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By now you’ve heard about how social media is helping thousands of small businesses connect with their customers. However, attracting new clients requires more than simply creating a Twitter account or Facebook page.
Marketing through social media demands just as much creativity and effort as other mediums. The advantage is that with social media, your advertising efforts will provide more immediate and far reaching dividends. The following is a list of 5 ways to engage with your customers using social media:
1. Incentivize Promotion
Rather than limit yourself to a normal growth pattern, trying flexing a bit of creative muscle to promote new followers.
Companies often offer discounts that increase in value the more people tweet or like their company Facebook page.
Video games and movies offer teaser trailers or extra content as a reward for the same grass roots marketing.
An artist with 70 followers recently vowed to sketch the first 3,000 new followers he gained, and met his goal in a couple of days.
A British company gave new followers the chance to have their tweets voiced by a movie promoter.
The trick is to create an incentive for people to follow, like, and promote your business.
2. Respond to Customer Queries
The best way to create a more personal relationship with your customers is to respond to their questions regardless of how bad or inane. Even clever responses to internet trolls can be used as a way to show humor and self-deprecation, which will further present your business in a favorable light.
Most of the time, however, it’s best to use social media as a forum for receiving positive and negative feedback from customers. Showing your customers that their opinions matter will ensure they stay loyal to your brand.
3. Start Conversations
Instead of just responding to queries, make sure to promote new conversations and bounce around ideas pertaining to your business. Ask for their opinion on various topics, including other attempts to market your company.
For instance, some companies will use a YouTube page to not only display an TV advertisement, but answer questions regarding the actors, music, or promotional details within.
4. Audience Participation
Another way to engage your audience is to encourage interaction and participation.
For example, if the company has a mascot, have people submit photos of them with the mascot or dressed as it. If you don’t have a mascot, ask your followers to design a hypothetical one.
If you want to release a commercial, have your followers submit ideas and give a prize to the winner. Audience participation includes your followers in the creative process and keeps them more engaged.
5. Stay in the Game
Social media is a fickle business. Before there was Facebook there was MySpace and Friendster, and before Twitter blogging was all the rage. While there is unlikely to be such a large diaspora in the next few years, there is nothing to preclude your customers from leaving your particular Facebook page or Twitter.
There is no binding contract that prevents someone from following a competitor instead. As a result, it’s important for your business to not only gain new followers, but consistently keep them engaged through new coupons and conversations. Make sure your ties to influential members of the community are strong, and be sure to send any new products to critics and bloggers for reviews and feedback.