Today, social media has become almost inescapable. People turn to social media to talk to their friends, share both fun and important information, and connect with their communities as a whole. If your business is not on social media, it is likely that you will be overlooked in the scramble for dwindling customer dollars.
Jesse Willms explains how social media can make or break your business. He describes ways that businesses can learn to use social media to boost their reputation online and drive more sales.
Social Media as a Search Engine
Today, many people skip going to Google to find information on a local or national business and instead find it on Facebook, Instagram, or to a lesser extent, Twitter. Facebook in particular has become a de facto “Yellow Pages,” listing the vast majority of local companies. Companies that do not take advantage of free listings on Facebook miss out on this opportunity to connect with their customers.
Advertising on Facebook is relatively inexpensive and easy to customize. Sponsoring promoted posts may bring your company to the attention of locals or people in your desired demographic.
Facebook also allows customers to review businesses. You should immediately search Facebook for any listing of your business and claim that listing as your own. You may find that you have already accumulated reviews. If they are not positive, look into ways to resolve them. Negative reviews are not only bad publicity, but they can also drive down your Google search rankings.
Building Your Brand
Social media provides an excellent avenue for brand building. Your brand encompasses public opinion about your company, as well as the values you express and the way you deal with your customers. For example, if you run a local pizza restaurant, your brand may include fast service, authentic food, and community awareness. Social media is great for reinforcing these ideas in the public’s mind.
Social media also allows your company to display its closely held values. Together with your company website, your social media pages and advertisements will form a complete picture of your business. Make sure that there are no negatives to your perception, or if you do have negative feedback, do your best to make it right.
Shopping Directly from Social Media
One of the most used features on Facebook is the carousel ad that is displayed for retail companies. This type of ad often shows a rotating set of products that the user can page through and see whether you have anything they like. When they click on the item, they will be taken directly to it on your website. Instagram has a similar feature called the “Shop Now” bar. Many people buy things impulsively, and this style of advertising appeals to millennials, Gen-Z consumers, and many other age groups as well.
Deals and Coupons
In today’s difficult economy, many people are looking for coupons and deals. Sharing exclusive deals with your social media visitors is a great way to build a following. Retail stores can give social media fans a first glimpse at sale prices, and restaurants can offer percent-off coupons and free items if it is appropriate to do so. These deals don’t have to be large to be effective. If you can make your customers feel special, that will go a long way toward building your brand’s reputation.
Increasing Website Traffic
Social media can be a useful conduit of visitors to your stand-alone website. For example, a pizza restaurant on Facebook may link to its menu on its website as well as showing it through Facebook’s integrated feature. Retailers can easily get click-throughs by posting ads and information on social media.
Partnering with Influencers
Influencers are especially important on Instagram, but they are also on Facebook. Influencers often have a large following, and they are paid in either cash or free products to promote your brand online. Many young people look up to influencers and want to use the same products and services they use. When the value of the influencer’s rewards is compared to the value of increased traffic and sales, you will see that influencer marketing is generally a good deal for businesses on social media.
When you have a piece of content like an image or a video that is irresistible, it may go viral. Many companies constantly try to think of content that will go viral, and some companies are better at it than others. If you are lucky, your content might receive thousands or millions of shares. It’s difficult to control which posts will go viral, but it is worth studying this issue and playing around with ideas.
Don’t Ignore Social Media
Even if you don’t use social media very much in your personal life, it is a great idea to apply it to your business. Social media makes it much easier for customers to approach your brand and relate to it on a personal level. It helps customers physically find your business and also find great deals on your merchandise. Jesse Willms reminds businesses that if they do not utilize social media, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.