People buy from people, not from websites. Shocker? Come on… you all know it’s true. But what does “people buy from people” really mean, and how can you take action now so that your business can benefit from it?
It’s all about getting your business out into the sphere of social media and then WORKING IT.
How social media affects your business is completely up to you. Regardless of whether you sell your products or services out of a storefront or online, you have the potential to build a strong social media presence that will help you grow and connect with your audience, convert more leads into actual customers, AND get those customers to refer their friends and colleagues to you. (In case you didn’t catch that, getting customers to refer business to you is like having people PAY YOU to market your business for you… pretty cool, right?!)
How does this happen? Well, social media is pretty cool in that it makes it possible for you to be everywhere. Peoples social networks are massive, and so for every one person you can connect with on social media, you’re opening a door to potentially connecting with their social network as well. It also provides you with a platform to build strong relationships with your audience and your current customers – relationships that can be very valuable.
Picture a virtual snowball – what I like to call the “social snowball”. You start a business, have a website up and running (your “hub” or homebase), and you’re ready to start getting the word out. You start a Facebook page and you tell five of your friends about it. They’re supportive and love what you’re doing, and so they go to your Facebook page and they “like” it.
Those five friends you told about your page have an average of 150 Facebook friends each (150 x 5 = 750 friends). Let’s say 5% of those 750 friends notice in their Newsfeed that their friend “liked” your page, and it’s now being recommended by Facebook that they like it, too – and they do. So, hypothetically, just by telling five of your friends about your Facebook page, you have about 40 “likes”.
See how fast word travels on social media, and why it’s important for you to get out there already? This example is just related to building your audience and getting page “likes”, but it also holds true for people referring their friends and colleagues to you for any number of things: products, services, etc.
Now that you know it’s important to get your social media presence rockin’ and rollin’, let’s take a look at how you can do this from the ground level up: from building your audience to connecting with and nurturing your audience.
Let’s break down each of these steps:
Step 1: start building (or enhancing) your audience
1. If you haven’t already, create a business page or profile on each of the main social media platforms:
2. Think about how you want your business to be viewed on these sites. It’s important to know what message you’re sending and how you’re going to send it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is your ideal audience? (Who are you trying to reach?)
- What will your voice “sound like” across your social networks? (Will you be to-the-point, all business? or will you have some fun with your social media pages?)
- What are your marketing goals on each platform? (i.e. Facebook: to attract more email subscribers; Twitter: to attract more followers; LinkedIn: to gain more authority in my niche; Google+: to drive more awareness.)
3. If you’ve already started building your social media presence, then try some different tactics to enhance it, like running a campaign on Facebook, (example: to get more page likes, or maybe to get more interactions). This will help increase the number of fans and followers you have, giving you a broader social media presence.
Step 2: start connecting and nurturing relationships
Now that you have fans and followers, think about how you can really engage and connect with them.
1. Be open
- People want to get to know you, trust you: be transparent.
- Care about your social networks, and they’ll care about you: don’t always post about you and your business – post about others and what they’re doing. What does your audience care about and what would be interesting to them?
2. Provide value
- Create a give-away or offer a special. This will help attract more people to your business, plus, who doesn’t like give-aways and specials? If you’re an online business, offer a free eBook or webinar series to your audience and post about on your social media sites. If you’re a brick and mortar business, run a special: “stop in today to receive 10% when you mention this post!” This will not only provide value to your audience, it will also provoke action/engagement with your business on their part.
3. Don’t stop
- The important thing to keep top-of-mind when you’re getting into social media is that it takes time, and you simply have to be consistent. Be sure you’re monitoring your pages and responding to inquires, messages and posts. If you want people to engage with you, then you have to engage with them, too!
Building a strong social presence and connecting with your audience on social media is time consuming and can be tough. These platforms are constantly changing, and so it’s not something you can just put up and expect it to run itself. Continue the conversation and you will continue to build relationships with your audience and your potential customers. If you take the time to nurture those relationships and provide value, then your business will benefit as a result.
Social networks are powerful, and in a world where people buy from people, the relationships you build online can mean everything for your business.
What’s one thing you’ve done on social media that has really helped your business?