Talking to potential customers on social media is a great way to make them aware of your business and start to build loyalty. People of all ages and backgrounds are joining different social media platforms every day:
Nearly 75% of all internet users in the UK have a social media profile
1 in 5 adults say they use Facebook more than 10 times a day (Ofcom, 2015)
In 2015, 90% of 18-29 year olds used social media (Pew Research Centre, 2015)
Just over 80% of people over 50 check Facebook more than once a day (Telegraph, 2015)
Whoever your target customer is, they’re very likely to be using social media to talk to friends, families and businesses. So here are our top five tips to widen your social media circle and make these potential customers aware of your business.
Find and follow them
Social media works by finding and ‘following’ people you are interested in. ‘Following’ is called different names on different social media channels: on Facebook you ‘like’ a business page, on LinkedIn you ‘connect’ with someone, and on Instagram and Twitter you ‘follow’ someone.
Use the search function on a social media channel to find people and businesses you’re interested in: for example, if you run a florist you might search for “garden centre”, “flower distributor” or “interior stylist”. Explore the results and ‘follow’ the people you find interesting; this will also encourage them to ‘follow’ you back and help expand your social media circle.
Develop your online personality
It’s important your social media account and online personality reflect your business – after all, if you’re searching for interesting people to follow, it’s useful if you’re interesting too!
To start with, upload the same clear, professional photo of you or your business logo to each of your social media accounts. Each social media channel has different sizes for their profile photos, but a high quality image cropped to a square will work across most of them. This means people looking at your accounts will know who you are. You can find a useful cheat sheet of social media image sizes here.
Use the written part of your profile (Bio) to give a short, concise explanation of you and your business. Include keywords (such as your business type and location) to help you appear when other people search for businesses like yours.
Make the most of other channels
Promoting your social media accounts through other marketing channels is a simple way to expand your social media circle. Make sure your social media username or web address is included in your email signature, on flyers and business cards, displayed on your website and in your shop, and anywhere potential customers might see it.
You can also share your social media accounts on other accounts. This works most effectively if each of your social media accounts has a different purpose. For example, if you are a florist with an Instagram account dedicated to photos of unique flower arrangements, you could share some of these photographs on Facebook or Twitter and encourage people to follow you.
Post regular updates
Often it can feel like other people are constantly updating their social media accounts. But for a small, busy business, this just isn’t possible – and it often isn’t needed. It’s better to post fewer, high quality updates on your social media accounts than lots of boring or meaningless information.
A simple way to do this is to set yourself a realistic schedule and stick to it. Try and avoid going for weeks or months without posting an update, as your ‘followers’ will start to get bored and stop paying attention. Try this calendar tool to get you started.
To start with, try and update Twitter or Instagram once a day, and Facebook and LinkedIn twice a week; you can use a social media management tool to help you with this. These can be original updates about your business, products or news – or you can share other people’s online articles or updates.
Keep a close eye on what’s working on different channels by looking at who is sharing, commenting or ‘liking’ your updates. If people are interacting with your updates, it’s likely their friends will see it and they may then decide to also follow you. And, if a certain type of update works well – for example, a photo of a new product – make a note and be sure to use this technique again.
Using hashtags can be really useful to widen your social media circle. Hashtags are simply lists anyone on social media can ‘join’ by using the hashtag.
One way to understand hashtags is by thinking of your local library. You can either search for a specific author (like Ian Fleming) or a specific title (like Casino Royale). Or, you can visit a section in library – like Spy novels – to get inspiration and ideas. A hashtag is just like a section in the library which anyone can add to.
Hashtags are best used on Twitter and Instagram where there’s lots of information which needs to be organised. Search for the hashtag symbol (#) immediately followed by key words associated with your business to see what people are talking about (for example #florists #decoratingtips or #cheaptyres). You can also use these hashtags in your own updates, which will then appear when other people search for these hashtags. This can encourage people to follow you as they’ll see you talking about something they’re interested in.
There are plenty of ways to grab the attention of customers through social media, and these five are some of our favourites. Try them out to see how they might boost your followers and widen your social media circle to gain more customers.