Facebook, 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.