Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. And if you run a business and don’t already have any social media presence then you are missing out on tens of thousands of prospective clients every single day. It’s just that simple.
There are 2.8 billion people on social media. 2.8. Billion. People. For a little perspective on how huge that number is, 2.8 billion is the total population of earth circa 1955. – tracx.com
Now that’s an amazing number of people accessing social media don’t you think?! You don’t even need to reach 0.0001% of them to still reach hundreds of thousands of people who may want to buy your stuff. I think that’s an amazing resource to tap into.
As if that wasn’t enough reason in itself to delve into the world of social media, then here are 10 other reasons why you really should take the leap for your business:
1. It’s FREE!
Yes, completely and utterly FREE. OK, so it will take you some time to get your content together and learn how to add it, and you can pay to boost your posts so more people get to see them, but honestly, compared to the paper-based advertising of old, social media is simply in a different league. And for new businesses and solopreneurs that’s got to be a huge selling point. In fact, using social media can actually reduce some of your other business costs such as advertising and recruiting as outlined in this post over on Business Woman Media.
2. Global Reach
For almost every business, having a global reach can really be a benefit. It’s great for connecting with potential customers, but even for a small or new business that works more locally, having the potential of connecting with like-minded individuals globally can really expand what your business does – and you never know where it may lead. I recently had a website enquiry from someone in New York who found me online! Whilst it turned out that I wasn’t the right fit for his business, it was great to think that my business is popping up on searches made over the pond.
3. Drives Traffic to your Website
It’s the whole point really. Social media helps people connect with you on a more social level before they decide whether or not to do business with you and then gives them a route to your website, thus bringing in more revenue in the long run – as long as your content is something they want more of!
4. Brand Recognition
With consistent branding across all of your digital assets, social media allows you to put your brand in front of potential customers in lots of different ways. I’m not talking about always selling because that’s just tacky, but writing blog posts and sharing graphics with your logo, strapline and colours really will leave an imprint that people will remember and start to associate with your company. It also builds brand loyalty and that’s super important if you want to keep customers coming back for more.
5. Build Relationships
Many businesses forget that social media is just that – SOCIAL – which means that a one-way stream of constant advertising seldom works. For social media to work for your business you have to build relationships. Join groups on Facebook and offer advice, join conversations on Twitter and voice your opinions, post photos on Instagram and share your world – all without selling your products and services at every single opportunity. The point here is to build a community who likes what you do, because they will then contact you to work with or pass on your details to someone else who needs your expertise.
6. Social Proof
This encompasses a whole lot more than just testimonials and feedback. Social proof is a huge decider when it comes to people buying your stuff. It’s online word-of-mouth and includes Reason #5 above as well as case studies and story telling. There’s a great article over at CXL with far more detail on this subject and I suggest you go and take a look – it’s really helped me (ah, more social proof – see what I did there?!).
7. Customer Service
Answering customer queries via social media is a great way of showing that you care. If those exchanges are public, they add to your social proof (Reason #6) and showing other potential customers that you deal with enquiries of any nature quickly and professionally.
8. Show Expertise
We’re back to social proof again here. You can show expertise in your industry by commenting on current events, news and trends and linking to blog posts that you’ve written either on your own site or on others. For example, here’s a post I wrote for the Knowledgebase over at Women in Rural Enterprise all about creating a business that is successful on your own terms. It’s linked to my mentoring and coaching business but also mentions Web Goddess.
9. Improved Search Rankings
The more time spent adding rich and interesting content to your social media efforts, the better you will find your search rankings. This is because your content brings new followers, who in turn click through to your website and thus improve your rankings.
10. It’s where your Customers are!!!
There is no longer any doubt that social media works. In 2016 80 percent of medium social media users (1-2 hours per day) made online purchases during the year with 79 percent and 78 percent of heavy and light users respectively making online purchases in the same period. This in contrast to 48 percent of non-social media users making online purchases in the same period (source). Your customers are scrolling through their social feeds looking for things to buy and if you’re not popping up in front of them then you’re missing out!
So with all of those reasons I hope you’ll agree that it’s a no-brainer for your business. It may seem like there is a lot of choice out there, but just take it one step at a time and remember:
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain
P.S. If you’re new to working online or are simply struggling with your social media skills I can help. Check out my Digital Mentoring service for a little 1:1 help if you need it.
Check out this amazing infographic from the team over at tracx.com which gives you a fantastic idea of social media demographics at the beginning of 2017.
And here’s a great short infographic video from The Social Pro about why Social Media matters.
Christmas is a great time to connect with your customers and clients and is also an excuse to have a bit of fun!
So why not try one of these festive marketing tips:
#1 Surprise your VIPs
Give your top customers or clients a special Christmas surprise – whether that’s a free product or gift or simply a handwritten note to thank them for their custom over the year, your thoughtfulness and recognition of their loyalty will make them feel like they are important to your business and will keep them coming back. If you’re new in business then this list can simply be your most frequent interactors on social media or via email. Whoever they are, make sure they know you think they’re great.
#2 Run a Competition
We all love to win prizes – especially when there may be a festive treat involved! It doesn’t have to be big to spark people’s interest, but offering an entry into your Christmas prize draw if they sign up to your email newsletter or comment on a Facebook post can be a great way to get your customers interacting with you.
#3 Create an Online Prize Hunt
Another simple competition idea is to run an online treasure hunt to get people to interact with your website. You could ask people to find the plum pudding or the treats you have around the site and then email in with their answers. As long as people know what they are looking for then it can be great fun!
#4 Hold a Party
If you have a physical location then putting on a party for your clients or customers can be a great way to keep your business in their minds. This could be limited to your VIPs as another way of surprising them or you could invite everyone who signs up to your newsletter list or who has been a customer in the past year to come along. This very much depends on how many people you think will show up!
#5 Create a Survey
Surveys can be a great way to find out what you clients and customers really think of your business and if you team it up with the chance to win something then you are bound to get people to share their views with you. Think about what it is you want to know and use a free online survey creator such as Survey Monkey to collect the responses.
#6 Sing Silly Songs
One of the funniest things I’ve ever done is create a Halloween video with some colleagues over on JibJab. You simply upload your faces and paste them on the characters and you are all turned into characters on an e-card that often includes hilarious dancing. They also have Christmas ones as well so you and your colleagues can become elves, at least for a short while!
#7 Offer an Early Bird Discount
If you know that Christmas is going to be super busy for you, give an early-bird discount for sales or services in November and let your customers reap the rewards of getting their Christmas shopping done early. Not only do they grab a bargain, but you get more business and hopefully avoid at least some of the last minute shopping that happens. On that note, I actually received an email order at 9pm on Christmas Eve one year so you are not ever going to help everyone be more organised!!
#8 Sell Gift Vouchers
You may already be thinking of this for your VIPs but offering all of your clients gift vouchers is a really great way to say thank you for their loyalty over Christmas. Keep the validity short to ensure they use the voucher early in the new year and this can really be a great way to pump up your clientele in January and February. Customers tend to spend more than the value of the voucher and if they don’t use it at all it hasn’t cost you anything either so these really are a great way to celebrate at this time of year.
#9 Write a Christmas Email Series
Send out an email a day for the 12 Days of Christmas. This could each include a special offer valid for 24 hours only or offering special tips and advice over the festive season. Choose something that fits with your industry and have some fun with it.
#10 Send Custom Candy
Sweets and candy are always winners in my book, so why not create some custom candy with your business details on it, or simply a Christmas message. There are plenty of companies out there doing customised food including putting your logo onto m&ms!! Give these to customers in Christmas baubles or create your own crackers for a simple but memorable gift.
There are so many different ways to surprise your clients this Christmas so I urge you to make the effort and spread some festive cheer.
If you run a business and are not using social media, then you really are missing out on some great free exposure and a way to connect with your target audience in a more friendly and dynamic way than on a website. My personal favourite is Facebook as I am really a visual person and love the way you can mix text, images and links and control what you see on your page. So, for this reason I have compiled my 10 Top Tips for using Facebook for business:
1. Create a Business Page – I am still completely surprised at how many people I see creating personal profile pages for their business and asking people to become their friends. This is neither professional nor good practice so if you haven’t created a business page yet – then JUST DO IT!! If you need more reason then check out this post on Entrepreneur as they explain it all much more succinctly than I would.
2. Post Consistently – once you have your page up and running, post to it often. If you miss even a few days, your reach goes down enormously and you just won’t appear in your fan’s timeline. It’s that simple. If you have trouble remembering to post all the time then I recommend using the built in scheduler within Facebook. Instead of clicking ‘post’ when you have created an item, click eht drop down next to it and select ‘Schedule’. That way you can plan a whole week or month of posts in one sitting. I use it to plan posts for a month at a time and then pop in and out to add ‘live’ posts now and again too.
3. Vary your Updates – posting the same things over and over again is not only boring, but your followers will quickly tire of it and either unlike your page or simply block your posts. I know one business that posts the exact same text every Friday and it just shows no imagination or social interaction. Use photos, quotes, videos and text and share posts from other pages that interest you. And if you are just posting sales information all the time, stop doing that too. The general rule is 80/20 – 80% non-sales and 20% sales.
4. Convert your Likes – if your page has thousands of likes that’s great! But if none of those fans are converting to customers at some stage then all the fans in the world aren’t helping you sell anything or get more business. Although the idea of a page can be to interact with people, you also need to convert people to buyers once they trust you and your product/service and this can be done through surveys (to collect email addresses), promotions, highlighting products or by offering special deals only for followers.
5. Communicate with your Followers – it’s called ‘social’ media for a reason! If someone messages you through your Page, comments on a post or asks a question, get back to them as soon as you can. No need to post at 1am but if you ignore your followers you risk losing them. The whole idea behind having a business page is to let your fans interact with your business in a different and more casual way than they would with your website – and this has to be a two way street.
6. Create an Awesome Cover Photo – you are selling your business after all, so please take the time to make a great cover photo. Cover photo dimensions are currently 851px x 312px and you can create great cover photos in your own image software or online at Canva (FOR FREE) and upload them to your page. It is also a good idea to change your cover photo about once a month to match your promotions, special days of the year or just to showcase new products or services.
7. Follow other Pages – it’s a great idea to follow other pages on Facebook to see what they post and to get ideas for your own page. Try to spread your net as wide as you can and don’t just follow similar pages to your own. You never know, you might just find some amazing information on a page that is completely different than yours.
8. Check your Insights – this may seem like the boring bit, and to many people it is. But without checking your page insights it is almost impossible to work out which of your posts have been the most engaging and which posts to promote as adverts (yes, I do advocate using Facebook adverts as free only goes so far). If you find that your image posts do better than your text or link posts, then make sure that your posting strategy includes more images.
9. Ask Questions – not only are these a great way of getting feedback, but they allow your fans to interact with you and feel that their answers are important to you and your business. Asking for one or two word answers often work best as people generally don’t have time to type long comments.
10. Chill Out – the whole idea of a Facebook page as far as I am concerned is to allow followers to get to know the human side of a business. It doesn’t mean you have to share your life story, but you should show a more relaxed side and really interact with your followers as often as you can. A sense of humour is very important!!!
This quick list is just the tip of the Facebook pages iceberg and I hope it helps you create and use your pages to improve your business. If you’d like to connect with me on Facebook then pop on over to my Web Goddess Page and say hello!