As a small business owner, you can’t afford not to be on social media. In this video tutorial, digital and social media strategist Martin Waxman explains why social media’s important for your business and advises you how to get started by stepping into your customer’s shoes. He covers the key steps you should take in this process.
- I grew up in retail and watched my dad build a loyal community of customers around his fabric and drapery store. He got the word out in two ways: Traditional advertising and word-of-mouth. But my dad knew customer recommendations worked best, because people would come into the store and tell him a friend suggested it, and that's why they were there. My dad didn't realize it at the time, but he was using social media to build his business. So what is social media? Many people answer that by saying Facebook, and while there are a billion and a half people on Facebook, social media's a lot more than that.
Social media is word-of-mouth on steroids. It gives you a way to connect and build relationships with your customers. But it's not a hard sell like many ads you see. It's a more nuanced form of marketing. A conversation. Some entrepreneurs think social media is just another channel you can use to talk about your business. And that's the wrong approach. Social media is all about your customer and how you can help them. If you're successful on social media, you'll have an opportunity to interact with your customers one-on-one, deepen your relationships, and earn their trust even when they're not on your site or in your store.
The first step is shifting your marketing focus from you to your customers. Step into their shoes and try to see the world through their eyes. They're busy people. What do they need to get through their jam-packed days to accomplish the things they want to do? Ask yourself what social media channels they're on and whether they want to interact with you there. Then map your customers' pain points and figure out the kind of content you can create to help solve your customers' problems when they need it.
This will likely include a combination of blog posts, videos, visuals, white papers, forums, and of course, social media updates that help amplify your content and build community. Once you understand your customers' needs, you can start to figure out how to connect with them on various social media channels and develop your online brand personality. Social media marketing is a long-term commitment. So be sure you have the resources to maintain it.
The most important thing to remember is go where your customers are. Don't make them come to you.
- Using social media to listen to customers
- Setting goals
- Crafting a social media policy and a plan
- Creating shareable content
- Measuring your social media success