There has never been a better time to get your business online. It’s true that the importance of word-of-mouth will always be important, but social media can expand your professional reach even farther. Social media is not time wasted when you are online with a specific purpose. This purpose is to interact with your audience, your customers and your potential customers.
There are many reasons why people go online. One of the biggest reasons is to find information fast and because of that is you need to get your business out there. Quite simply, you want to have a voice online. Here’s another big reason to be online: your competition is already doing it.
Engagement is everything while online. It should be positive, friendly, open and conversational. Here are the hotspots to focus on:
Two ways to share information that is valuable to your audience involves a push and pull relationship. Pull them in with great visuals, content, ideas, news and any other relevant information that applies to your industry. The push involves promotion about what you do. This is a delicate balance because the hard sell does not always work. The approach should involve benefits of what you’re selling and the benefits of working with you – not a “buy from me” approach. Remember that a community is a two-way conversation that involves interaction, participation, and online sharing.
Build your community this way:
1. Offer good customer service:
Social media gives your customers the chance to share feedback. Always take the opportunity to focus on their opinions, concerns or complaints. Engaging with your customers means you care and are available while being involved online.
2. Answer questions:
Never miss the opportunity to provide information on your products and services. Make it easy for your community to contact you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email and, of course, your website.
3. Stay focussed on the trends:
Pay attention to what your audience is focused on and post online about it. Pay attention to what is trending around the world or around the corner. Stay focused on services and products that are desirable that no one else is offering.
4. Start conversations:
Schmoozing online can be productive especially when you post questions and ask for product feedback. Not only can this provide invaluable information, it can be an opportunity to really get to know your community.
5. Be sharable:
Get your community talking. Always provide link buttons so your community knows where to find you online. Post articles that are relevant to your community and this will start an exchange of follows and retweets that will help promote what you do.
6. Share the softer side of your business:
Let your community get to know you as a person as well as a business by posting interviews, spotlights, news and community events that you are involved in. If you are on Pinterest, post photos of products and other business-related visuals. This helps expand your reach while helping you build your brand.
7. Share the love:
Acknowledgment is huge online. Always take the time to thank your followers when they repost status updates and articles. Show your appreciation with a like here and a retweet (#RT) there or by posting a Follow Friday (#FF) too.
8. Share your value:
Social media loves experts. A great way to establish your expertise is to post articles and blog posts. Newsletters and events gets your community talking about you and lets them become more involved with what you do.
9. Spotlight your many talents:
What are you good at that can compliment your business? If you provide public speaking events or offer workshops, this can give you a leg up on the competition while creating an even bigger community.