There’s a certain appeal in thinking back to a simpler time, when everyone in a town knew everyone else and you were probably friends with the grocer and the hardware store owner.
Whether you can remember the age of “mum-and-dad” stores personally, or have just heard about them from your grandparents, you’ll probably agree that it would be nice to feel like you’re dealing with a business you know and trust rather than some faceless corporation.
While the social landscape of today is vastly different than the one of half a century or so ago, one thing has remained the same—the deeply human need for connection.
What has changed, however, is the way with which we connect, and social media has proved time after time to be a powerful tool for reaching out to the people of the modern world.
Here are a few reasons why your business needs to start making friends, followers, and fans.
Connect with a wider audience
If all your business has is a blog or a website, chances are that most of the people you’re reaching already know you exist and probably use your business.
Search engine traffic may be the only thing allowing you to expand your outreach. By maintaining a presence on websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it’s easier for your content to reach new eyes—and the best part is, it happens naturally!
Users can share your posts, re-tweet your updates, and pin your ideas, – check out the traffic on The Pink Group’s Social Media Cheat Sheet to see how powerful this is – thereby gaining you views from all their friends as well. “Word of keyboard” is the new “word of mouth”.
Understand your demographics
Thanks to the burgeoning field of social media analytics, it’s easier than ever to run tests to see exactly who you’re most popular with, as well as the kinds of things they like and don’t like.
Once you know that, you can tailor your marketing strategies and company practices to more closely match the values of the people who are giving you their business.
By posting or sharing content that is useful and interesting to your audience, you establish your business as a valuable resource.
Small business owner Lucy Bee recommends distributing special discount codes now and then, and possibly hosting contests and giveaways, which everyone loves—just be careful not to make your page all about you.
Nobody wants a friend who just yammers on about how great they are all the time, and the same principle applies here. So remember to post content that’s relevant to your industry—if you’re a grocery store, post seasonal recipes; if you sell running shoes, post about that upcoming 5k.
If you’re just starting out with social media, expect a learning curve. Some strategies work better than others, and often trial and error is the only way to discover which is which.
It may be worth hiring a social media manager whose sole job it is to update your pages with fresh content; engage with your audience through comments or messaging; and track the success of each type of post.
This will take the stress off you, while still allowing your business to maintain an open channel of communication with the people you want to please.