As a small business owner you can’t have failed to notice that social media is everywhere! If you keep up with my blog you’ll also know that having a presence on one or two social media platforms is a vital part of reaching out to more customers, as I talk about in this blog.
Once you’ve invested time and resources into setting up and running a platform, the natural next step is to want to know what your ROI of social media is. For example, how many prospects and eventual customers are your social media activities generating for you?
So how do you find people who are already or could potentially be interested in your products or services? Here are my top tips for turning your prospects and social media fans into customers.
1. Connect your existing database with social media accounts
You probably have an existing list of email subscribers. If you don’t however I strongly suggest that you start one now. If you don’t have one and your barrier to having one before was knowing what to do with it, now would be a good time to start one, because I’m going to show you how to get started with it.
Most of the major platforms, namely Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have a function that allows you to look up existing customers from your email address book and start following them on that platform. When you find them you can then reach out to them with a personalised message to really make them feel special.
Bringing your customer information together like this is marketing gold! You already know your email subscribers are interested in your products or services, so it’s more like a warm lead. If you also have some data on their purchasing habits too you can combine this with your social media strategy and you can:
- Get a better idea of which social media platforms your target audience hangs out on
- Use your knowledge of their behaviour to better target their interests
- Interact with them, offer assistance and stay ‘top of mind’ in their news feeds
- If you use email marketing software such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, you can embed your social media profiles into the body of your emails to further encourage a following
- Add email sharing and Social Media share buttons to your email campaigns and your blog
- If you sell products online you can add social share buttons to your products to also encourage a following and spreading the reach of your products.
2. Ask the right question and you shall receive the right answer
It may seem really obvious, but I am constantly surprised at how few businesses actually do this. I should clarify that when I say ‘ask’, I don’t just mean asking customers to ‘Like’ us on Facebook, or ‘Follow’ us on Twitter – that’s just part of the story. For example, what about those who don’t hang out on Facebook or Twitter, and prefer Pinterest, YouTube or Google+? You will only find the best use of your time spent on social media by finding out where the market you want to sell to hangs out, and directing your efforts there.
So by all means do continue to direct people to your existing social media platforms using your literature, premises, your business cards, website etc. I would also suggest that you ask your prospects and customers where you can find them online and turn up there.
3. Review Social Media Traffic
Your ideal social media followers are those who are actively using the internet, and social media specifically, to find products or services.
One of the best ways to find prospects or existing customers on social media is to use the social media site’s search function (most of the major ones have one). You can run searches for:
- Your own hashtags, your competitor’s and industry-related ones to see what conversations are going on about your and your industry and make a contribution
- The businesses popular keywords
- Your city or region along with your product category (for instance, “Jeweller, Leeds”)
- Your product or service category and “recommendation” (for example, ‘Florist recommendation’)
Once you’ve found potential customers, you can answer questions they have asked, suggest products related to their search. Whatever you do, do not try to sell to them straight away! You have to give to receive, so start out by offering some advice, or just engage with them casually.
4. Know the demographics of each social network
One of the most important tips because it’s often so neglected, is to not assume that every social media platform will result in sales for you. Yes Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are great for driving sales for retail businesses. However in my experience, they’re not so productive when it comes to professional services, such as Solicitors, Accountants etc.
As I said earlier, it’s important to focus your time and resources where you’re likely to reach the most of your fans. One way to do this is to know the demographics of each platform and focus your efforts strategically on the one with the greatest potential return. Here are some key demographics of some of the major platforms:
- For example, in the UK on Facebook the largest demographic remains the 25-34 year olds, with just under 26% of all users falling into this age bracket. However, although Facebook is now unarguably “mainstream” with effectively half the UK population having an account, it’s no longer seen as “cool” for the younger generation.
- If your target market is the young and fashion conscious, Instagram and Pinterest need to be your stomping ground.
- Pinterest is very popular with 18-49 year olds, and women are around five times as likely to be on the site as men.
- The percentage of internet users who are on Twitter is constantly growing, currently standing at 16%. Those under 50, and especially those 18-29, are the most likely to use Twitter.
Source for Social Media stats: http://www.rosemcgrory.co.uk/2014/01/06/uk-social-media-statistics-for-2014/
- For business to business prospecting, LinkedIn is probably the best place to be active as an individual rather than your brand. It is the most business-friendly of all the platforms, and where that old adage, “people buy from people” really comes into play.
Review, Rinse and Repeat
Finally, don’t forget to monitor and review your presence on social media. All of the major platforms provide the ability to review how your content is being received. For example, what content is resonating with prospects and clients and what’s not. What’s being shared or commented on by your users. How are users mentioning about your brand, and what are they saying about your business.
This is important not just so that you can do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t, but also because as I mentioned earlier, you need to know that all-important ROI on your social media activities.
Finding your prospects and social media fans will take you time to begin with. However, with a proper strategy and some ingenuity you can bring them to you. Finding current and potential customers or clients who are likely to actually spend money with your business is a whole different thing. I do hope the tips I have shared with help you achieve that.
How do you currently use social media to find prospects? Have you defined your target market, and do you know how to connect with them on social media? Do you have any other tips you’ve tried that have really worked for you? I’d love to hear from you, so please do leave me a comment below.