By Ashley Laabs
Social media isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile if your business take the time to create fan-friendly social content. The sad fact is, many small businesses are too focused on using old-media tactics that just don’t work for social media.
For instance, social media is more of a brand awareness tool than a direct sales tool. If you are only using it to broadcast a sales pitch once a month, you’re not going to get the results you want. The goal is to have consistent content that users will want to consume – content that connects them to your brand, entertains them, and informs them in an engaging way.
It doesn’t happen by accident, which is why it is so important for your salon to create a content strategy. Know the answers to the most important questions: Who is your customer? What attitude or action are you trying to influence? What forum is best for your message? Who is going to produce content? When and how often will content be published?
Get the answers on paper in the form of a customer profile, editorial schedule, or mission statement that can serve as a resource for all of your social media efforts.
Most importantly, know the “why” behind your plan. Are you just participating in social media to keep up with the times? That’s not good enough. Dig deeper into your business goals and connect the dots. You’ll find that social media can be a catalyst that helps you become a trusted expert to your fans and customers. To your viewers, an active social media presence signals customer service, responsibility and transparency.
How active do you have to be? A survey by inbound-marketing leader HubSpot revealed that consumers expect companies to be active on at least three to four social networks. It probably comes as no surprise, but 95% of Millennials expect brands to have a Facebook page. Twitter, YouTube and Instagram were also popular choices.
Again, just because you exist on these outlets doesn’t mean your customers will automatically follow you. Go where your fans are and make enjoyable, informative content. This alone can help potential customers decide to spend their money with you.
Great content doesn’t happen overnight or all at once, which is why analytics and social listening are also important for finding social media success. With so many free analytics tools, it’s easy to see which of you posts are most liked, shared or commented on. Use that information to help you decipher which posts work for your business. Also take heed of comments, feedback and reviews people leave. Even better, respond to them! If you let your customers know that they have been heard, that’s half the battle: In HubSpot’s survey, 73% of respondents said they are more likely to buy from a brand that responds on social media. The other half of the battle is taking criticisms along with compliments and using that to improve your efforts.
When you make a real effort to develop a commanding presence online, you open up amazing opportunities for conversations, insights, and sharing. But in order to see the benefits, you have to stop treating your social media pages like a billboard or a newspaper ad, and start embracing the power of a two-way conversation.