by Crystal Washington
Social media can be a utopia or dystopian wasteland for small business owners. At this moment, the world has changed dramatically TWICE this year, making navigating an online
presence even more daunting. Should your brand post at all? What should you say or do?
Having and employing an online strategy is the determining factor for success. It’s typically not enough to simply put a sign in front of a building and expect sales to roll in. In the same way, just “showing up” on social media will not result in increased referrals or sales. You must show up consistently and build relationships.
Use Tech Tools to Research Prospects
Whether you want to find the perfect customized housewarming gift for an existing client, connect with a referral partner or find out more about a prospect technology, and social media specifically, makes getting the answers you need easy.
If you want to learn more about a contact’s preferences, a quick search on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and possibly Pinterest will help you discover:
- Their alma mater (for a beautiful customized home mat)
- Their favorite sports teams (for a customized team mug with their name)
- What charities are near and dear to their hearts (perhaps donate in their name)
In this age of mass customization, understanding our customers’ and prospects’ preferences can be the one thing that sets us apart from our competitors.
While the above example may “seem” to be more suited for B2B businesses, the same principles apply to B2C. Researching some of your best clients can help you spot trends enabling you to better target prospects in online ads. Additionally, you can apply these suggestions to referral partners and influencers as well!
Connect with Referral Partners & Customers
Social media and apps provide you with the opportunity to network with customers and other community/industry members to build relationships for increased referrals.
A few suggestions for connecting with peers include:
- Link up on LinkedIn and Facebook and comment on at least five connections’ posts per week.
- Use Zoom to co-host short (less than fifteen minutes) videos together for Facebook Live, YouTube and LinkedIn.
- Co-author articles/ blog posts and share them!
- Tag each other in social media posts to share the spotlight.
To connect with customers:
- Use Facebook lists to post information on your profile visible only to specific audiences.
- Invite customers/prospects/influencers to online and, once it is deemed safe, in-person functions.
- Offer giveaways that benefit two parties—the receiving party and the organization the item is purchased from.
Merge Online and Offline Interactions
Just because you’re connecting on social media doesn’t mean that all interactions should live in that space. One of the most powerful things you can do is send a customized card to someone who wrote something kind about you on a social network! Two of my favorite tools for crafting customized cards are Touchnote and SendOutCards. Both allow you to create cards in moments from screenshots, uploaded pictures or their already-designed cards. When someone shares a kind post about me that can potentially result in business, I like to send a card with a picture of their post and thanking them, by name, on the front of the card. SendOutCards also allows you to send gifts from delicious goodies to sweet charms to remember a deceased loved one.
About Crystal Washington, CSP
Crystal works with organizations that want to leverage technology to increase profits and productivity. As a keynote speaker, she teaches practical applications of social media, apps, smartphones and more! Crystal is the author of the books One Tech Action and The Social Media Why.