For small businesses, which have yet to take a leap into the global phenomenon of social media, there’s probably a reason for that. The most common being time management. Not having enough time to devote to the major channels, and respond to customer queries.
The truth is that social media is not what most people in the public domain think it is; a bunch of people with too much time on their hands.
What should I make for dinner? Let’s see what Joe’s making, Sylvia maybe. Get some ideas on what to stick in the cooker.
OMG, I want to make that tantalising chilli con carne, spruce it with garlic, herbs, and drop a bit of Reggae Reggae sauce into it to give a kick!
There’s so much more to social media channels for SMB owners.
Here are some “extensions” social media offers to businesses:
1) An extension to your customer services
That’s right. You can and should be using social media as an extension to your customer relations.
Customers turn to places online to find out about products and services they’re interested in. Mostly to find out what other people they know think of so and so. It is part of the consumer research stage that goes into nearly every purchase taking place online.
The better the relationship you have with existing customers, the more likely they are to recommend you to others. And customers do not want to dial 0871 to access customer services. Free is great and that’s what social channels are; a free way to engage with people who can help them solve a problem.
Take a plumber for example. There’s a real embarrassment sometimes and it’s not something I’ll ramble on about. But if someone used the toilet and it got blocked, it’s pretty embarrassing to explain to a stranger – right? Nor is it something that you want to go public on a Facebook post.
What is more likely to happen is that a local plumber engaged with the local community could get the inquiry in a direct message.
Direct message on Twitter. It’s got more of an anonymous feel to it as the nervousness isn’t there most of the time.
That is an example of an embarrassing scenario social media could be used for, but the same could apply to finance.
If a financial adviser is peaking around social media providing advice for free, it’s highly more likely they’ll be paid for the personalised service; which brings us to point two:
2) An extension of expertise
Just because a business has the time to devote to social media, does not mean they don’t have enough work to be getting on with, and instead are engaging for new clientele. It shows that the local business is engaged professionally with the people who really mean something to their business.
Without a customer there is no business and customers give preference to the people they’re engaged with. It creates loyalty.
Let me ask you a question. How many trade people do you know? Say joiners, plumbers, roofers, window cleaners, or any other service every household is likely to need the services of.
Most people know more than one, so how do they decide which one to offer a contract to first?
• The person who did a great job on a similar project for someone else?
• The first person to show up on a Google search?
Social media can place you at the forefront of peoples mind as a subject matter expertise, and as a professional with an outstanding reputation for customer care.
That’s what leads to business growth and it only happens when people know about you and your service
3) An extension of industry expertise
The most successful brands have one thing in common, and for this example, I’ll use Colgate. They have a website that’s more or less a consumer library on oral care. Right on the home page – front and centre, there’s a resource section.
On there is not your typical FAQ page. The questions are topics in themselves such as bad breath. What – It’s actually called Halitosis? Sounds better but should I be worried?
Questions often lead into more in-depth questions, and that’s exactly what business owners should be capitalising on to raise their profile in the public eye.
Providing a resource for consumers to absorb the information, and know what course of action to take. That’s where a company blog comes in to your media tool kit. Chimney damaged – What do I do? Storm repair service, chimney repair service, or re-roof the whole darn thing?
People are often wary about contacting trade services, as there tends to be an oversell reputation involved. Buying a service that costs more than you really need, so imagine the delight when someone with a real problem, requiring the service, can look at the website, search the problem, and see right there, the options there are too explore.
It brings warmer leads to businesses. People are a bit more aware to what they may be in need of. An educated consumer is a lot easier to deal with as there’s less time involved in the consultation period.
In a nutshell, social media brings warm leads to local businesses. Not even top search rankings bring in as close a warm lead, which in essence means, there’s a greater R.O.I involved in reaching out through social media marketing.
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