- Team up with other organisations and grab freebies when you can. Perhaps you can work with other local businesses on social media to offer your followers something? Contact places in your local area and sell them benefits of advertising their services to both you and their organisation and hopefully you’ll be rewarded with a few tickets or cut-price admission.
How to Use Social Media for Your Business | Choosing Your Channel.
Which is more valuable to business – Facebook or Twitter? It’s a question that business owners struggle with every day in the quest for building a larger customer base, and retaining the customers they already have. The answer will all depend on which social networks your customers are located on, followed up by how easy is it for you to reach, influence, and offer them products on that social network.
Generally, Twitter is more effective from a business-to-business perspective, whereas Facebook is more business-to-consumer. You won’t have the same sort of engagement with your customers on Twitter than you will on Facebook, simply because most people use Twitter to find information. Facebook works well if you are looking to nuture positive, long-lasting and personal relationships with your customer base because they have to actively seek you out to ‘like’ you. Facebook requires more creativity to create engaging profiles and status updates, while respecting your friend’s privacy and news feed by not spamming at the same time. Twitter on the other hand is more impersonal as it is not as public.
The right social media channel all depends on how you want to engage with your customers. If you want to become an authority in your industry and increase your brand awareness, go with Twitter. If you want to engage with customers and give them better customer service, go with Facebook. A mixture of both will give your business a human face – but be aware that once you’re on there there is no turning back!
How to Use Social Media for Your Business | Dealing with Complaints
One of the biggest issues that all businesses have to get their heads around when approaching and using social media is how to deal with unhappy customers who complain publicly about a bad or unsatisfactory experience, or a flawed product or service.
Since social media is such an easy platform to complain or express general unhappiness, it’s hardly surprising that a growing number of consumers are turning to their keyboards when something doesn’t go as well as expected.
One of the big problems many companies have, when it comes to the possibility that someone might use social media to complain about something, is that it’s not something that they have dealt with before. In the past a disgruntled customer might have called a number or sent a letter to the company – this all happened behind “closed doors”.
Today, if someone is upset about something, they are more likely to blast it out into the social media universe with the goal to force a company to do something to rectify the situation. In many cases, a company will quickly cave rather than have a small problem explode into a major issue.
Given this reality, a key decision we faced is how to handle negative or critical comments on social media. Do you remove negative comments immediately or leave them? If you are going to use social media effectively, dealing with negative comments and complaints is part of the unwritten rules of engagement. Rather than shy away from negative comments or make them disappear, understand that the bad things customers say are an opportunity to learn, to improve and make your products or services better.
The message, quite simply, is “Don’t be afraid of criticism!”
By embracing negative comments and engaging with your customers, you can work together to create a positive spin, regardless of the negative comment or complaint.
- Acknowledge the issue
- Don’t be afraid to apologise
- Explain what went wrong
- Tell them what you’re doing about it
In many cases you will find that customers who complain on social media just want to be heard. By simply listening and responding quickly, you can turn a very negative situation into a positive one in very little time.
To sum up, while negative or bad comments are a fact of life within social media, they are not something that businesses should fear. There will always be a small number of customers who will complain, the key is figuring out how to effectively deal with these situations in a positive and proactive way.