How Savvy Businesses Are Staying Ahead of the Social Curve

August 26, 2014 Brit Thompson
Small business social media marketing tips Sprout Social

According to a recent study, 92% of people trust word-of-mouth marketing above all other forms.

That means, regardless of the size of your business, it’s in your best interest to get people talking about it. And what better place to create chatter about your business than an environment where all that conversation is trackable and ready to analyze. Thats right, social media. Take Twitter for instance, where over 230 million people are sending over 500 million tweets a day, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be talking about your business.

But why do you care if your customers are tweeting, pinning, or posting about you? Do people really even pay attention to their friends’ posts? They do, and your business can benefit from it. A recent study shows that recommendations for a business rise by 30% after you are followed or interact with a current follower. The more your customers talk about and recommend you on social media, the better. It’s marketing in the form that people trust most: word of mouth.

Establishing social media profiles is easy enough, but effectively engaging with your audience is a whole other story. Simply having a social media presence is no longer enough. To ensure your SMB moves past simple broadcasting into true social engagement, follow these simple steps.

Listen Carefully
Listening to what is being said in the community around you is key. Setup listening operators in your social media management tool to connect with and build a relationship with the most important social audience there is outside of your existing customers: your local community. This geo-local audience is one of the best ways to reach your target audience organically; give people reasons to care about you socially and create an affinity with your brand by making the effort to reach out.

Be Authentic

Your company inherently has a persona that should be reflected in the way you communicate with your social audiences as well. To determine what that voice is, sit down with your team and define the personality you want to portray that’s consistent with your brand experience across all outlets. Establish if your brand is funny, serious, or intellectual, and once you’ve identified those ideal traits, put pen to paper to ensure it’s consistent —regardless of who is behind the keyboard. Make sure to maintain a genuine voice and always avoid sounding robotic in responses to your audience. This helps to add a friendly face to your brand, which will make it easier for your customers to connect with your brand on a more personal level.

Create Meaningful Content

Your customers—current, future and past —are your social audience, and you know that unique segment better than anyone as a SMB. Use that ingrained knowledge to craft content that you know your customers want to see from you and that will be the most helpful or entertaining to them. Social updates could be insights in whatever your business specializes in, nuggets that you can offer than very few others can, or simply a photo that highlights the very best of your business. Whatever it is, the message sent out every single day by your social channels must simply be you, by you, for them. In other words, don’t advertise to the audience who elected to let you in without providing value first.

When it comes down to it, having an effective social media presence is something your business can not afford to miss out on. It’s easily one of the most cost effective methods to engage with your audience. And by utilizing the practices mentioned above, you’ll be on your way to building a strong and strategic social media presence.

 

About the Author

Brit Thompson

As the social marketing manager at Sprout Social, Brit Thompson is passionate about improving the way brands engage with people by creating exceptional customer experiences and building community through social media. She loves seeing how businesses are harnessing the power of social to add value to their customers’ lives.

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