Wednesday 8 August 2012

Engaging Consumers Through Social Media

Social Media
Traditional marketing methods, such as television commercials, direct mail advertisements and print ads are effective for drawing consumers to a business, but some businesses are looking for ways to increase interaction with customers. As social media marketing becomes increasingly popular for small businesses, those using it are becoming more aware of the importance and value of engaging consumers.

Most any business will benefit from incorporating social media into its marketing plan. The process of doing so doesn't have to be time-consuming or stressful. By starting slowly and building a solid plan, a small business can create a social media marketing plan that engages consumers and increases profit.

Simple Tips To Engage Consumers

  • Encourage Response. Text marketing, Facebook status posts and blog posts encourage consumers to respond. Take it a step further by including an open-ended question that elicits answers other than "yes" and "no." Customers are often surprised to discover the comment they left on a Facebook business page has received a response from the business. These communication efforts attract consumers who want something more than just an attractive website.

  • Initiate Communication. The small business that waits for consumers to initiate conversation may end up only hearing from its customers when they have a complaint. Although it's important to know when something is wrong so there's an opportunity to correct it, it's better for businesses in the long-run to foster positive communication by reaching out to customers. Provide consumers with the opportunity to become engaged in communication by using social media venues that encourage interaction. Facebook is an excellent place for that, but it's not the only place. Set up a business profile on LinkedIn and engage consumers there, too.

  • Create a Ripple Effect. Word-of-mouth is still an effective way to spread news and information about a business. Those who are tech-savvy provide value to the consumer, and knowing how to draw them in can help spread word of their business around the world. Tweet promo codes to consumers who have signed up to receive them and encourage those consumers to share the codes with family and friends.

  • Add Value to the Consumer's Experience. To create value, a business has to get to know its customer base. Understanding demographics can help with this, and so can a good customer database. Businesses can also survey customers on their social media uses to determine what platforms are used most predominantly and what type of information consumers want to receive. By doing so, a company can tailor the information they provide to the specific needs and interests of its customer base.

  • Reach Out with Customer Service. It's smart business to follow up with customers to ensure a satisfactory experience. Technological advances have made it easier for businesses to hide behind their computers and lose the personal touch that many customers still value. Use email follow-ups or a traditional method such as a phone call to ensure customer satisfaction and express gratitude for the customer's patronage.

Putting It All Together

An effective social media marketing plan must be consistent and valuable to hold the interest of the consumers. An occasional blog post or random Tweet won't keep the attention of consumers the way regular posts will. Likewise, excessive emails, posts or Tweets that border on spam will drive potential customers away. A well-balanced approach that provides value helps businesses engage consumers.

About The Author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts covering social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master's degree.

Did you find this article helpful? Please let Lindsey and myself know by leaving us your valued comments below.

Related articles:
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5 Do's And 5 Don'ts In Social Media
Building Your Business With Social Media
The 10 Basic Rules Of Social Media Marketing
Top 14 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing
How To Use Facebook For Your Small Business
9 Tips For More Effective Facebook Marketing

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