Small business owners face a herculean challenge: finding and connecting with potential customers. Businesses drift in a sea of options and copycat imposters. Find a business offering a unique product or service and it’s likely that the market will be flooded within similar options in days or weeks. How can a business owner stand out among its competitors and turn social media relationships into customers eager to buy their products and service?

 

In the past, connecting with potential customers was an almost insurmountable task that distracted small business owners from the day-to-day operations to keep their business afloat. Today’s businesses have a much easier time but only if they know how to leverage the ever-changing world of social media. Potential fans are waiting in a variety of social media formats.

 

Most people think of Facebook when they think of turning followers into profits on social media. This is true, but changes to Facebook’s algorithm have made small businesses on a limited budget virtually invisible. Other sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are great options to develop and build a following. Don’t look to one social media platform to carry your relationships with potential customers. Share posts with followers across a variety of sites for maximum impact.

 

Here are some easy steps to guide small business owners in developing and launching social media campaigns that reap financial benefit.

 

Step One: Know Your Audience
Who is your ideal customer? Knowing –really knowing– who your perfect customer is requires thoughtful contemplation. Define a sketch of that person and share it with team members. Some companies have gone as far as developing and naming a case study of what their ideal client looks like.

 

Step Two: Listen
This sounds so simple, but it’s often overlooked by enthusiastic small businesses new to social media. A rookie mistake is to overload social media with one-sided broadcasts that fail to engage potential customers. Instead, set aside time to listen to what people are saying about your product or service –and your competitors. Craft thoughtful responses to a few of your connections each day. Being responsive and real has a ripple effect: the person feels valued and is more likely to feel loyal to your brand and others reading your posts will appreciate your authenticity.

 

Step Three: Have A Clear Call To Action
After identifying your ideal customer, building relationships on a variety of social media channels, listening carefully to their likes and dislikes, and responding in a way that demonstrates your genuine interest in their lives, ask them to act on an offer or do something that benefits them as a customer. Social media has created a vibrant subculture of brand ambassadors who champion small business owners and their products. You job is to get them on your team by sharing how they would be interested in your products or services.

 

What Social Media Platform Should You Use?
Interestingly, it doesn’t matter which format you choose: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. What’s more important is that you know your perfect customer profile (and join social media that they would join), listen carefully to their needs, wants and preferences, and have a clear call to action for them to respond to after you’ve built up the relationship.

 

Thinking of hiring a social media manager or firm but can’t afford the added expense? If finances are an issue, check in with our team at AFN (www.advancedfundsnetwork.com) so we can help you with some short term financial options to manage your social media campaign effectively.