Running a profitable operation presents its own set of challenges for small business owners. And if they’re not in an industry that’s appealing to the masses, chances are they’ve struggled at some point or another to successfully market their unique products or services. Fortunately, social media presents the opportunity to increase brand awareness in a fun and engaging manner.
Here are some ideas to consider along with ways in which certain companies have used social media to expand their reach.
1. Post Useful Content
Your followers are crunched for time, so you must post content that captivates their attention and adds value to their lives. Otherwise, they will simply overlook future posts or unfollow your company page. Identity theft protection, for example, isn’t necessarily a sexy industry, but LifeLock has a sizeable social media following because their posts provide useful tidbits of wisdom regarding identity theft and ways to protect yourself. And with identity theft rates on the rise, who wouldn’t want to have access to this pertinent information?
2. Skip the Sales Pitch
Consumers dislike the idea of being sold. Instead, they prefer to be in charge of the purchasing decision and move at their own pace. But if you’re constantly shoving sales pitches down their throats via social media, they may become irritated and take their business elsewhere.
3. Encourage Feedback
Even if you’re in an industry that may not be exciting to the average consumer, loyal supporters take pride in knowing you value their opinion and want them to be a part of the conversation. In fact, Starbucks has taken the solicitation of customer feedback to another level by creating @MyStarbucksIdea, a Twitter page solely dedicated to customer experience.
4. Switch It Up
Not only should you avoid posting identical content across platforms, but what you post should also be diverse. Some followers prefer videos while others take a liking to infographics. The idea is to provide a little something for everyone. And don’t forget to share useful content from other pages.
5. Mascot or Spokesperson
It doesn’t take a massive marketing budget to implement a mascot or spokesperson into your branding strategy. To effectively do so, consider creating a Twitter and Facebook profile for your new symbol and infusing it with a dose of humor so your followers can connect with it. Just think of Mayhem from AllState, who not only serves up a good dose of amusement via television but has his own Twitter and Facebook pages where he keeps the laughs going.
6. Infuse a Little Humor
There’s not much one can say about toilet paper beyond its texture, but that didn’t prevent Charmin from creating a strong social media presence. The clever Twitter hashtag, “tweetfromtheseat,” has soared Charmin’s following to new heights and changed the way consumers nationwide view toilet paper.
7. Product Giveaways
Host a contest or giveaway to attract new customers. But remember, the key is to get participants to spread the word about your brand as a condition of entering to win. Encourage customers to do so through a testimonial, product review, or simply by sharing the company page with friends.
8. Consistency is the Key
If you’re crunched for time or considering ditching your social media efforts altogether, take a step back and develop a posting strategy. Once you’ve done so, use a social media management platform like HootSuite to Tweetdeck to schedule your posts in advance to ensure you remain on schedule. It may take several months to see results, but the effort and hard work won’t be in vain.
What are your ideas for sprucing up your brand? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me @suereynolds. I’d love to hear from you.