How do you ensure that your social media activities benefit your business, that they are meaningful for business? What guidelines do you follow?
This recent comment from my blog article titled Making Social Meaningful in Flooring had me thinking about how to do so.
"I completely agree with you about being "social" online. However, it is very hard with something like "flooring" to engage your followers, let alone GET those followers. I am a flooring store owner and have a website, facebook, twitter and linkedIn profile...but I can honestly say that it does nothing besides branding. I haven't gotten a single sales lead from social media. Any suggestions?"
Yes, I have suggestions - and I bet readers of this blog do, too!
If you remember from 10 Examples of How to do Bad Social Media, I've been reviewing a multitude of websites and social profiles - primarily in flooring - and noticed patterns that do little to make social media meaningful for businesses, let alone for potential customers.
As a business, your social media profiles and presence are an extension of you and your website. Regardless of where customers come across you online, they expect consistency, and they're looking for signs of trustworthiness.
- If they find you on Twitter and all of your Twitter updates are auto-posted from Facebook, what does that say to your customers?
- If they come across you on Facebook and all of your messages are about you and your sales events, what does that communicate to customers?
- If they come across your website during a search - or come from a Twitter or Facebook update - and encounter no human signs such as pictures and information about the people in your organization, or find little content that explains how your expertise helps customers, what impression will they have about you? You may be wonderful and have 500 years of expertise under your belt, but what does that mean for customers? Will they trust you enough to do business with you?
To make social media meaningful for business, what you communicate on one online platform needs to be integrated into your overall business objectives. The content you share should be meaningful to customers and it should be customized for each digital and social location. Although each social platform has its own quirks and algorithms, each rewards interaction and engagement. One size rarely fits all. [See Facebook Marketing Tips for Businesses.]
If you want to generate leads for your business, ensure that your website is as customer focused, findable and welcoming as your brick-and-mortar store or showroom should be. Listen intensely to customers so you understand the world they live in, the concerns they have and how your product fits into their lives. From what you hear, develop content that informs, educates, advises and engages and which you can then share via social media hand-in-hand with a willingness to listen and engage there, too. [See Generating Leads With Social Media.]
Finally, don't underestimate the power of being human online. To make social media meaningful for business, be willing to show yourself, be yourself and engage as yourself with others. This goes for flooring and every other category I've come across.
Your turn. What suggestions do you have for making social media meaningful for business? What have you tried and been successful with?
Thanks for reading.