These days, it’s a given that everyone is on social media. Except my mum. The real question is, what are they doing there? My Facebook friends range from networking contacts, to my friend’s children to – wait for it – actual friends! You know, the ones that I occasionally see in real life.
I love the fact that social media enables me to keep up with the lives of people that I don’t see all the time. Some of them live far away. With others it’s just that the demands of life with small children means that we can’t meet up like we used to. I can send new baby congratulations to Canada and catch up with other school mums when the kids are in bed. A dear friend once told me that Facebook had saved her from interminable evenings looking at people’s holiday photos. I couldn’t possibly comment…
Building great business relationships
Of course, social media isn’t just for catching up with friends and looking at cat videos. It’s become an increasingly powerful business building tool as well. Of course, it’s always frustrating putting your livelihood in the hands of a massive media corporation. I’m constantly hearing from business owners whose reach has shrunk to almost nothing. But it is worth persevering. There are 1.7 billion people on Facebook so your potential customers are bound to be there somewhere. It’s just a case of finding them.
At its heart, social media is just that – social. It helps you to put the human face on your business and build relationships with your audience. Whilst there might be a bewildering array of people on there, they tend to sort themselves into groups. Think about it. Beyond your friendships you probably follow certain people or join groups that reflect your interests. Your customers do the same.
Where are you?
Are you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn? Maybe you’re on all of them and a couple more besides. I’ve learned that unless you’re a huge corporation with a team to manage each platform, it’s best to stick to a couple. For business, I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn as that’s where my customers are. I’m signed up to Twitter and find it entertaining but I haven’t really worked out where it fits in my business yet.
If you’re not getting any response on your business posts, think about whether you’re in the right place. You can find almost any type of business on Facebook, but what about the others?
Engaging on social media
Apart from finding your customers, narrowing your social media focus saves you time. That’s not just because you haven’t got time to write the posts. To use social media properly you need to engage with your audience. That means responding to comments, answering questions and spending time in groups. If you’re running a small business you haven’t got time to do that in more than one or two places.
Real engagement, where your customers feel that you’re listening and understand them, is the most powerful marketing tool you can use. They see a person, not just a business. It means that they come back to you time after time because they like you. Build a rapport and follow it up with great customer service and you’ll have fans for life.
How are you building relationships on social media? Share your story in the comments below.