If you’re even a casual user of social media sites like Facebook or Google+, by now you’ve probably come across at least one or two businesses that have some sort of presence on them. Maybe you’ve “liked” them, “fanned” them or “connected” with them. Think about it the next time you click on one of those little buttons or icons: You’ve just made that business very happy, because you’re directly engaging with its online marketing.
Now think about this: If you own or run a business, you can benefit from the same type of social engagement. That’s right. You can use venues like Google+ and Facebook to establish a direct information pipeline to the hearts and minds of your potential customers. Instead of loafing around online to chit-chat with old school chums or share your unsavory personal habits with friends and relatives, you can actually take advantage of social media to add to your bottom line.
Here are a few ideas on how you can be more productive in your social media activities:
Build a Welcome Page
After you’ve set up a business account, Facebook allows you to build a custom “Welcome” page. Well, you can actually build a number of custom pages, but a welcome page is the place to start. It’s a great location for important information that you want to share on a fairly permanent basis, and serves as a handy landing page for your social media links and widgets. Think of one of these custom pages as a chopped-down website, and pack it full of good content.
Post Business Updates
People don’t hang around Facebook just to look at pretty pages. They come for the content. When you run a business account, that means you’re responsible for keeping your wall stocked with fresh information that your customers will find interesting. Your content can take many forms — updates, sales, contests and tips are some good examples — but it has to be information relevant to your customers. You also need to deliver content consistently. If you want to really engage with people, be prepared for multiple updates every week.
While some of your business’ social media updates will be simply informative, at least a portion of it should actively invite the participation of your customers. A good sale can draw a lot of attention, of course, especially if you use coupons or online codes that are available only to people who “like” or “connect” with your business. Contests are also useful for generating a lot of interaction.
Mess With Them
Technically, this activity isn’t very productive. But messing with social media platforms can be a fun way to demonstrate that no matter how sophisticated the computer code, we silly humans are still in charge. For now, at least.
Sometimes sites like Facebook and Google+ try to make more out of the information you provide them than they should. As an example, Google+ likes to grab your “where you’ve lived” information and send it over to Google Maps. I told it I lived in “A swamp” — which is true, by the way. Google Maps now tells the world that I live on the northern end of Serengeti National Park, near the border between Tanzania and Kenya.
Hmm. Guess I need to learn to speak Bantu.