Communication With Customers: Building Relationships with Social Media
by Jason Walko, GLLV Intern
Social media is one of the most impactful advances of the 21st century, and its effective use can turn a struggling business into a successful one. However, social media is difficult to use effectively if you aren’t familiar with the different platforms that are available. Here are a few tips on how to effectively utilize social media to help boost your business.
It is better to excel at the most appropriate form of social media for your business than to attempt all of them at once. More often than not, this just produces mediocre results for each of the different platforms. All too often, social media account admins will try to manage content across multiple major social media platforms without understanding the fundamental differences between them. To avoid this, it helps to take a step back and think about what type of goods and/or services you provide, and what platform can best suit your needs. There may be more than one.
Is your business a customer-focused service industry? Facebook might be the best option for you, because it allows for a high level of customer interaction. Allowing people to comment on posts and keeping your messages open lets you form channels of communication between your business and potential customers. Visitors to your Facebook page will be able to see your responses and a metric for how quickly you are likely to respond. In addition to this, Facebook also has a “Live” function that allows you to broadcast events as they happen for online audiences to view. Followers of your page will be notified whenever a live broadcast starts, and Facebook can save the video for posting so that users may watch and interact with the video after the broadcast ends.
Does your business host events frequently? Twitter might be the perfect way for you to provide followers with minute-by-minute updates on your business’s events. Your Twitter feed provides you with updates from pages you follow in chronological order. Like Facebook, Twitter is also a good medium for interacting with people. Users can tag you in posts using your online “handle,” or username beginning with an “@” symbol, to notify you when they mention your business. Checking the “Discover” page allows you to see which topics are trending or popular. If a trending topic is relevant to your business, posting a tweet about the trending topic could expose your business to people who seek out tweets about those topics.
If your business sells physical products, especially custom made or unique items, it would be wise for you to use a visual-based social media such as Instagram. Instagram is a picture and video based social media that allows you to share images with your followers. One useful feature of Instagram is the Stories feature, which allows you to make a temporary post that lasts for 24 hours. This is a great place to post limited time offers and special promotions. This way, you will not have to delete the posts after the event or promotion is over, and you can decorate the post with animations and stickers that help to catch the attention of users.
Other social media applications also utilize a “stories” feature, including Facebook and
Snapchat. Facebook stories, much like Live broadcasts, will usually send your page’s followers notifications whenever you add content to them. Snapchat’s “stories” function works similarly to Instagram’s and Facebook’s, however, Snapchat is perceived as a more “personal” social media, used by individuals to communicate with each other. Snapchat stories are only visible to those who you have approved as an added “friend,” so it is not very useful for attracting a wider audience. It is best used for customer retention.
No matter what social media you decide is best for your needs, creating a solid interactive online presence can be a huge benefit for your business. The Chamber of Commerce can help assist you with social media through any one of our marketing workshops.