Q : I know some shop owners who are using social media to create buzz about their businesses and, in turn, getting some new clients this way. Can you share some easy-to-implement ways to connect with clients on social media?
“Getting people to follow your social media account is half the battle.”
A : If you haven’t made a social media plan yet, or if you’re not seeing the results you’d like to see, the good news is that we’re still in the first quarter of the year. There’s still time to get your plan on course and to achieve the results you want and need for your business. If you’re looking to kick your social media efforts into high gear, here are some things you must do in 2015.
Start being more social. A mistake that many companies make about social media is thinking that it’s all about selling when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Social media is about making connections and being social. Approach social media the same way you would approach a big party: look for people with whom you can connect, and focus on being interesting and approachable, not on selling. If you create the connections and provide content that interests your audience, the selling will take care of itself.
Weed out accounts not worth following. When starting out on social media, often people’s first instinct is to follow everyone in hopes that everyone will follow them back. While this is understandable, it’s not a great strategy for a couple of reasons. One reason is that not every account you’re inclined to follow will be a good fit for your message or your company. Another is the fact that many accounts may be abandoned or post so rarely they’re quickly falling into condemned status.
The beginning of the year is a good time to downsize the list of the accounts you’re following and make sure you’re focusing on quality people who create good content, are interested in what you have to say and with whom you can make connections – not on quantity. Following people who aren’t saying anything interesting or who aren’t interested in you isn’t going to help your social media accounts be successful.
Focus on the accounts that get results. Being a first adopter is not a bad thing. Trying out a new social media site is not a bad thing. Sticking with something that isn’t working long after that’s become evident is not only bad, it’s a waste of time and resources that many companies don’t have. There will always be an expert to tell you that social media site “Y” is the next big thing, and it may be just that, but the only way you’ll know if it’s the next big thing for you is to do your research and test the site yourself. Give new accounts and sites a sustained trial, about a month or so of your best social media content and effort and see what happens. If, after a month of sustained effort, you’re not getting results, it may be time to move on. Your focus should always be on the accounts that are producing results – not on the ones that are getting you nowhere fast.
Focus on content. I’m not a fan of the phrase “content is king or queen” mostly because I think it’s overused, but I also can’t get away from that fact that it’s the truth. Getting people to follow your social media account is half the battle. Keeping them on follow mode and keeping them interested is what will win the war. Make sure the focus of your efforts is on offering interesting and informative content, and that you communicate with those you follow and who follow you. Remember that there are millions of places your customers’ eyeballs can go. If they’ve chosen to spend some of their time with you, make it worth their while.
The biggest thing to remember about social media is this: doing something is generally better than doing nothing. If you’re already working with social media, it’s time to take your game to the next level. If you haven’t started working with social media, but you know that your competitors use it and your customers are there, what’s holding you back? Even if you start with one account on one platform, you’ll still be miles ahead of those who are doing nothing at all.
KRISTINE SHREVE is director of marketing for EnMart and Ensign Emblem, and regularly writes about embroidery, sublimation, decoration, social media and business. Besides her “DecQuorum” blog on Stitches.com, she also writes for the “EmbroideryTalk Blog” at http://blog.myenmart.com and the “SubliStuff” blog at www.sublistuff.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.