Most Small Businesses Spend 6 Hours or More Weekly on Social Media.
Statistics show that most small businesses spend at least six hours weekly on social media to spread brand awareness and draw in customers. Since 78 percent of U.S. consumers say that their purchases are impacted by a company’s social media posts, how businesses spend that time makes a big difference to their success.
For small business owners feeling lost in a sea of tweets, page likes, follows, image sharing and content forwarding; social media marketing can seem overwhelming. So, where to start? Making social media work for your local business is all about choosing the right platforms and creating the right kind of content and then tying that content to other strategies, such as getting reviews. Not every social media network is created equal, so you need to consider which networks work for your company.
The Right Social Networks for Your Company
Facebook is the logical place to start, especially since 47 percent of Americans say that this network is the No. 1 influence on their purchasing decisions. A Facebook page is easy to set up and maintain, and it makes connecting with current and potential customers incredibly easy. However, it has one potential pitfall for businesses: engaging their followers. Although thousands of Facebook users may potentially connect with your business page by giving it a “like,” they won’t actually be privy to your updates unless they engage with it regularly. For this reason it is important to share interesting content such as polls, contests and games.
Do not, however, ignore Google+. It’s not the most popular social media platform, but it has a dramatic impact on whether customers will find you online because Google pays close attention to the things people follow there, and then personalize search results based on that social activity. That means the more activity you have on Google+, the more likely you are to move up in Google search rank and in apps that use Google information.
Twitter is great for promoting contests and new products, and also provides a platform for one-to-one contact, something that can be difficult in others. Twitter is also a place where you’ll find people who have checked into your business using a check-in app like Foursquare or Yelp.
Pinterest is the perfect platform to showcase beautiful products and create virtual shopping lists or inspiration boards. Small business owners should strategize the best ways to connect with their particular audience, and match their sales model with each chosen platform.
How to Spend Those 6 Hours
Task lists change from platform to platform, but there are a few basic rules to follow whether using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media networks:
- Promote positive consumer reviews
- Retain loyal customers and followers through engagement
- Promote customer referrals using a loyalty/referral program
- Create and share engaging content to bring new prospects into the process
- Maintain a dialogue with consumers wherever possible to boost brand image
Product and service reviews are incredibly important to today’s consumer. No company can risk losing business to a rival with a better online rating. The two biggest social media platforms, Facebook and Google+ now have consumer reviews built in. So when a customer or prospect encounters your brand there, they also encounter your reputation. Social media can also be used to invite users to leave a review on other platforms after they have made a purchase, and to follow up on those reviews. Dialogue is a company’s greatest tool when it comes to establishing their brand as caring, compassionate and professional.
Retaining loyal customers is an integral part of social media networking, as these are the people that make repeat purchases and spread company content on the Web with referrals. Keeping in touch with these followers is important, particularly when it comes to compiling customer information databases for marketing purposes. Social media provides fertile ground for integration with a customer loyalty/referral program.
A Better Way to Spend Those 6 Hours
Let RatingsMax do it for you.
The process of cultivating and maintaining a social media following is time-consuming, but profitable and necessary in today’s online economy. RatingsMax, a managed service provider, can give you back those 6 hours and make the process a lot easier! RatingsMax takes a holistic approach across reviews, search and social, as well as customer loyalty, retention and referrals, to keep engagement going and increase business. RatingsMax will select the right platforms for your business, monitor and respond to integrated reviews on Facebook, Google+ and other networks, share positive reviews to social, and much more – giving you a whole day to put back into your business.