The power of social media is exponential. And don't just think that this power is limited to Facebook pages with huge numbers of followers. Take the time to build a relevant and engaged audience and even the smallest business could see huge returns.
Turn your customers into social media evangelists with some of these tips:
Integrate social media into your marketing
Make sure social is tightly woven into each aspect of the customer's journey.
Allow customers to quickly and easily register or log in on your site using their preferred social media platform. Social log in often cuts down on the steps needed to register, reducing friction in this important process and increasing the rate of registrations and purchases.
Include links to your profiles in your email marketing and your website. You can also showcase your latest posts or social statistics. The header, footer and sidebar are popular choices for placement of these.
Add functionality to make it easy for them to share and recommend you, both as they are browsing and immediately after they have made a purchase.
Optimize social sharing
Adding the ability for a visitor to share your products, pages or posts with their friends on social media is an absolute must, but there are some best practices to maximizing their effectiveness.
Reduce clutter on your site by focusing on the top 4 or 5 platforms used by your customers.
Don't simply add default sharing buttons. Include personal call to actions to encourage sharing. For example "Can't make up your mind? Ask your friends what they think about this product!"
Make sure you customize sharing options. For example, will the tweet include your username? Will the facebook share include an optimized image, description and call to action? Will the pin identify your brand?
Solicit feedback from customers on your social media profiles and make it easy for them to do so. Provide them with the links to directly create a review on your social media profiles. If your customer base is small (and it is appropriate to do so) take the time to personally thank each one on Facebook.
For larger companies, consider rewarding an outstanding reviewer with a discount or freebie. If you are worried that encouraging reviews will lead to negative as well as positive reviews, don't think about a negative review as one of your social media nightmares - it can be a powerful opportunity to show off your excellent customer service and highlight any important information about returns or refunds.
Showcase your social presence
Include some of your best social reviews and positive testimonials on your site. Twitter offers a convenient option to embed a tweet on your website.You can also screengrab reviews and place these images in strategic places where they are likely to influence someone considering a purchase.
Boast about how many shares a product has had to show how popular it is.
If screen real estate allows, and your social stream is generally positive and active then you can also add a feed to your sidebar or footer.
Go beyond product awareness to create a brand personality
What kind of personality does your brand have? Make sure this is reflected in your social media posts.
Whether you want people to see your company as fun, edgy, quirky, a trusted authority or a caring resource infuse this personality into your social media posts. It will help them to identify with your company on a more personal level.
Look for ways to creatively engage your audience. Don't limit your posts to formal updates about your company. Include posts about topics of interest to your audience to create a profile that is genuinely appealing.
Remember to ask questions! After all, anything with "social" in the name shouldn't be a one-way conversation. The key is to find the type of posts that will encourage your audience to interact with you.