It’s important to appreciate the influence of social media for your small business. It can fortify or crush your brand and customer relations.
There’s no denying it – social media has a pretty firm grip on people these days. And it’s not just big corporations that use social – small business owners are establishing vital and vibrant voices in that realm, too.
Keep this in mind: Always think from the perspective of your customer base. How can you:
- Attract and engage your target customer?
- Help or support their buying decisions?
- Better maintain connections and serve your customers?
You may have won a stable group of social followers, but social is about having an ongoing conversation. You have to keep working at it.
If you can keep conversation relevant and engaging, you’ve won half the battle. So:
- Find the platforms your consumers are actively in
- Always encourage that sense of belonging and the feel-good notion of working together
- Make your brand known and leave a mark there
Insights from Inbound & Pubcon on Connecting
1. The Importance of Storytelling on Social
When it comes to doing business today, people don’t want to interact with sterile brands. Gone are the days of canned responses or advertisements. If your brand isn’t really connecting with consumers, then you’re losing out on the ability to relate. This can result in you losing out on business.
So how do you connect with social followers? Speak in a very human voice—in a voice they recognize and can relate to. And use storytelling to stand out in a competitive market place.
You’d be surprised how much your personal brand story will win people over. Did you have a change in career at some point in time? Perhaps you veered off on a few different paths? Don’t leave that out. Incorporate that. Use that. It’s sometimes the ‘why’ behind your brand that holds a great deal of intrigue.
Speaker: Kate Paine of Standing Out Online at PubCon
Key Takeaway: “More and more people want to know people’s personal brand story. People want to do business with people, not with a brand, not with a logo.”
2. Social Media Is as Important as Your Website
For a good chunk of time, websites have been the “face” of a brand. It makes sense, after all — this is the place people would usually end up after a quick Google search. But there’s been a real shift in how brands are getting attention.
So, where is this (relatively) newfound interaction taking place? On social media, of course.
Increasingly, social platforms are where consumers go to make a connection with a brand. So, a strong social presence could be a huge difference-maker for your small business.
Speaker: Amy Alexander of Story Collaborative at Inbound
Key Takeaway: “[Brands] are [likely] getting rid of large web build outs. Social media is really the platform people are using. They don’t want to go other places and we don’t want to force them to. We need to be thinking in a more agile way and thinking about where social media is going to take us in the future.”
3. On Listening to Your Customers
How do you find out what people really want or need? How do you understand what people are asking for? It’s deceptively simple; you listen and you listen well.
Many small business owners feel close to their customers. This may make them assume they “know” what customers want and need. The risk here is overlooked opportunity. Instead of just looking down at our own feet, keep a concentrated ear to the ground. What are your customers actually expressing that they want?
Speaker: Kat Koppett of Koppett at Inbound
Key Takeaway: “The secret super power of the improviser is the ability to receive information and [really] listen. We need to be better about understanding, [learn] how to listen to our customers and uncover their needs.”
Social media is vital. And as a small business owner, you should be spending some time and energy thinking about your social profile. Social can help your business in many ways:
- Attract new customers
- Serve and support existing customers
- Create brand awareness and dialogue
- Put a real “face” to your brand that’s conversational and accessible
- Provide a feedback loop that informs how you evolve your business
At the end of the day, you’re only as good as your least satisfied consumer. Their overall experience is crucial to the success of your business. Remember: You don’t always have a second chance to make a good first impression.
about the author
Kelly Radke is the Content Coordinator at FreshBooks. Prior to joining the FreshBooks team, she worked as a teacher for several years, and gained her marketing experience at an advertising agency. With a BAH in English Language & Literature, writing has been a passion of Kelly's for some time.