We’ve discussed the benefits of claiming social media accounts for small businesses – and now we’re back on it to get into the specifics.
When it’s used effectively, social media has the potential to take your business to the next level. While the ultimate goal of social engagement and sharing is to convert leads into paying customers, the initial goal is to generate more leads to give your company a wide base of potential clients. If you’re an old pro at social media, you already know that having a meaningful network is much more useful than having thousands of followers or likes that you pay for. Before you can focus on conversion, you have to focus on establishing a solid following.
The good news: social media platforms are so wide-ranging and extensively used that they provide businesses with unprecedented opportunities to attract a broad consumer base. Below are some of our best tips for generating leads via social media platforms.
1. Build relationships.
Consumers tend to patronize businesses with which they feel a personal connection. Consumers want to know that you listen to them and will respond to their needs. Along that line of thinking, an easy way to build relationships using social media is to be responsive. Always respond to customer comments on your Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog – even if (especially if) they’re not flattering. Courteous, helpful responses from you will encourage people to keep coming back to your feed – and they often attract your followers’ friends as well. On the other hand, neglecting your pages makes you seem cold or unconcerned about your customers’ needs.
2. Cultivate your presence.
When you’re able to get someone’s contact information, be proactive about generating leads with it. Send out regular emails or even text messages with updates and deals to entice people to visit your web page or social media accounts. Millennials in particular tend to appreciate being recruited. They are aware that they have multiple options for goods and services, and a large part of their decisions rests upon how earnestly you try to connect with them.
3. Offer incentives.
All consumers like to find good deals, and you can generate leads by offering incentives in exchange for interest in your company. Offer coupons for discounted, upgraded, or free services to those who become your Facebook friend or refer other leads. Buying followers won’t do you any good in the long run – but drawing in followers with discounted products is an effective way to create new customers.
4. Keep your social media platforms current.
An outdated site or social media account is unlikely to draw much (positive) attention; visitors who do happen upon a neglected web page or Facebook account probably won’t return because your business doesn’t seem worth patronizing. If your website needs an update, call in the pros – they’ll know how to give your site a fresh look without disrupting your functionality (in fact, they’ll probably improve it).
Keep your social accounts current by making sure that any special deals are posted and by removing information about events and specials that have ended. To keep your website humming with activity, post regularly on your blog and participate frequently on Facebook and Twitter. You can share helpful industry-related information – for example, how to choose an event-appropriate dress if you’re in the fashion industry – or company-specific updates – like the flavor of the day if you are the owner of an ice cream shop.
And lest we forget: regularly updated websites, blogs, and social media accounts perform better in search engine rankings, which usually translates to better leads and conversion rates.
5. Ask for reviews.
Strong reviews can generate more leads. Ask current or past customers if they’d be willing to write a testimonial or reviews of your company for your website or online directories. To encourage them, send out text message or email reminders after they use your services – whether they are in your brick-and-mortar store or office or made an online purchase.
Another way to get people to write reviews for you: offer discounts or incentives on your social media accounts for everyone that fills out a survey or review for you. As much as positive feedback is a good thing, you don’t want a ton of canned reviews – readers appreciate honest, authentic feedback.
6. Stay relevant.
Focus on keeping your brand consistent and unified. Be sure that your website links to each of your social media accounts, and vice versa. You don’t want to deter any potential visitors with inconsistencies. Your social media accounts can serve as a place for your business to be more personable and transparent with customers – and to reinforce your existing branding. Some potential customers might find you via social media instead of your site, so remember to feature information about your company and who to contact on your social media profiles.