Social media can act as the face of the company and engage customers outside of the storefront. They act as advertising platforms as well as contacts for customer service inquiries. They’re often the first things that a potential customer will see when looking for a business or company to help meet their needs or wants. Of course, it goes without saying that anyone with a product or service to promote is better off with them than without them. So, you may think that Facebook is important to use, but so is Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Before signing up for all of the above, there are a few things to consider when choosing the best ones.
Single vs. multiple social accounts.
First, ask yourself whether or not you need to have more than one social media channel open. Will you have time to manage all of them? Is having an account with every social media outlet enhancing the customer experience, or falling flat? If you have a Twitter or Instagram that’s growing a few cobwebs from minimal usage, you’re not likely to keep your followers. A social media presence is a tool that any company needs, but it doesn’t necessarily need to occur on every channel imaginable for the best results. Keep in mind what product or service you are providing and whether or not these social media sites are working to promote that product or service as well as create conversation and interaction between you and your customers. Sticking with one outlet can ensure that it receives the most attention and post the most content, while multiple social media sites can help you reach multiple audiences.
In addition, businesses with multiple locations sometimes create accounts for regional stores so that the messages are relevant to the targets in each area. This is a great idea for keeping the regional customer informed of new deals, products, etc. However, it’s also important to keep in mind the time and resources required to manage these accounts. Although the single account and multiple account routes are equally beneficial, social media can be time consuming and the proper attention is needed for these channels.
Choosing the right outlet(s).
Having a social media presence is important to anyone who’s trying to advertise, but having a presence on any and all channels isn’t going to be effective if those outlets aren’t appropriate. Social media takes a little more research than many would think, and the correct social media channels can be chosen by considering your business objectives and, most importantly, your target audiences.
Let’s pretend that you’re running a locally owned hardware store and you want to enhance customer experience and brand loyalty through social media. Your target audience are males 30-50 who may not be the most handy when it comes to home improvement or repairs and your business objective is to provide the right tips and tricks when it comes to working with tools. Thus, this hardware store could benefit from creating informational content, How-To’s and DIY projects through social media. For a small hardware business, Facebook is the ideal media outlet that can channel this type of content. It allows for video and image content, over 1,000 characters per post, and is ideal for reaching an adult male target audience. Additionally, if the resources are available, a YouTube channel can be used as a secondary outlet for creating How-To videos that can be linked back to the Facebook page. If the store was targeting adult women, on the other hand, blogging sites like Pinterest that have a higher number of female users can be used to post DIY projects and images.
Of course, not everyone is going to have the same outcome, but keeping in mind what you’re trying to achieve, what the customer wants to see and how they normally view their social media content can bring in the best results- which is new followers, new customers, and a stronger brand loyalty.
Remember to manage channel(s) accordingly.
If your outlets have already been chosen, make sure that they are getting the right maintenance. Use programs like Hootsuite to help schedule all of your social posts in one place. It saves time and ensures that your content is posted at the time that’s the most appropriate. Most importantly, make sure that your posts occur at times when the target is most likely to be online and see it. The best time to post can depend on the outlet you are using and the target you are reaching, so make sure you do your research! Finally, respond to customer inquiries and interact with followers. Social media allows for endless possibilities for keeping the audience engaged. Keeping these tips in mind next time you are opening a new social media account can help bring in the most benefits from your online experience.