It seems like anyone interested in taking their company, product or service into the social media realm looks to “gurus” and “consultants” for the answer. Nothing can be further from the truth. Following the tips below, you can take charge & grow brand awareness and your audience. But if you don’t have enough time and effort for all these steps, connect with freshcrowd today. They have a reputable team of social media marketing experts ready to help your brand.
These tips focus on the client/customer relationships seen in restaurants, hotels, and similar settings, however, be creative in applying these tips to your situation.
1) Don’t quit your job. Just because you’re about to dive into social media networks, doesn’t mean you should forget about what you do. Your main strength is the knowledge of your company, product or service. Being a social media citizen should be like a hobby rather than your new full-time job.
2) Network with colleagues. One of your biggest advantages to spread the word is to network with people and companies you already deal with. Add your social media links to your invoices, email signature, billing statements, customer receipts, website – in short, anywhere you can.
3) Your followers/fans ARE kings! It’s all about them. If you’re in the restaurant business, for example, invite people to offer feedback about their experience. Train your waiters/waitresses to encourage clients to visit your social media hub. Provide a leaflet or sign at your establishment indicating that becoming a follower or liking your page can result in discounts and other benefits.
4) Speaking of fans and followers. Interact with them often and by name. If JoePublic comments or replies to a post, reply and mention his name/username in the process. On Facebook, you could respond like this, for example, @JoePublic – Thanks for your kind words! We’re happy you enjoyed your experience! On Twitter, you can reply by typing in their Twitter name like this: @JoePublic – Thanks for your comments! Here’s a nifty Twitter tip. If you precede your response with a period(.), like this: .@JoePublic – Thanks for your comments! then not only will JoePublic see the message, but your Twitter followers as well!
5) Create consistent content. Be sure to frequently update your audience. This can be anything from news about your company, product or service. If for example, your restaurant is participating in a community food drive, or that your product earned a prestigious award – inform your audience! Include pictures and videos as well when possible. Multimedia-based content is eye-candy on social media networks.
6) Encourage instant feedback & reward. Most people have smartphones that allow them to “check-in” where they are. These “check-ins” get posted on their personal social accounts – thereby advertising your location to their friends/followers. Inform customers that by “checking-in” at your location they can receive some reward for doing so.
7) Negative feedback is really a blessing! Should a fan or follower provide negative feedback – don’t delete it – address it! This situation is really the “golden ticket.” This is your chance to fix a wrong not only for that individual but for others to see. This can speak volumes of how important customers are to you. Plus, your social media reputation and respect will grow as well.
8) Don’t spam. Bombarding your network with frequent “sales” talk is frowned upon. While the goal is to gain awareness, posting your offerings, coupons, and specials like spam is a sure way to kill any potential social network growth. Imagine a casual dinner party and being approached by someone you don’t know. He immediately begins to talk non-stop about his business and what he can do for you – it’s a turn-off.
9) “Like us.”, “Follow us.” – Why? You’ve seen advertisements that simply show a Twitter or Facebook icon, or include a “Like us” / “Follow us” text. The question is … “Why?” Why should I like or follow you? With that said, on your Facebook page, learn about creating a “Welcome page” tab showing what fans/followers will receive for liking your page. If you offer VIP specials, discounts, or have exclusive news or information that can only be found on your Facebook or Twitter sites – let people know.
10) Use ALL social media outlets to promote your brand & message. If you just have a Facebook page or a Twitter page, you’re already at a disadvantage. There are some people that refuse to use Facebook; the same as Twitter. Your message should be broadcast to all.
11) Contests. If you plan to hold a contest, the best tip: Keep it simple! If you’re holding a Mother’s Day contest on Facebook for example which asks your audience to write a narrative describing their Mom and to include their Mom’s photo – this requires work on their part and they may decide it’s not worth it. Now, take this same contest and say: Describe your Mom in one word. Watch the entries increase.
12) Keep updated. The tips here are a good foundation, but like most anything else, the social media landscape is constantly changing. Read up on new media/social media articles. Discern any shift in trends and ideas and be prepared to change course often.
13) Have fun. The whole point of having a social media network is yes, to promote your brand, product, and service, but it shouldn’t be a chore. If you’re too busy or aren’t a social butterfly find someone that is. Conveying a consistently positive, upbeat mood is vitally important.
BONUS TIP: Have some extra goodies laying around? Discounts coupons, product samples, or you’re just in the mood to give someone a free dinner at your restaurant? Over time, you’ll recognize avid supporters of your company and pages. Surprise members of your audience by letting them know via a personal post or comment that their support is appreciated by giving these goodies away. The pay off is huge. But, be wary – the idea is to reward and build buzz versus your pages becoming a location for “freebies.”
These tips are by no means the be-all and end all of launching and managing your social media initiative. They don’t guarantee overnight success, but by following them, and being consistent, you’re off to a great start!