When you're buried in all the paperwork and real-world logistics of running your small business, you might question the value of messing around on your company's Facebook or Twitter profile. After all, making sure you have enough product on the shelves or that your clients are all happy with their service is the first step on the long road to entrepreneurial success.
However, neglecting social media can rob your small business of a crucial and potentially torrential lead generation stream. Converting people who only look at your online branding into customers who are willing to spend money on your products or services is the business-minded ideal of social media, but your company will never achieve it if you don't take some steps to polish your social media strategy. Check out these three ways you can boost lead generation through your online platforms.
1. Consistency is king
Whether you're posting a long-form thought leadership piece to your blog or a hashtag-laden tweet to all your followers, the look and feel of your online branding has a tremendous impact on the hearts and minds of consumers. While the logical small-business owner might want to focus on improving the quality of his or her content on social media, the critical thinking entrepreneur understands that consistency might be more important.
Your customers can access your social media sites through their computers, tablets, smartphones, Internet-ready TVs and countless other emerging devices. If your branding doesn't appear consistent over all of these platforms, you risk losing the confidence of your consumers. Also, consistent imaging, site layout and navigation allows you to more easily funnel customers toward sell points for lead generation. If your customers are familiar with the way images and information flow, you can intuitively guide their eyes toward conversion buttons, download links and information forms.
2. Sharing is caring
Before the concept of viral videos and social media phenomena, it made marketing sense for a company to want to be the single source of information in their industry. However, monopolizing consumers' attention like that just isn't feasible with a fragmented social media sphere. Instead of creating content everyone has to come to you for, it might make sense to focus instead on generating blogs, videos and other promotional materials that businesses and consumers can't help but share.
"Creating shareable content exponentially increases your marketing network."
Creating content that your customers and even your competitors share with each other not only promotes your brand, but it also exponentially increases your marketing network. While customers would have had to come to your site to view the content, it's making its way to them through their web of social media connections.
3. Sales and marketing must marry
Maybe shows like "Mad Men" can pull off the image of the all-powerful marketing executive, but in the modern world of small businesses, sales and advertising tactics needs to merge together. Consumers are more savvy today than ever, and the constant flow of information at their fingertips keeps them informed of your brand almost around the clock.
That's why you can't miss an opportunity to convert a marketing opportunity into a sales one. In the past, it was fine if a print or TV ad merely raised awareness of your brand, but consumers have access to so many other options that small businesses must turn any and all interactions into potential sales. Whether the call to action at the bottom of a blog post prompts customers to purchase more promotional products or just input their email for access to a whitepaper or newsletter updates, these are all convertible moments that small businesses can't afford to squander.