Social media gives every business, large or small, the chance to get on the radar of potential customers that conventional advertising just doesn’t reach.
The 2013 Office for National Statistics report found that 36 million adults (73 per cent of the British population) accessed the internet every day, up from 20 million in 2006. Internet access using a mobile phone has more than doubled to 53 per cent and 72 per cent of all adults had bought goods or services online in the past month. To put it simply, Britons are living more and more of their life online, and are more likely to become aware of you and your business or product through that medium than through adverts in a yellow pages or in the local newspaper.
As well as its potential hit rate, social media also has the huge benefit of being free to use, your time aside. Yet many businesses still fail to take that step on to social media platforms for fear of somehow getting it wrong.
Our message is that you can only get it right. Treat the online world (and any transactions there) just as you would in real life. In a polite and timely fashion, it can only bring benefits to your business.
Of course, there are many hints and tips about how to get the most out of the various platforms – Twitter and Facebook are the obvious ones to start with – but that is for another blogpost. In the meantime, the key things to think about include:
Set up a brand account on as many platforms as you think you can update regularly (say 1-2 to start with)
Post updates and news about your business as often as you can.
Follow and engage with other local or industry users or businesses to boost your own exposure and follower count
Promote incentives – Consider offers and deals especially for your followers as a thank you
Make sure that if someone is interested in what you have to offer, that you can send them to a website or dedicated web page that has all of the information they might need, laid out in a simple and uncluttered format.
- Reply to every expression of interest, even if your product or service is not ultimately what they need, and they will remember you either as someone they are interested in using in the future or for outstanding customer service they will happily recommend to others.
Critically, don’t agonise too much about what to say, just say something. As your confidence increases and you get more used to what others post and what your own followers react best to, you will find your natural rhythm and tone, and will quite possibly wonder what you were ever worried about in the first place.
Look out for our next blog post which will talk about Twitter specifically and how it can help your business.