One of the best dirty little secrets about social media for businesses is that you don’t need enormous resources or a large, established audience for your efforts to pay dividends. In fact, small businesses can adapt to constantly changing trends much faster than their larger counterparts simply because of their lack of size and available manpower.
To get the most of your social media endeavors, you simply need to ask, “why?” As in, “why would our customers connect with us on social media and why would my business want customers to connect through this format?”
Asking these questions before starting a social media campaign and using this five-step approach, allows you to capture customers’ attention and build relationships and loyalty.
1. Know the Trends
Familiarize yourself with the social medium you plan to use for your business. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or any other option on the Web, you need to know why your customer’s are there and what they are saying.
Once you understand your desired customers’ experience, you can reach them more effectively.
2. Define Your Online Brand
Before making an online profile, think about why your business is unique. Then, develop your profile based on the desired experience of your customers when they connect with you.
Be sure not to to sell too hard, however. Users are especially wary of sales pitches on social media.
3. Develop a Strategy
How will you know success unless you’ve first defined it? Decide how social media will enable you to meet your goals. Discover which format your customers’ perfer and which is the best for you. Keep it light and fill your profile with a mix of entertaining and relevant content.
4. Build Your Community
Be an active member of your online community. Share insights, talk with influential online users and link with others in order to interact and help existing customers and add to your audience.
5. Learn and Repeat
Over time, when you have learned more about your community’s wants and needs and monitored changing social media trends, repeat this process to stay relevant. Be sure that your online profile is on target with your customers.
Brian Solis writes more on this topic at his blog. You can also follow him on Twitter @briansolis.