When it comes to designing a website and marketing it, social media is one of the most powerful — and yet most misunderstood — opportunities available. Here are the three steps that can take your social media services from an ancillary effort to a core strategy of bringing in and retaining customers:
- Choosing the Right Platforms
When you’re starting a website, it’s tempting to hop on and make accounts for all the social media services available: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and more. But more often than not, this is a waste of your time (and money, if you’re hiring someone else to manage the accounts).
Start with some research, instead. What’s your target demographic? What social media platforms do those audiences frequent? If your business sells high-end flower arrangements or designer clothes, then hiring someone to run your Pinterest account might be an invaluable investment. But for an insurance company, those same actions would be a complete waste. If your business has a physical location, then Google+ and Facebook are both musts; if not, then it might be better to focus on Twitter. Because of this, professional social media services provided by a marketing company can actually save you money in the long run and get you a better return on the money you do invest.
- Engaging Purposefully
There’s a careful balance most businesses need to maintain on social media. On the one hand, it’s important to present an image of you or your business as an industry or subject matter expert, someone potential customers should trust. But these efforts are enhanced when your customers also feel close to your business and become personally invested in your success. So it’s also important that you’re willing to be playful.
One easy way to build a relationship with your customers or prospective customers online is to ensure that you’re always responding to their comments or posts to your wall. Avoid making a sales pitch when you can simply answer a question: If someone asks about your warranty, respond with a simple, conversational answer — not “Here at Widgy’s Widgetmakers, we always place your customer satisfaction front and center!” If more than one person runs your social media, you can also make things feel personal by allowing each worker to have a distinct voice and sign their posts so that people get to know the people behind the keyboards.
- Leveraging Social Media for SEO
What is SEO? This term, ubiquitous online, stands for search engine optimization and is one of the most important Internet marketing strategies there is. You can use social media in ways that boost your website’s ranking on Google and the other major search engines. Social media can help you build legitimate links, establish your authority within an industry, get your website’s pages indexed faster and make sure you show up in local listings.
Do you have any tips on using social media for business? Join the discussion in the comments.