If you feel like every small business owner on the planet has at least one social media page, you would (almost) be correct. Over 80 percent of small and medium businesses use social media, usually for marketing purposes, Mashable notes. Unfortunately, as a Social Media Coach points out, 76 percent of business owners will ultimately fail in their attempts to use this popular platform.
For small businesses that are looking to beat the odds and succeed on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, the following trio of tactics are currently being used by major corporations and can easily be incorporated by small and medium sized business owners:
Create a buzz with your social media content
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Many large companies do certain things very well on social media that relate to their content strategy. As Social Media Examiner notes, they post content that is meaningful and has a genuine impact on people, which in turn causes those potential customers to talk about the company with others. They also post deals or sales which are then re-posted again and again.
A classic example of a company that does this exceptionally well is Starbucks. The coffee conglomerate has over 34 million fans on Facebook alone, and it regularly uses social media to post sales that people who have “liked” their page can access. A recent sale on Iced Grande beverages for a buck ended up being shared close to 14,000 times and was commented on by over 1,500 people.
Small business owners can certainly follow Starbucks’ lead by posting a special offer or deal that is good just for their Facebook fans. By coming up with an enticing promotion and posting it on the social media site that has the most followers, small business owners can get their customers to start talking about them with their friends. Just as a quick word of caution, before small business owners start revving up their social media websites with great offers, they should make sure they have the proper security precautions in place. For example, by working with a trusted company like LifeLock, they can rest assured that any sudden increase in traffic to the social media page will not lead to any type of security breach.
Update, update and update some more…at certain times of day
In order to make sure their posts and updates are actually being seen by customers, small business owners need to keep some specific tactics in mind. First, they should post a lot — maybe up to four times a day on Facebook and as many as 10 Tweets a day on Twitter. And although most bosses won’t be happy to read this, the best times to post on social media sites is during the average workday, which is somewhere between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Posts made at midnight will probably disappear far back on the news feed and customers will never see them. A company that takes this approach is Ford Motor Company. As YSF Magazine notes, the auto maker is constantly making new and engaging posts on social media — everything from nostalgic photos of cars to contests and more. People who like Ford Motor Company on Facebook are likely to see regular and interesting updates and posts, which helps to pique their interest and keep them coming back for more.
Don’t just sit there….talk back
Starbucks didn’t make this video, but it gave them plenty of extra eyeballs looking at their brand, they were good sports about it, and you can clearly see on twitter they talk back to their customers. Morale of the story: Make a good product and treat your customers well, create brand advocates.
One of the best ways small business owners can use social media to its full advantage is to actively engage with customers. This means doing much more than simply scheduling a bunch of posts on Facebook. Small business owners should reply to as many customer comments as they can, and also ask questions in their posts that will inspire people to answer and interact with them. Bergdorf Goodman, popular retailer in New York, is well-known for sharing fashion tips with its visitors, telling them jokes, and answering posts with witty and savvy replies that address the people directly by name.