When you use the correct social media tools to benefit your small business, the results will be surprisingly successful. You have to have the proper mindset and a willingness to work very hard and to establish an unrelenting consistency.
With that in mind, it is very important that you understand clearly what return on investment (ROI) you are hoping for. Undoubtedly, considering that, your (and all other business owners) ultimate goal is to sell your offerings. Of course, there are several things that have to happen along the way before you get to that point. However, at some point, you will need to convert your prospective customers into paying clients.
Hit the ground running
You should get involved and start engaging with social media right away. Waiting is not a good idea. The sooner you get involved, the sooner your online connections will notice you and will start to engage with you. As your business grows, you social media activities will grow as well.
Keep your eye on the communications
It is critical that you monitor the communication that comes in and goes out. If your volume of communications starts to diminish rapidly, you may have to adjust exactly how you are communicating.
Play around with various social media channels
Some of the more popular social media channels (such as Twitter and Facebook) are incredible communication tools. As such, it is important to use them in a way that highlights their strength as tools. You should use them to communicate one on one with clients, prospective clients, other writers, etc. The more popular those social media channels become, the more diluted your communications may become (because the number of people who are reading your content will be much greater).
Encourage your online connections to eventually buy
It is widely understood that the heart of successful social media interactions is the relationship itself. Once you have established a solid relationship with someone, a relationship that you feel you can trust to endure over time, there is nothing wrong with broaching the subject of selling. It is acceptable at this point to communicate about what you want through Twitter and Facebook. At that point in time, you may want to ask them to download an Ebook that you have offered, sign up for a free trial of your services, or ask you for a proposal. Make sure to include your call-to-action as often as possible and most importantly, remember to constantly provide other people with valuable, educational, and informative content.
Quality over quantity
In order to use social media effectively, you need to be consistent and regular in your efforts with other people. Once you have established a solid relationship with others, you need to work on maintaining those relationships. If you have thousands of online connections and you don’t really know anything about the majority of them besides their names, what value do they actually hold for you? If you want to successfully convert your prospective customers into actual customers, you have to put their needs and wants above your own. The concept of WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) must always be at the forefront of your mind. If you don’t use that approach, your prospects will not have a true motivation for engaging with you.
The engagement with your online connections is critical to the success of your business. The more you interact with people, the more you will get to know them and the more they will get to know you. The stronger that bond becomes, the more they will trust you, find you credible, and want to do business with you. Social media interactions don’t lead directly to sales; however, if you follow the logical steps of engagement, eventually, you will be successful at selling your products and/or services. You get noticed and eventually, you convert them. The more valuable content you are able to share with them, the more they will want to engage with you. After all, your content is offering them a solution to their problems.
Your immediate reason for being involved with social media
When you first start to become active with social media channels, you should not get involved thinking that you are there to acquire customers. You are there merely to establish new relationships. The person on the other end of the computer is just that. He or she is a real, living, breathing person. Your number one concern in that relationship is to figure out how you can help the other person (in a sincere and genuine way). Once you have established a real relationship, the rest will follow.
Give them what they need
You must always think in terms of giving the other person what he or she needs. One of the biggest challenges is establishing the relationships in the first place. Once you have accomplished that, the hard work is over. Once you have loyal online connections who want to continue to interact with you, you merely need to figure out exactly what you can do for them. If, after all is said and done, your connections don’t buy anything from you, the relationship is not what you thought it was.
Make them aware of what they are missing
If you are able to show your connections what they are missing by not engaging with you, they won’t want to miss out on it. You need to get to know them as deeply as possible and you need to allow them to really get to know you. Before you know it, they will be anxious to engage with you as much as possible. Make them understand why they can’t live without what you are sharing with them.
Establish yourself at the forefront of their minds
The more focused your messages to your online connections, the more they will think about you. If you share all sorts of valuable content with them in several different forms, they will think about you and your business very often. Your goal is to get them to come across something that you are not offering them and have it remind them of you and what you are sharing. It is almost subliminal.
All businesses should be involved with social media; however, the engagement that small businesses have with social media is different than other businesses. Small businesses tend to do engage with their clients on a more personal level. If you follow the advice that was given here, you will enjoy a great deal of success with your prospective and current clients and everyone will be happy.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).