Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses – Part 2

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How to do Social Media Marketing - Answering Service Answers

How to do Social Media Marketing

In Part 1, we discussed what social media marketing is and is not. We showed the different kinds of communities you can participate in, and the reasons for doing so.

Here we’d like to explore the mechanics behind “doing” social media marketing.

First, the trick to understanding social media marketing is that you are going to them. You are entering a level playing-field, and all outside authority has to start anew. It’s just like starting a new business – you offer value, you listen to feedback, and you respond courteously. On Facebook this happens when you share a link or write a post that may have tips, links, coupons, or seasonal advice that is valuable. On Twitter, this would be timely updates based on inventory changes, closures, or special offers (ex. “We just sold our last maple donuts down here at Dave’s Donuts. But we still have chocolate, fresh off the rack!”).

Of course, since you’re a small business, and not just an individual, you carry your brand with you. This means that whatever you’re posting as “Dave’s Donuts” is reflective of the business, and not just Dave the owner. So, getting in a playful argument with a friend may seem innocuous, but actually have adverse-effects on the way your store is viewed by the local family who just want the best donuts in town.

Staying with the example of a brick and mortar store, you can still provide value to your regional customer base by posting about the crazy weather, congratulating the local teams, or highlighting the holiday festivals. Contributing to the community doesn’t have to be business-only. In fact, we usually recommend a healthy 4-to-1 or 9-to-1 ratio of demographic-based engagement (tip posts, sharing links, congratulations comments) for every business directed post (sale today, “Click to Buy”, etc.).

If a customer vocalizes disappointment, or posts a complaint, you’re on stage (remember, the whole social network is watching). It’s a great test to pass! Here’s how you do it:

  • If it’s an individual, address the person by name. If it’s a business, address them as “Representatives of X Business”.
  • Immediately categorize it as either
    • A) representative of a population that legitimately has issues with the product or service (ex. “Hi Sally. Sometimes we overcook the last few apple fritters coming off the rack for the day. We’re getting new ovens, and this shouldn’t be an issue next week. Anyone’s welcome to come next Tuesday, to test our new ovens, and get a free fresh fritter on the house. Tell your friends!”)
    • Or B) an individualized case, which needs to be addressed as individual and not representative, but still a negative experience (ex. “Hi Darlene. We’re sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Please come in and mention this to Dave for a refund or free dozen on us.”)
  • Don’t engage in heavy discourse on social media networks, as this is a public stage, and no one wants to see back-and-forth banter in public. Recognize whether it’s population-representative (A), or individual (B), and then determine if you need to take it to a separate channel for further resolution (phone, in-person, email, etc.).
  • Also, it’s a big bonus to post your support email or phone numbers, if you don’t know how to resolve it in a short comment space. This is super helpful for future customers who just read the comments and are too afraid to speak up in public.

In-summation, start small. Treat every back-and-forth as a unique and respectful conversation – just like your first 100 customers. Measure the “small wins” as you get started – number of likes, follows, shares, comments, or votes. Then, as you get a knack for your customer-base, build procedures for frequency of posting, commenting, sharing, or responding. Before you know it, you will be reinforcing a super strong brand and building loyal fans (not just customers), through your marketing efforts.

Need help creating a social media marketing strategy? Pathway One can help you tailor a plan specific to your small business needs.

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