Friday, June 4, 2010

Before You Divorce Social Media, You Need To Be "Engaged"

Some people flirt with social media sites while others are fully committed. Then there are those who wish to never hear the words "I'm tweeting" ever again. Before signing those divorce papers and doing away with social media forever, keep in mind, that it is YOUR potential customers who are using these sites on a daily basis.
Some businesses feel it is essential to use social media sites, such as, Twitter and Facebook, as a part of their marketing strategies, but why? In understanding Social Media and how to use it properly, will help in clarifying it's importance when trying to market your brand online, so lets put those divorce papers away and start from the beginning.

The Date: Getting To Know Social Media
Searching "Dating" several social media sites can be helpful in how successful your business will be online and off. Don't be afraid of trying out, researching, and/or learning more about each Social Media site, for it is extremely important that you find "the one" your business will stick with.
When the best site is found, it is like entering into a "relationship," which means, you need to get to know it better. Explore what the site offers and feel free to see how other businesses are using it.

For a long time, most people's "type" for finding out "late breaking news," has been television and radio, so it is understandable that in changing what you are use to, can be hard to do. However, customers want to become a part of those businesses that are up-to-date and "with the times". They also want to be involved in those businesses that want to be involved with them. It use to be that customers always came to where the businesses were, but now-a-days, customers want companies to come to where they are, which is most likely on a social media site.
Social media sites, are used to build communities and to connect with people who have similar interests and to share news either about the happenings in our daily lives or about what is happening in the world around us. To be a part of "what's happening," it is wise for your business to be a part of social media. Lets use this blog post as an example, If the decision was made to never have this article posted, then you wouldn't have been given the chance to think about it or the ability to respond to it. Each reader now is able to share their opinions, express their thoughts, ask questions and even expand on this topic. This allows for a discussion to begin, not only with who created the blog post, but with other readers. Think now of your business. If you don't give your customers the opportunity to talk with you, via social media sites, think about all of what you could be possibly missing out on.
It can be difficult to find where to start, since their are many social media sites to choose from. A couple to begin with would be Facebook, for their pages and YouTube, for their traffic. Every business will have their own likes and dislikes while trying to find the social media site they want to use, but should continue in trying to find the one that best suits them. Once you have found the site that works best, you can now start learning the most useful ways to use them; which begins the "Engagement" process.

The Engagement: How To Use Social Media
Every social media site has someone selling something, however, it's the ones who are paying attention and not sitting idly by, that get noticed. When talking to a person, rather then at them, they tend to respond more positively and feel like they are listened to. To break it down, the way in which you communicate will either drive people towards you or away. As a business, it is of high importance that you "engage" with customers by talking with them. This is also a huge change, but effective in getting people interested in your business.
Before social media began, it was about coming up with commercials, banners, and/or ads where you had to talk "at" the customer, but times they are a changing. Although including some of these as part of your marketing strategies, is not necessarily a bad thing, it shouldn't be the only thing your business uses. Customers now expect businesses to talk with them, engage in conversations, to ask for their opinions, and so on. It's not just about listing off what you are selling anymore, it's about getting to know those who you are selling to. In asking questions that customers can relate to, will encourage a response and result in a higher "engagement." Some examples to use may be:

"Pie or Cake?"
"Scary or Funny Movies?"
"What is your favorite color?"
"Which season is your favorite?"

Although some of these may not be related to what you are selling, it will trigger a new way of communicating with your customers and will get your business noticed, which should always be the first goal.
Most people will build up a loyalty to those who want to spend time in getting to know them better. Finding what interests your customers have, can not only help you in deciding on what you need to promote within your business, but will also build a new kind of relationship with whom you are selling to.
Try not to get stuck in a box. Feel free to post fun quotes, thought provoking questions, and reach out to your customers to ask their opinion about what you are selling or other various topics. In having your customers feel like they are a part of your business will keep them coming back to your business. Through engaging with customers and finding more out about them, will make them want to find out more about you, "the company."

Now that you've got your customers attention, you can share with them promotional sales, top selling items, and company news, while still incorporating social interaction. Doing this, helps in reaching the main goal which is to create more sales for your business while keeping your customers happy. Engaging, sharing, and listening to what your customers are saying will make your business stand out more then if you were just pumping out sale pitch. after sale pitch, after sale pitch.
"Engaging" with those who are following, liking, and showing interest in your business is a must! Once you have taken this step, it is time to commit.

The Marriage: Committing To Social Media
As simple as it sounds, committing to using social media sites may not always be that easy. It is key that when you start talking, engaging, and conversing with your customers, that you continue doing so. In just setting up an account and leaving it, is the wrong way of thinking. When people like your page, follow you, etc. they now want you to take the time to engage with them on an on-going basis. This is where you should start thinking of ways to keep people interested in your business. Creativity, innovation, and hard work is key in keeping anybody happy, including your customers.

Social Media has the word "social" in it for a reason, so try to always continue socializing with those that have connected with you. Update the social media site your business has chosen, on a regular basis. It is very easy to set up an account, engage with those on that site for a couple months and then drop off. Customers will forget about you if you don't "commit" to remembering them.
One great part of this "commitment" is that it is usually FREE, so be sure to incorporate using these sites into your marketing strategies every month. Most of us think, "to make money, you have to spend money", which holds some truth, but sometimes just taking the time to show you care about your customers will incur an even bigger reward.
As with any relationship, expressing patience, determination, passion, and in using communication, keeps it healthy and strong, in committing to giving these to your customers, will have them commit to your business.

As time goes on, even newer social media sites will rear their heads and so it seems, social media is here to stay. Using social media sites properly can help in understanding why they should be used and in how beneficial they truly can be to your business. So, before divorcing social media, allow your business to look into using it as a part of your marketing strategies. Become a part of a "new age" by engaging with customers before signing on that dotted line. In time, your views may change, the relationships with your customers will change, and so will the profits for your business!

It's time now we engage with you! Do you use social media sites to market your business? If no, do you think you will start? Let Teesinapod know by leaving a comment on this post or by visiting us at our Facebook Page. We'd love to know how social media works for you!

Written By: Amanda Ryan, Creature Creations, Personalized Photo Gifts

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