It is hard to accept that there was a time when social media was not a part of developing small businesses. In spite of the struggles faced by businessmen in using social media to promote their products and engage their audiences, they are learning and gaining confidence in practising their social media skills. In 2012, about 54 per cent of the small businesses showed their lack of knowledge and asked for help in using social media after participating in the survey administered by Constant Contact. Currently, that percentage has dropped to 45. This has shown the success, with 72 per cent of businesses saying that their online marketing skills and efforts across the mediums that matter a lot, including mobile, web, social, email are working.
Internet savvy people know that the exciting and valuable contents engage their audience. The online community discourages self-promotions which means using social media as a free advertising platform. Due to this, small businesses face a challenge in striking a balance in using social media to promote their business and engage their audience.
Engaging an audience and promoting business are inseparable from each other. Engagement means continuously sharing details and providing value every time you connect with a customer. This creates credibility and builds trust and inspires customers to inform their friends about you. The promotion covers your engagement efforts by offering something valuable that is based on the needs and interests of your customers. Social media augments your efforts so that you can be found and engage the bigger audience to expand your business.
To cut the story short, here are eight best practices to successfully engage your audience and promoting your small business through social media.
- Believe in One-in-seven rule.
This rule states that one out of every seven posts should promote your business, the rest of the posts should focus on sharing interesting content, including community posts. Of course, you can promote your business in the other six posts, but it should be paired with valuable content.
- Begin with conversational questions.
Many people love to share their opinions on Facebook, so ask them to weigh in on topics that they find interesting and are relevant to your business. For example, a fitness centre can start a poll and ask the audience to vote on their favourite sports to be able to enter into a drawing to win free lessons for them and their friends who join the fitness centre. By flowing this strategy, they will be able to engage their audience while gaining the necessary insights.
- Spread your knowledge.
Upload fun-filled posts including the questions with the offer to gift something to the first person who answers correctly.
- Provide tips and value.
Posting fun posts are important and reflect your outgoing personality which is essential in every business, but at the same time, you must not forget to create quality content that benefits your followers. This includes posting advice and tips on the best practices, providing access to white papers and offering special deals on products and services.
- Boost the rewards for virtual check-ins.
For some extent of time, double the reward points every time a customer checks in on Foursquare and triple the reward points if he or she brings friends. Their friends on social networking sites will see when they have checked in while you can expand your reach exponentially.
- Create an attractive Pinterest board.
Make sure that the Pinterest board has attractive visuals and start a contest on it that will reward the customers for their participation in the contest. Make sure to encourage them to re-pin and create their Pinterest boards that show the initial contest for the additional social strengthening of your campaign.
- Avoid the use of syndicated messages.
While there is software that allows you to write a message and make it appear on many social media platforms, they possess the risk of losing the sincerity behind the message. You can use the same language for each platform but do not forget to change the words while reflecting the tone of each network.
If you notice that the customers are dispersed across different networks, focus your time and effort where they are most active. Otherwise, your precious time will be wasted on scanning the surface of multiple networks with little outcomes.
When small businesses apply these best techniques to social media promotion and engagement, we will see that already 72 per cent achievement continues to increase.