By Kriya Gangiah, media personality and Senior Consultant at Deloitte
Due to the current economic situation, companies – especially small businesses – may not have large budgets to spend on marketing their products or services to their prospective customers.
However in order for customers to be aware of your particular product or service it is essential to reach out to them. A way that can be both effective and help you save on cost is to build a relationship between your brand and your target market through carefully utilising the many social media platforms available today.
Let’s takes a look at how to connect with your potential customers via Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and things to keep in mind when communicating with your followers, connections and friends.
When it comes to composing posts try and keep it short. Why say something in a roundabout or overly descriptive way if you can give your audience the most pertinent information in a short, easy-to-read post?
This point is particularly valid when it comes to Twitter where you are limited to 140 characters. In this case I recommend that you limit your posts to 120 characters as this will leave enough space for anyone that would like to retweet it with a comment, to do so. Long posts should be reserved for your blog and not your social media platforms.
Credit the creator
Posting others’ tweets or sharing their links is vital as it shows that you are engaging with your community of followers.
However it becomes a problem when brands “steal” posts. If you see a post you just have to share with your own followers make sure that you link it to the original source, thereby strengthening your connection with them and showing your integrity.
Be wise when it comes to hashtags
Using hashtags can be really helpful. They can create a conversation, collate posts or tweets and help you track your interactions. Some valuable advice I can share with you is to search a hashtag before you decide to use it.
This will ensure you don’t get sucked into a conversation that has no relevance to you and your brand.
Business vs. Personal Accounts
If you are managing both your personal and business accounts ensure that you are logged into the correct account. You can also separate your accounts by downloading handy apps like TweetDeck.
This way you can avoid posting any irrelevant information via your business account that you would not normally share with your professional connections if you were meeting up in person.
Proof your posts meticulously
Don’t just double-check, I recommend that you triple-check! The worst thing you could possibly do for your business is to share a post containing grammatical and spelling errors.
Make sure that you always carefully proofread each of your posts before you share it with the public.
Business professionals do not want to be spammed with a large amount of useless information that has absolutely nothing to do with them.
This will only cause irritation and you could potentially be de-friended, unfollowed or even blocked! Ensure that every post adds value to your prospective customer or business connection’s newsfeed.
Social media should be used to create a community not to generate a “hard sell”
Social media users see it as a place to interact, watch videos, look at photos and learn about new events, products or services. They don’t want to be bombarded with the traditional “hard sell” tactics.
I suggest that you point potential customers to your company website for the detailed service or product information once you have built up a community and gained their trust.
The easiest way to attract attention to a post is to attach an eye-catching graphic or possibly a video to it. However for this to be effective you need to ensure that the visual element you add is relevant to your text. You need to make it as easy as possible for the user to “consume” your content.
Always use a professional photo
I think this is the most important one on the list. You can only make one good first impression! Your profile picture needs to communicate a professional image to potential customers and business connections.
You can therefore either choose to use an image of the product or service your are promoting if you are the admin of a business page or if you are promoting yourself and the services you offer use a photo that communicates your more serious business side.
Understand the purpose
With every post you create you need to understand the purpose. Is the post going to be informative? Then I suggest that you get straight to the point and provide your community with information that could be potentially useful to them like a special you are running or a new addition to your range.
Or is it going to be entertaining?
Then I suggest you share something your intended target market would share amongst them. Understanding the reason behind a post will help you engage your audience more effectively.