Category Archives: Facebook

12 Fresh Social Media Post Ideas

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social media postsHappy Social Media Day! In honor of this fun holiday, we’re answering one of the most common questions we hear, “What should I put on my social media page?” We’ve given some guidance on the subject before, by recommending you use two R’s to guide your social media work (and no the two R’s are not rant and rave) and a few ideas for social media posts. Today, we’re getting “down and gritty,” and more specific, with 10 fresh ideas for social media posts:

  1. Tie your subject for your post into a “holiday.” Who doesn’t love National Donut Day, Social Media Day or National Hug Your Cat Day?
  2. Post pictures of the people behind your business, at work. Give your customers a peak behind the scenes, and tie faces to your business. Make sure your photos match the tone of your business, and choose who you profile strategically.
  3. Make your audience feel like they are getting the “inside scoop.” Tell your audience something they might not know about your product, business or a generic industry stat.
  4. Share community involvement. If you’re a local business, show that you are part of the community around you by showing your involvement in local activities like festivals, trick-or-treat, etc.
  5. Make your product a contest. Ask your customers if they know the answer to a multiple choice question or an open-ended question. Try to make it fun and industry-specific.
  6. Video. The video could be of a service you do, or something you do for the community, or of your company dog having fun. Try to ask yourself what your audience can get out of the video. How does this fit in to my marketing plan?
  7. Give your business a “Where’s Waldo?” social media effect. If your workers are on the go, put up a random photo and ask your audience to guess where they are, or just to show you can go anywhere to help your customers.
  8. Show you have a history. Yes, Throwback Thursday is one of the oldest phenomena in social media. But it’s also a neat way to show how you started out, and how far you’ve come. An old photo also matches your business to a face, even if it’s the face of a founder.
  9. ‘Fill-in-the-blank’ or ‘caption this’ photos. It doesn’t matter what kind of photo it is—silly, mysterious or serious—give your audience input into the photos you post.
  10. Photos, photos and more photos. Statistics have repeatedly shown that social media posts with visual content get more engagement. If you’re posting on Pinterest and Instagram, photos are NOT optional. They are a must to get engagement. Don’t be afraid to share photos from other pages as well, as long as they are relevant to your business.
  11. Mix it up. Don’t let your social media page get stale! Use a variety of different kinds of posts and media to get your audience’s attention and keep it.
  12. Outsource if needed. We’ve said it before, and we stand by it: there is no shame or blame in outsourcing. If you want to get results from your social media page, you need relevant and regular posts on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest profile or page. Contact experts that know the social media platforms and can give you the regular and relevant posts that relate to your business. You’ll need to give input, as we outlined in our post about outsourcing your marketing do’s and don’ts, but the end result is worth the effort.

Why You Shouldn’t Abandon (and maybe even care about!) Social Media

social media marketingFacebook, Twitter and other social media networks are littered with abandoned orphans; business profiles and pages started with well-meaning intentions and enthusiasm, and left to rot when the enthusiasm ran out. We’re not pointing any fingers here; often these social media pages are left behind because the owner doesn’t have time, the employee that started the page left or the author didn’t feel like they were doing anything because no there were no likes. It happens.

The most unfortunate part of the situation is that the business is not reaping any of the benefits of a solid social media presence. While we’ve written about the dark side of social media, there are some definite benefits of a solid social media presence for businesses—small, medium and large—on the social media network(s) that fit their brand. For example, a bridal shop would benefit from a solid social media presence on Pinterest, which has a predominately large percentage of female users. Remember, don’t just join any social media network, find the social media network where your customers are and that fits your industry. Avoid joining a social media network just because “everyone is on there.” You won’t do service to your brand, and won’t be reaching your key audience interested in purchasing your product (remember, you are doing this to sell products).

When choosing what social media network to join, factor in the amount of time and commitment you have for the network or networks. Many a business has signed up for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the works because they want to be everywhere and everything, without a thought about the amount of time it takes to properly maintain each social media network—yes, each network, because every social media network has its own audience and way of doing things. If you’re not playing by the “rules” on each social media network, you’re not going to get the results you signed up for.

So what are you signing up for when you hit the “I agree” buttons on the social media networks? Besides a marketing tool that requires time and commitment, you also get these benefits of a solid social media presence:

  1. Free connection to your customers (and potential customers). This is your potential customers’ chance to learn about you and you to learn about them. Note this is a two-way street! While you may be on social media networks for sales conversions, this is your chance to listen to what your customers want and give them relevant resources to help solve their problems (and no the answer to their life problems is not always your product or service!). This is also your chance to show potential customers that you listen to your audience, who you are as a business and that you can provide excellent and prompt customer service.
  2. Ability to provide excellent and prompt customer service (with an emphasis on prompt!). If your customer has a problem, this is your chance to help—and help quickly. Studies show that customers expect a response within two hours, and that number is dropping. Respond promptly, because studies also repeatedly show that customers come back to businesses who have delivered quality customer service in the past—even if their product or service costs more than competitors.
  3. Unsolicited testimonials. Customers can leave reviews or comments about your products on your social media sites. Obviously, these reviews can go both ways, but you can also turn those negative comments into a positive. Start by not deleting negative comments or reviews. Instead, choose the opportunity to show your business can provide excellent customer service. If the reviewer is particularly angry, use these tips to defuse the situation.
  4. Chance to sell your products, and your company. We’ve seen businesses where the customers messaged to set up appointments. They were sold based on what they had seen on social media and in the community and ready to buy. We’ve seen other customers comment on pictures on social media and tag their friends because they really like the product. The crux of getting to the point of sales is to create a social media site that is not all about the business. While this seems like an oxymoron, this is your chance to show how customer-centric is by providing excellent and prompt customer service and resources that meet your customers’ needs.

The takeaway: notice the catch. Your business can reap benefits from a solid social media presence, not just a social media orphan page with irregular and outdated posts. A solid social media presence has:

  • Regular posts (the definition of regular is dependent upon the social media network)
  • Relevant resources for your customers
  • A customer-centric presence, not a business-centric approach (remember, social media is not about your business!)
  • Prompt replies to customers questions and comments (excellent customer service)

If you want to cash in on the benefits and opportunities that come with social media but don’t have the time, outsource your business social media page or profile to experts that can manage your social media network(s). We’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing. There are some do’s and don’ts that come with outsourcing, but the goal is the same: to create a social media site for your customers. Remember, don’t measure your success on the number of followers, but on the number of engaged followers. These are the customers who are your advocates in the community and on social media. They are leaving positive reviews and engaging with your business—giving your business the results that you joined social media for in the first place.

5 (More) Online Marketing Mistakes You’re Making

company execMistakes breed inspiration, and inspiration breeds blog posts that help us all improve. We’re building on our last post 5 Online Marketing Mistakes You’re Making with five more common mistakes that we see business owners and marketers make every day marketing on the web and social media. Are you making these common online marketing mistakes?

  1. Not remembering the #1 rule of marketing. Though it’s the rule of successful marketing, many business owners and marketers forget that we’re reaching out to people—real, breathing people. That’s why it’s so important to use another guideline when producing marketing pieces: the two R’s of Social Media Marketing. What do your customers want? Who are you talking to?
  2. Ignoring hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. Hashtags are a valuable way to reach “outside the box”—and, no, we’re not talking about thinking creatively. Adding hashtags to your tweets and Instagram posts exposes your tweets and posts to another audience—to users who are following the hashtag or looking for information on that topic. If you’re tweet or post is useful, this is a sure-fire way to gain followers.
  3. Thinking your social media sites will grow on their own. If you want to gain followers, fans—whatever the social media user base is referred to on your social media site—you need to tell people. Use these ways to spread the word about your site, and don’t forget to give people a reason to want to follow your site.
  4. Making “knee jerk” decisions. This happens to business owners in so many different ways: by responding to an angry customer without thinking (find out how to respond professionally here), selecting an SEO firm without doing research, by tweeting or posting without thinking about the ramifications of what you’re saying. Proper social media posts, choosing the SEO firm that gets results, even responding to customers via your website or social media, takes careful thought (and sometimes training). If you don’t have time, don’t risk it. Look into outsourcing, training or to other business owners for information.
  5. By responding to your customers once a week. It’s not enough! The average American’s time online is growing, giving them more opportunities to reach out to your company with questions through your website and social media. Ignoring their questions, or waiting too long, is a definite way to lose your customers’ interest, and their business. Respond to inquiries (read how to set up an efficient customer service system here) within a few hours of the question, even if it’s just with a “Thank you for your question. Can you please give us more information so we can answer your question completely?”

Effective online marketing takes time and effort, so don’t cut corners. Do your research and keep up with SEO and social media marketing trends, or hire experts who can. You’ll find the rewards from a well-thought out online presence to be worth the time and funds, plus you’ll save the embarassment of common online marketing mistakes.

The Dark Side of Social Media Marketing

social media_croppedWe know this blog post seems contradictory for a firm that believes in social media marketing, and even offers social media marketing services. We can even hear the question, “Wait, there’s a downside to social media???” The fact is: business social media marketing is a world of untapped potential with endless possibilities. We’ve seen customers make purchasing decisions on Facebook and Twitter, and we’ve seen potential customers become loyal customers because of social media. That being said, businesses have to remember that marketing opportunity comes the potential for negatives. The more you know about the negatives of social media marketing, and common mistakes other businesses make, the more prepared you can be to avoid them:

  1. Losing business because of slow response times. Customers expect prompt responses when they ask questions on social media. What is a prompt response? Think minutes or, at worst, a few hours—not days or weeks.
  2. Brand image problems associated with an angry online customer. This does happen, and sometimes it happens in spite of all your best efforts. The most important part is to respond, and respond professionally and quickly. Try to take your discussions with the angry customer into messages where you can gather details and offer customer service. Just make sure you respond promptly—an unanswered angry customer is an angry customer who posts disparaging comments and reviews all over your social media pages until they get an answer.
  3. Losing customers because of sporadic social media posts. This negative is especially true for your younger customers who rely on online engagement with companies. If they don’t see you (or hear from you), they are not going to turn to you for information and questions when it’s time to buy.
  4. Unfavorable business reviews. Don’t delete the unfavorable reviews, or angry customer comments. Customers see this as hiding from the truth and manipulation. Rather, respond to their reviews with a professional reply, and ask them to message you with details about their unfavorable encounter. Ask them questions, offer them a discount (but make it a meaningful offer so you don’t insult them) and promise them better assistance in the future. Remember, in today’s day and age, any encounter with a customer can go viral—both the good and the bad.
  5. Backlash from inappropriate business social media posts. As a rule of thumb, don’t post or tweet about politics or religion. Stick to what you know—your products, services and industry—without selling too much. Before you post anything, think “how will this be viewed by my customers?” If your post can be taken in any negative way, err on the side of caution. Don’t post or tweet it.

The good news is that 90% of these problems can be avoided with education and research or outsourcing to an affordable social media marketing agency. Good social media marketing agencies offer affordable social media marketing packages, so you can select what’s right for your business. Hiring a social media marketing agency also means hiring social media experts who can answer all your social media marketing questions, and make recommendations based on what they’ve seen work for other businesses. Really, social media marketing is simple: to harness the positives, avoid the negatives by contacting the experts that can help you tap into that marketing potential.

Why would I want my business to be on social media?

social media_croppedYou can almost hear the exasperation in the voice of a business owner asking the question, can’t you? Exasperation or not, this question is excellent because creating a solid social media presence for your business takes work and time. Yes that’s right—work and time—because a good social media page needs relatable and relevant content on a regular basis to get results. It’s also valuable to stay up-to-date on the latest social media trends, which is another piece of the social media puzzle that takes time.

So why should your business be on social media??? Why? Good question, and we have equally good and solid reasons for your business to take the leap to social media:

  • 60% of customers make a purchasing decision without picking up the phone. One of our clients recently said to us, “It used to be that people would call, and I would have a chance to educate and sell to them. Now it’s not that way.” It’s true: people pick up a computer to decide what product is right for them or what company provides the best service. They make the decision when they want to (or are available to do so) on a mobile device easily at their finger tips. In the case of social media, people are on these networks daily anyways, so why not research the best companies while checking out the latest viral videos?
  • Customers expect customer service within minutes of their inquiry. We’ve all heard the frustration from a customer who has been put on hold way too long by a company. This is your chance to provide excellent online customer service promptly (learn how to handle a disgruntled customer in our recent blog post), leaving a lasting impression with your customer that will guide their next interaction and sale with your company.
  • Social media is your 24/7 connection to your customer. Consumers are retired, work first, second or third shift, are driven by their kids’ schedules…they’re busy. A recent study found that consumers expect your brand to be on social media, even if they don’t follow your page or profile. That means they expect you to be there, so they can reach out to you when they are available. We’ve seen potential customers schedule appointments with our clients while at work through social media, ask for information about a product through blog comments, and ask questions about services through social media posts. If you’re not on social media to answer their inquiries, they’ll reach out to your competitor for answers.
  • If you provide excellent products and service, your customers will let other customers know. We’re not going to lie to you. Not all customer reviews are good ones, but the good reviews are fodder for more good reviews—and for potential customers to find out what others think of you. Don’t cheat by asking your family and friends to leave reviews. Instead ask your satisfied customers to leave reviews on your social media sites. If you do get a customer with a bad review, make sure you respond promptly, sympathetically and with an apology if necessary.

Love what you hear about social media, but still don’t have the time? There’s no shame or blame in outsourcing your social media efforts to experts who can maintain your social media sites using your voice and the latest social media marketing information. The simple truth is that building a functional and beautiful website just isn’t enough anymore. It’s time to up the ante on your online marketing efforts. It’s time for your business to be on social media.

Social Media Marketing 101: Just the Basics for Businesses

social media_croppedSocial media marketing. Blog. Pinterest. You’ve seen these terms floating around, heard your fellow business owners discuss them…and have no idea what they mean. Fear not. We’re here to give you an education about social media, and you don’t have to tell anyone where you got the information from—just look smart using these terms (correctly):

Social media marketing
The term “social media marketing” sounds intimidating, but the definition isn’t. Social media marketing is using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and other social media sites to get your products and services in front of potential online customers. Ironically, though the goal of many businesses utilizing social media marketing is to get leads from social media, or get exposure for products, one of the keys to success is not to heavily sell on social media. Social media sites are all about conversations and connections, and customers are on these sites for those reasons—not to be banged over the head repeatedly with advertising. You can find other bad advice for social media marketing in our recent blog post.

Business Blog
Think of a blog like an online newspaper, with articles for customers. Like a newspaper, users flock to blogs for useful information and news—and not necessarily for the ads. Businesses can have advertisements next to the content, but the goal of a business blog should be to provide relevant, useful and entertaining information for current and potential customers. Blog articles are useful for businesses for three purposes: 1) for businesses who want to give out information on social media sites, 2) for businesses who want to get the attention of major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, and 3) to give your customers information they need to make a purchasing decision. Websites with new web pages (such as new blog posts) show up higher in results on search engines, and blog posts are an excellent way to attract customers with information (information that’s available 24/7) and get higher rankings.

Post
A post is referring to an update on Facebook, the largest social media site with more than a billion active users. Each Facebook user sees a list of posts in their newsfeed from other users and businesses—from friends they allow to see their posts, and businesses they ‘like.’ Though Facebook is the largest social media site, it’s not the right social media site for every business. Find out what the right social media site is for your business by knowing your audience. Where are your current and potential customers so you can connect with them? One last note: even though a business may have thousands or millions of fans on Facebook, the way to measure success of a Facebook page is the level of engagement. How many fans like your posts? How many fans are commenting on your posts?

Tweet
A social media tweet is associated with the logo of a bird, but these tweets come from 232 million active users on Twitter. Tweets are no more than 140 characters (including the url of the website you want to share), so you have to produce an attention-grabbing tweets to attract followers and give them a website to click on for more information. You can respond in three ways to a tweet: reply, favorite or retweet. If you want to ask a question about the tweet or tweet back, you hit reply. If you want to ask another user a question, type the “@” sign with the person’s Twitter name and then type a question in 140 characters or less. If you like a tweet from another user, simply click on the star under the tweet to favorite the tweet. This is one of the ways you can build relationships with other users, and they can “find” you when they are notified you favorited their tweet. If you want to share another user’s tweet, hit retweet to share the post with your followers. If you want more users to see your tweets, use hashtags (i.e. #packers or #marketing)—but know who else is using the hashtag by typing in the hashtag and phrase in the search box at the top of the screen. What’s the value of Twitter? Twitter is a great social media site to establish your business as a subject matter expert, spread the word about your products, “pull” users into your website by writing a catchy tweet and connect with potential customers and fellow businesses.

Pin
No we’re not talking about that sharp implement that pricked Sleeping Beauty. Not in this case. We’re talking about Pins on Pinterest, a social media site with a whopping 70 million users. People and businesses post pictures on Pinterest with a short description.  Eye-catching graphics are key, as well as a catchy description. Users pin photos they appreciate to their boards, which Pinterest defines as, “Boards are where you save your Pins. You can make boards for anything and everything—add pretzel recipes to your Grub board (done!), travel plans to your Going Places board, or watches and Aston Martins to your James Bond board.” So why should your business be on Pinterest? To get your products noticed and shared!  In addition, Pinterest is a great way to “pull” users into your website (which is a convenient button on each pin) because if a user is looking at your pin they already like your type of product—making them a potential customer.

One last (and very important!) key to social media marketing success: regularity. Businesses should not go into social media marketing with a half-hearted attitude. It not only embarrasses your business, but doesn’t yield the results you signed on to achieve. If you don’t have the time to post, tweet or pin for your business, hire a social media marketing firm that can. A good social media marketing firm can provide the regular updates on your social media sites—and expertise necessary for success.

Why Marketing Doesn’t Work Without Customer Service (and what to do about it!)

company execIt’s our job to help companies grow their business. That’s our core objective and we take it very personally—your goals are our goals.  However, the longer we do this, the more we realize that online marketing—giving our companies a solid online presence, functional and impressive website, and top rankings on all the major search engines—does no good if the company doesn’t have customer service to back it up.

The most common client objective is to grow their business.  We deliver with higher search rankings, a solid social media presence and quality content on their website (to see why read our content marketing post). Our partnership with them and online marketing efforts produce customer leads through comments, online forms, emails and calls.

But what good are those leads if no one follows up? Most company owners do not set out to build a company with poor customer service, but customer inquiries often fall through the cracks. The result: a company providing poor customer service. So how can your company improve your customer service?

  • Don’t make email inquiries your last priority. We live in a digital world, with smart phones, tablets and computers becoming more common—and being used more and more to make purchasing decisions.
  • Set a standard operating procedure for handling customer inquiries. Don’t just handle customer inquiries without a strategy. Set a plan in place for handling phone calls, email inquiries and social media messages—and stick to it.
  • Make sure everyone answering the phones and emails are trained on SOPs and how to respond. A poorly trained employee is a liability when answering the phones. Don’t just throw your employees into the fire. Train and educate them. Inform them of SOPs and make sure they know proper protocols for answering the phones, handling customer questions and dealing with angry customers.
  • Designate someone responsible for answering and following through on each inquiry. This doesn’t mean you triple one employee’s workload. Choose an employee to answer phones, another to answer emails and a third to check your social media sites for messages. Be flexible. An employee completely overwhelmed by emails or phone calls is not in a good position to deliver exceptional customer service. Though you’ve designated employees, let them know to jump in if the phone is ringing off the hook or the inbox is full.
  • Offer customer service online, but don’t feel like you need to answer customer questions 24/7. Today’s consumers expect businesses to answer them within an hour, thanks to the instantaneous of the internet. However, you don’t need to provide that service all day and night. Put your business hours on your online form, and make it clear that inquiries are answered during that time.
  • Remember, every customer counts. It only takes one person’s bad experience to ruin a business’ reputation, and news travels fast on social media. One wrong response, or dropped inquiry can spread across the internet like wildfire. Though it may be tempting to just let that inquiry go because of a complex answer or a large workload, answer each inquiry as soon and completely as possible.

Study after study has proven that testimonials, and in our modern day, online reviews (like on Facebook), play a role in customers’ decision whether to purchase a company’s service or product. If you are not delivering good customer service, unfavorable reviews pile up on your social media sites and word spreads about your subpar customer service. The result: you can’t reach your goals no matter how much marketing tools you employ. We can create the marketing tools on your behalf, but you need to back it up with exceptional customer service. The good news: by using our customer service tips, you can achieve your goals and customers’ goals—two targets that should be in sync, or at least overlap.

What do your customers want from your social media sites?

company execYou’ve heard the old adage “the customer is always right.” The advent of social media marketing may have altered how businesses communicate with their customers, but at the end of the day, the adage still rings true. Proving your customers are right by giving them what they want is the epitome of social media, sites specifically designed for conversations between the customer and the business. So what does your customer want to see on Facebook and Twitter, anyway? Here’s what our experience, and research, has shown:

Exclusive discounts. Want a sure way to attract customers to your site, and determine how many people are seeing your posts? Give out an exclusive social media offer with a coupon or discount code (with a graphic!), then sit back and see how often it is used. Remember, your customers only use the discount if it’s worthwhile, so don’t make it complicated.

Graphics & Pictures. Want to appeal to your visual learners? Studies have shown that posts with graphics are more likely to be shared and viewed than text-only posts. Use graphics and pictures as often as possible on Facebook and Twitter.

Relevant resources. Statistics have shown customers are more likely to buy from companies they trust. Build their trust by giving them resources (for information on the kind of resources check out our recent post) that help them.

(Occasional) giveaways. The number of fans and followers is not a true judge of your impact on social media. The amount of engaged customers is far more important. Are people responding to your posts? Are they seeing your posts? Use your social media analytics. If a person ‘likes’ your page and engages, they will repeatedly see your posts, and that’s what you want. Show your appreciation with occasional giveaways, but don’t feel compelled to repeatedly run giveaways. When you do run a giveaway on Facebook, make sure you follow the rules.

Most importantly, remember your customers are human. They are not numbers, they are humans using social media to interact and learn. Don’t post updates or tweets that sound like a robot. Be human and your customers will respond. Listen to them, and give them what they want—both in person and on social media.

If you can’t give them what they want because you don’t have time, or you just feel out of your league, we’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing your social media marketing. Give your marketing firm direction, and trust them to give your customers what they want—even as that evolves with time. Believe it or not, outsourcing your social media marketing is more affordable than you think, giving you time to give your customers what they want—both on the phone and in your office or store.

4 Ways Sports & Social Media Marketing Are Alike

Just like bike racing, social media marketing is a marathon.

Just like bike racing, social media marketing is a marathon.

Sports seasons are in full swing. Just turn on the TV for football, baseball, soccer, racing, volleyball, golf. The jerseys are out, the diehard fans using their season tickets and invitations to watch the “big game” are everywhere.

Though social media marketing doesn’t have a season, or downtime, there are remarkable commonalities. Before you think we’ve been watching too much football, or spent too much time on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, read on:

It takes a lot of practice and effort. Many a business has jumped into social media without thought as to the time and effort it takes to maintain an updated, relevant site. Setting up a Facebook page or Twitter profile is not effective marketing unless the site has regular information pertinent to your audience—and continues to have regular postings. Social media marketing is a marathon. If you don’t have enough time, or feel you don’t have the expertise to maintain your site, contact a local marketing firm that achieves social media marketing results for small businesses in your area.

You have to try a few different techniques to find your hole-in-one. Like any pro athlete, you need to find the technique that fits your business and audience. Often that means trying out different tones and images to find what engages your audience. Though there have been extensive studies on what times (weekends, holidays, times) are ideal for social media postings, the true formula for timely postings that engage your audience can only be found by trial and error.

Recruiting is involved. Recruiting in social media can have two different meanings: recruiting from within your team or outsourcing. No matter what route works best for your business, you need to find your most trusted employees or marketing firm to post to your social media page. This is your business’ face—your connection to your clients—don’t just trust any intern, young employee or marketing firm.

You have to adjust your game for the team you face. While your social media audience should not be perceived as your opponents, you do need to adjust your game plan depending upon your company’s voice and audience. For example, if you are a pizza shop in a college town, your posts should fit your Millenial audience rather than the minority of Baby Boomers who follow your site.

Just like a successful sports team, finding the right team chemistry and game plan is a touchdown again and again. And though there is no Super Bowl in social media, the rewards—connecting with your clients outside of the sales meeting—is as great as a trophy.

How to Spread the Word about your Social Media sites

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Is your social media page like the tree that fell in the forest?

It’s that old adage about the tree in the forest with a new twist: does a social media page make noise if no one is around to hear it? The answer: yes, but is it worth your time to maintain?

Though maintaining a social media site with relevant, updated content does have search engine optimization value, a social media page with few or no followers is not reaching its full potential. So how do you attract those elusive followers and fans? It’s easier than you think, but also requires a full effort as you run your business:

  • Invite people at the counter, in sales meetings and when you provide customer service. We know, in the digital world we live in, it seems counter-intuitive that spreading the word via mouth is still one of the best ways to draw people to your social media sites. It’s also one of the easiest. A simple, “Don’t forget to check our Facebook page for discounts” when you check out a customer or ending a client meeting with “We’d really appreciate it if you’d check out our social media sites for more information” is a personal invitation. In today’s world, many of your customers and clients can find the site right there—and continue the connection that you initiated in person.
  • Integrate your social media and blog into your marketing materials. Producing a brochure? Add your Twitter profile address. Sending out a direct mail piece? Don’t forget to add a QR code they can scan with their smart phone that takes them straight to your Facebook page.
  • Get your employees’ buy-in. If you are a real estate firm, ask your employees to follow your page and share information with their friends. That doesn’t mean they need to share everything, but, as powerful advocates, they can share posts they feel are relevant and expose your business posts to a new audience.
  • Connect your social media pages to your website. If a customer is on the verge about buying your product, the “tipping point” that influences their buying decision may be a discount or promotion. But how will they know about it? Add links to your social media sites to your website. Today’s consumers not only research your website, but your social media sites as well—and you need to make it easy for them.
  • Add the social media addresses to your email signature. This is one of the simplest—and most overlooked—way to spread the word about your social media sites. You send emails to your customers with quotes, product information and customer service inquiries. Why wouldn’t you want to continue to connect with them after they’ve read your email?

If you’ve outsourced your social media site maintenance (remember there’s no shame or blame in it), consider these efforts your part of the bargain. You’ve invested in the experts to create and maintain an online presence, so why not fulfill your role by spreading the word? However you spread the word, make it easy. Today’s customers are overwhelmed with information and have little time to search. Give them a link, icon or graphic that captures their attention—and then keep them engaged on your social media pages with updated, relevant content.