You’ve decided you’re going to be a company your customers love. To do it, you’ve dedicated real resources to social media, you’re listening before you speak, and you’re creating systems to help you manage what’s being said about you. Now you just have to stop hiding from customers.
One of the most common mistakes small business owners make in social media is that they set up shop and then forget to tell anyone about it. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes they expect their customers will find them, and other times it just slips through the cracks. The brands that do well on social media are the ones that actively promote their accounts. After all, a customer can’t “like” a page they don’t know about, just like they can’t do business with a brand they’ve never met. If you don’t have a plan for how to introduce your social media presence to customers, you’re essentially hiding from them. And you need to stop it.
Where are some easy places to start and show off your social media presence?
The first place you should be highlighting your social media presence is on your own website. Your company’s site is where many of your customers will go first to get information about your brand. It’s your job to not only give them trusted information, but also point them to other sources where they can learn more about you. That includes displaying links to your social profiles. Whether you highlight your Facebook page directly from your home page like Petco does, or create a page completely dedicated to all your social media accounts like the American Red Cross, is up to you. What’s important is that you let people know how you want them to connect with you. The customers who visit your website are already familiar with your brand and probably want to support you. Give them an easy way to do that.
Include Social Links in E-Mail Newsletters
Another place to show off your social media presence is in the e-mail newsletters that you routinely send to your customers. Including a simple call -out box where you mention your company’s LinkedIn group, your Facebook profile or your YouTube account is a great way to encourage users to follow and engage with these accounts. Why wouldn’t a customer want to subscribe to your YouTube account to get product How Tos? Social media and e-mail marketing work really well when combined because they both allow customers to develop a more personal relationship with the brands they love. You’re able to target the customers who have done business with your company (and are familiar with it), but who may not check your site every day. Research also shows that e-mails with social calls to action have a 30 percent higher click-through rate than e-mails without them. So make sure you’re asking them not only to follow you, but to share your content, as well.
Put It on Your Business Cards
You’re never without a pile of business cards. You bring them to local networking events, to mixers, and even when you go to the grocery store. But what does that card look like? Have you upgraded it to encourage people to not only call you, but also connect with you on Twitter? Does the card have the URL for your Facebook page or a QR code they can scan into their phone? If it doesn’t, it may be time to give your business card an upgrade. For example, my business card for my SEO consulting company Outspoken Media invites contacts to connect with me both on my personal Twitter account and on the company account. And it works. I often return home from events and recognize many of my new followers as folks I shared a drink or conversation with when I was out and about. Don’t just stop with your business cards, of course. Include your social media profiles on all offline advertising and promotional efforts. You want to integrate social media into all other marketing efforts your company is doing.
Put It on a Shirt
The T-shirt above belongs to my Los Angeles chiropractor friend Michael Dorausch. He’s @chiropractic on Twitter and he’s often seen wearing this shirt at conferences, in his office and or just around town. Not only is it a good conversation starter, but it also piques interest in who he is and what he does. After all, if you’re brazen enough to wear your Twitter handle on your chest, you’re probably someone I want to check out when I get home. A stunt like this also makes your brand more memorable in the eyes of customers.
Those are some easy ways to stop hiding from your customers on social media and to let them know you’re out there. What methods are you using to promote your social media accounts and invite customers to connect with you?
very good article. You are exactly right. We work with small businesses everyday. I continually preach “exactly” what your saying. Tell the world! What is the point of having social media if it is not on your signature, your mailers, your letterhead, your hats, your shirts, etc.
Thanks for keeping us informed.
Great stuff, Lisa. A ‘hidden’ social media presence is something I’ve seen at many small businesses. Why they don’t make it easy to engage is beyond me.
Great shout-out for Michael Dorausch. He’s really a great example of doing it right.
I also really like when companies put social media links in emails. That way if I have a question I can reach out immediately, whereas I know that a reply to the newsletter often goes into an email black hole.
Lastly, once you’ve set up your social media presence don’t sit back, cross your fingers and hope that people don’t talk to you. Start the conversation yourself. It will pay off.
Nice post Lisa. And cool example of Twitter’s SEO power? When I google the word chiropractic, your man Mike’s Twitter account shows up on the first SERP page, which is pretty enviable organic search real estate!!!
Would love to see you repurpose parts of this guide into a toolkit on oneforty – http://oneforty.com/pages/create-a-toolkit. It’s exactly the kind of tips & content our business audience is looking for & you can link right back to the post in your description…
Excellent article. This really puts online efforts into perspective. If you don’t think and work strategically in all marketing, your efforts lose value! I will be reposting and retweeting.
O. Ross Business Consulting
Great idea about the t-shirts. Almost nobody has their Twitter handle on a t-shirt, and I’m sure that would make you unique. Next thing you know, you’ll be tattooing your Twitter handle and your Blog on your back. Women can get rid of their “Tramp Stamps” and put their facebook page address there instead.
Yes, you’ve got to get into it a bit and keep at it to see the benefits. I’m not much into Facebook but I’m certainly using Twitter quite a bit.
One thing I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of tweets that are about local news, events and businesses. So if you’re a bricks and mortar business that needs local customers, then keep searching for your location on Twitter. You’ll find heaps of other tweeps in your area, and this can help a lot with local marketing.
I can attest to including social links within standard customer email communications- This was one of the tactics I deployed with my blog, http://www.wrightexpress.com/roadster, and I saw about a 300% lift in unique visitors to the site when I looked at the Google Analytics data from the day prior, to when we deployed the email communication.