Social media can be a great way for a business to increase its presence in the digital space. Companies can use various networks to connect with consumers and start ongoing dialogs with them. Many social networks offer tools to help organizations generate buzz and direct followers to e-commerce sites.
While that can be beneficial, there's no guarantee that social media marketing campaigns will lead to increased sales. Small business owners have to find ways to capitalize on their advertising initiatives and use them to generate revenue.
Here are a couple strategies to achieve that objective.
Provide motivation for patronage
Everything a company posts online should motivate followers to take some type of action, either on social media or in real life. For the former, something as simple as asking fans to share a post with their friends is sufficient.
For the latter, however, entrepreneurs have to be a bit more creative. Consumers want incentives for following through on directions from social media. The simplest strategy is to use promotional marketing products as rewards for taking certain steps.
For instance, a restaurant can give promotional magnets and a small discount to every customer who mentions a social media update while they're in the establishment. Many patrons will enjoy this because they'll feel like they're getting a great deal for little effort. This strategy is also beneficial for the business as sales will increase thanks to the promotion.
Know how to treat customers
A company's social media presence serves as a primary communications platform. Many followers post complaints, comments and feedback on pages, and that can be a great opportunity for a business to show how dedicated it is to its clientele.
When an enterprise replies to criticism and demonstrates that it wants everyone to have a satisfactory experience. As a result, consumers will think positively of the company and may increase their patronage.
Of course, there will always be some followers who are overly negative in their posts. Tony Lee, vice president of marketing at TiVo, explained to Social Media Today that it isn't necessary to respond to these people.
"Your customers aren't stupid. There are times when you need to listen. If a customer is screaming and rude, others will understand. It's OK to ignore people who are rude," Lee said.
Company leaders shouldn't answer followers who seem intent on blaming everything on the enterprise and don't want to work toward a resolution.
Fans and loyal customers should receive immediate responses. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Danny Maloney, co-founder and chief executive of Tailwind, believes that entrepreneurs should show appreciation for certain actions.
"Brand advocates want to know that you're there and that they're heard. If they took the time to share a blog post you wrote or to give you a positive review, be listening for it and thank them. [Customers think] 'this company actually cares, they're listening, I'm going to go tell more people about them," Mahoney said.
Be willing to take the time
Social media might not have an impact on sales as soon as a campaign starts. It might take weeks or months before businesses earn any type of measurable return, but what's important is that they stick with the strategy for an extended period of time.
Marketing is a time consuming process and rewards companies that stay the course. Business owners should post information and calls to action that motivate consumers to respond by buying products or subscribing to services.
Continuity is important for social media, meaning companies shouldn't frequently change their strategies. Maintaining a consistent approach is the way to increase brand recognition and increase sales in the long run.