After 8 years in the world of social media, I have worked with hundreds of businesses, including independent retailers, just like YOU.
As someone who is completely responsible for their own business, you need to take a long, hard look at your marketing strategy and more importantly; your social media. The way you market your business to your target customer has developed and I’m here to give you an update on how to generate leads, and sales using social media.
First thing first; social media does NOT fix a broken business. I have had so many retail business owners approach me at various trade shows and events and say “I want more sales with social media NOW”. Unless your business has incorporated social media with your marketing strategy, and sales funnel you won’t be able to fully reap the benefits. Social media is not an instant fix, and success does not happen overnight.
Social media is more than just posting an update on Facebook or sending a Tweet. As a business, you need to find a way to connect with your target market in an engaging way whilst also making sure they included in every stage of your sales funnel.
As an SME, you need to understand the three R’s; Recommendations, Reputation and Relationships.
Did you know that only 37% of customers trust search engine advertisements and only 24% trust online banners ads? Compare this to a massive 92% of customers who trust word of mouth recommendations when it comes to making a purchase and you will understand the power of a recommendation.
As an SME, you have the power to tap into your audience, and build your authority through recommendations. With 74% of people identifying that a recommendation is a key influencer in a purchasing decision, you need to be collecting feedback on the products you are selling.
Recommendations should be an important feature on your website as it helps give potential customers a better understanding around your products, why they are successful and most importantly, why your customers love them.
Social media will also play a huge part in acquiring recommendations for your business. Having social media users share their experiences with your community will not only give you the recommendations you need, but it will also build your reputation online.
Being online does win you more business but this doesn’t happen overnight, and will only work if you have a good reputation. So, how can you build your reputation?
To build your reputation online you need to understand your business, your target customers and more importantly, how you are already being perceived. You need to be fully aware of how your business is being perceived and make sure you do your due diligence around what your community is already saying about your business.
If like me, YOU are your business, take a closer look at your personal reputation. This will impact how your business is perceived. You need to know what is being said about you and your business online.
Taking a closer look at your competition, you might see from their activity online that they are engaging with their followers and have a great reputation online.
Part of having a good reputation on social media means being consistent with the message you are sharing. You need to make sure all of your social media accounts are consistent with your brand, and how you describe your business.
Using social media as a customer service outlet will also impact how you are perceived online. Don’t hide from the negative feedback – approach it, offer a solution and turn your negative feedback into positive to make sure your reputation stays in tact.
Do note that although social media is a way to build brand awareness and relationships, if not executed properly you can ruin your reputation in just one tweet.
Social media is all about relationships. I make it an important part of my marketing to have two-way conversations with as many of my followers that reach out to me as possible. The three R’s create a circle.
You build your reputation online through creating relationships with your audience, and these relationships turn into recommendations which ultimately, give you your reputation.
So, how do you build relationships on social media?
- Be Real
Use your social media to share ideas, participate in conversations and be as real as possible. Authenticity is key on social media because your customers will be able to see straight through anything less than 100% honesty.
- Find Your Niche
I have always said that having 1 million random followers does not compare to 1,000 followers who are your niche target market. Your target audience are those that are going to engage with you the most, so make sure you are spending the time to connect with them online.
- Turn Your Followers Into Ambassadors
Hone in on your target audience and develop your relationships so that your target audience become your brand ambassadors. Make sure that you are over delivering on your products and going out of your way to make sure all of your customers are happy. Word of mouth is a powerful tool online and as an independent retailer, word of mouth is your best friend.
Apply these 3 simple but effective steps to help grow your audience and build trust online.
Warren Knight is a Social Media Strategist, author of Think #Digital First and one of the UK’s leading professional speakers in Technology, Sales and Marketing.
As an award-winning coach and entrepreneur, Warren has helped thousands of companies grow their business through the strategic use of socially selling to their target audience. By nurturing leads, generating leads and increasing sales using simple and easy to follow strategies.
Read more about Warren: http://www.warrenknight.co.uk/about/
More great advice from Warren: http://www.warrenknight.co.uk/blog/
Follow Warren on Twitter: @
We also highly recommend Warren’s best selling books:
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