Effectively Using Social Media in Your Business: Part 1- Finding Your Customers
Before we talk about effectively using social media, we need to understand the bottom line of business.
The bottom line of business is very simple. You must get your products and services into the hands of your customers. In exchange for your products and services, your customers will give you some sort of compensation. That may be in the form of money, endorsement or even their e-mail address. All three of these are very important.
How do we get from point A to point B? How do we get our products and services into the hands of our customers? There are 5 critical things that we need to do in order to make this happen.
- Find our customers or make it easy for them to find us.
- Find out what our customers need.
- Inform, educate and convince our customers that we can meet their needs.
- Deliver our product/service in way that suits our customer.
- Have systems in place to receive compensation.
In this article, we will discuss the first item, finding customers or making it easy for customers to find us.
Just as it is important for your customers to be able to find your physical location if you have a brick and mortar operation, it is important that they can find you online. Although this may seem like a “no brainer,” you may be surprised how many business owners miss this. Perhaps you are not surprised. Maybe you have had the experience of wanting to find a particular business but couldn’t because you didn’t remember the exact name or website address. You searched under something that you thought would be close, but, to no prevail. So you ended up going with another business.
Here are a few tips that can help you find your customers or be more easily found by them.
Website – Your Main Cyber Real Estate
Your website is your key piece of real estate in cyberspace. This is where the magic happens. This is your home. This is where you want to invite your customers to come, interact and learn how you can help them with their problem. Unlike our private real estate, which is about our likes and preferences, your website should be about your customer. It should be inviting and easy to navigate. The goal should be giving the customers what they need.
Make sure that your site is search engine optimized (SEO). Although Google and other search engines seem to change their search algorithms on a regular basis, there are still some best practices that never get old. Make sure that your domain name reflects your service, product or brand as much as possible. Avoid using “cute” names unless it is part of your brand or product name. I remember my first website which was geared towards moms making extra money on the internet. I thought momXtracash.com would be a cute name. However, I quickly found that not many people search on how to make “xtra” cash on the internet.
In addition to having a domain name that reflects your products and brand, try to get a domain name that reflects your actual name. This domain name can be for a simple, one page website that directs people to all of your other websites. People may forget your brand or product name; however, if you left a good impression with them, they may remember your actual name.
I have a number of products and services, all of which have their own websites and domain names. However, I also have VanessaCollins.me, a website that I use to direct people to all other sites in my network. Therefore, when I am out speaking or interacting with people, I will tell them to find me at VanessaCollins.me.
There are tons of good, free information about SEO and how to make sure that people can find your site. Take the time to do the research and get this step right.
Regardless to what you think about social media, you must get in the game in order to really grow your business. While having a website is extremely important, people are not typically hanging out on your website. People will come to your site to get what they need and then they will leave. Since most websites are not designed in such a way as to encourage dialogue or interaction (something that we will cover in other lessons), you need to go where the people are. People are hanging out on social media. They are posting their information on Facebook, their pictures on Instagram, their random thoughts on Twitter and their questions in LinkedIn groups.
At the time of this writing (May 2014), these are the top 5 social media platforms that you need to have a presence on.
- Facebook (900,000,000 Unique Monthly Visitors)
- Twitter (290,000,000 Unique Monthly Visitors)
- LinkedIn (250,000,000 Unique Monthly Visitors)
- Pinterest (150,000,000 Unique Monthly Visitors)
- Google + (126,000,000 Unique Monthly Visitors)
These social media sites are phenomenal tools for finding customers and being found by customers. With close to 1 billion unique monthly visitors, they have become a hub for all things social. This means that they have become a hub for all things business because many people conduct business is a “social way.” This is nothing new. Back in the day, many deals where brokered on golf courses and in country clubs. Today it is Facebook fan pages and LinkedIn connections that people are using to expand their sales and network.
Make sure that your social media presence represents the best side of you. Although it may be tempting to air your dirty laundry and lash out about people and issues, consider how this will look to your customers. Remember, what you share on Facebook and any other social media can be shared or captured (via screen shot) and disseminated to the world.
Now that your website is up to date and your social profiles are nice and sparkly with great content and information, it is time for you to get out there and engage socially. In our next lesson, we will explore some tips on using social media to find out what our customers need.