Most businesses these days, especially retail and service businesses, have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn. But in order to attract prospective customers to your business page(s), you need to actively court and engage fellow Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn users. How? Here are 13 suggestions.
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1. Leverage your company social media bio/profile. “Make sure that your company’s online profile [or bio] is [informative] and designed in a way that quickly shows users who you are and what your business is about,” says Bernard Perrine, cofounder & CEO, SocialCentiv, a Twitter marketing tool.
2. Do some research. “Keyword research will help you identify what your target audience is searching for,” says Ashley Orndorff, market research analyst & copywriter, Visual Impact Group. “Once you know what questions they have and the topics they find interesting, you'll have a better idea of the types of content they're likely to find valuable.
“Also check your competitors’ pages to see what types of content get the most engagement,” she suggests. “Are their followers engaging the most with an image with a quote, a funny joke, something about their office day-to-day, certain hashtags?” Figure out what’s working for others and try a similar strategy.
3. Don't just talk about your business. Instead post content your followers will find interesting or helpful. “If all you do is post articles [about your business], people will lose interest,” says Patrick Gillooly, director of digital communication and social media at Monster. “Be a thought leader by sharing content from a wide variety of sources. That way, you create a compelling stream of information that a potential customer would have more interest following—and a lot of the people whose content you shared might start following you too.”
“Deliver content that is positioned in a way that you are solving a problem for the person vs. being overtly promotional,” says Katie Welch, digital marketing strategist at Flowroute, which provides calling and messaging for cloud-based companies.
4. Engage with followers – and respond quickly to questions. “Remember to keep on top of answering questions and responding to followers with thoughtful responses instead of generic answers,” says Alice Williams, communications specialist, Frontier Business Edge, which provides data, voice, video and equipment solutions to businesses.
Moreover, “if you offer up a custom response to someone who either has interacted with your business or has a need your business can fulfill (e.g., [someone] looking to book a flight [or a trip] if you're a travel agent), you are very likely to gain a quick follower,” says Gillooly. “Do 5-10 of those interactions a day and your numbers will grow very quickly.”
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“For example, if someone tweets, ‘I love the Dallas Cowboys!’ and you sell Cowboys fan gear in your shop, reply that he can shop with you,” and offer a discount or coupon code, says Perrine.
“Keep your finger on the pulse of industry-specific conversations and engage with thoughtful questions and helpful answers,” says Mostafa Razzak, principal, JMRConnect, a public relations & influencer communications company. “Do not patronize or waste people’s time by stating the obvious or making comments that show you haven’t paid attention to what they’ve written or the message they’re trying to convey.”
5. Follow other users, especially those following you. “Many times, following someone will get a follow back very quickly,” says Gillooly. “So make sure you're going out and follow[ing] those [people] who are or could be customers — or are thought leaders in your industry.”
6. Interact with influencers in your industry. “Interaction with influencers that is not promotional or furthering your own agenda will earn you respect and, by extension, convince [them and their followers] that it’s worth their time to follow your company,” says Razzak.