Does the thought about your daughter’s new tattooed, pierced, gothic “rapper” boyfriend make you nervous about the word engagement? Well relax, cuz I’ve got a much happier and profitable form of engagement for you.
It’s the way you get your customers more involved and loyal to your business. You’ll probably laugh when you see how easy it is, and that you might have been putting it off for no good reason.
I’m sure you’ll agree that keeping customers or getting them to buy more is a good thing? And what if those same customers became raving fans for your business? These are people who get a boost of self-esteem by talking about you and your company. You can pretend you’re Sally Fields at the Academy Awards: “They really like me!”
It’s All About Your Customers
To appreciate what social media is as a marketing tool, you need to think about your customers a lot. What do they do all day? What do they need? Where do they go for fun or recreation? What kind of car do they drive and what restaurants do they eat at.
All your customers have needs in their lives that you could help fill. They have interests at home and work that inspire them. This is the essence of good marketing – knowing your customer intimately and making them happy and fulfilled.
Let’s say you have an independent restaurant with a slightly upscale patronage. You could use any of the 4 main social media sites to connect with your patrons in different ways. Each offers a different context that can help you get closer to your visitors.
For restaurants, Pinterest is great. Create pins/boards of your dishes and interior shots of your establishment. But don’t stop there, set up pin boards for travel destination, sports, and even carefully selected business topics. Why? It helps you to discover what they’re interested in. Upload a picture of your patrons too if they like. Just ask them if they’d like to show up on your Pinterest page. Then you might ask them for their comments which are very likely going to be positive. That can be put on your Pinterest board too.
If you have a brick & mortar store, you can also use Pinterest because of its cool, trendy, visual display of products. People can find out what you carry. That will encourage them to come into your store. Offer a discount coupon and use your “magnetic product” as a loss leader. Get them to buy or come into your retail establishment to try something on and talk to a fashion consultant.
Lawyers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, engineers will find Linkedin to be their best ally in connecting with potential clients. You build a professional and helpful relationship with clientele and keep in touch, at least once in a while which is important when they don’t need you very often.
A golf club or sports bar might engage customers with Twitter conversations about current sports events. Whether its pro sports or local, amateur events, it’s current every day and something customers like to talk about. You’re getting into their stream of interest.
I’m sure in your case you can think of an event you could hold that your customers would like to attend. The event then becomes the catalyst and topic of your social media activity. It gives them a reason and a focus to engage with you online. You can offer discounts or free samples or something else that builds their interest.
Social media offers a huge array of channels and techniques. And although Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter have a prebuilt context, it’s important that you think outside the box on this and create your own tone, mood, and topics. Building and managing the context means creating a “happy place” for them to become truly engaged with your business (and you).
Social strategy should be a key part of your overall internet marketing efforts. It’s challenging that so much is needed today to stay visible online and keep the customers you have. Talk to us about a digital marketing strategy for your business. That’s time well spent.