Despite what you may have heard, social media isn’t necessarily the wave of the future, especially when it comes to business. Social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the countless others do provided business with an invaluable tool to communicate with customers, but they should be relied upon to heavily. Why? Consumer overload. While many clients and customers love the interaction social media offers them with their favorite brands and businesses, it can be overwhelming to them, especially if they become inundated with pitches, advertisements, and the dreaded spam.
So then, what is a business to do when it comes to social media? Find balance. Let the outlets of your choice be a means to engage with customers as a customer service tool. Don’t let it become a means to advertise to your customers. If you build a successful, positive relationship with them through excellent customer service, you won’t need to pitch to anyone who follows you online. Of course, this can be very time consuming. Many businesses employ a “social media manager” (or similar title). While this type of position isn’t always necessary, it can be helpful to have someone around who knows the ins-and-outs of social media networks, who can effectively and efficiently navigate and possesses excellent communication skills and plenty of sound judgment. Plus, if you positively engage with customers regularly and in real time, there’s a pretty good chance you actions will spread via word of mouth.
Give Customers Direction
Of course, you need to give customers and potential customers the proper direction to your social media presence. This is where the application to more traditional forms of advertising comes in. You can simply list your web address on you banners, posters, and fliers, or you can make it even easier. Feature a QR code (quick response code) on your ads and you can have people looking at exactly what you what them to. QR codes put you in control. You can find numerous QR code generators online and when you create one (or many) you can easily direct customers (and again, potential customers) to your business and/or social media webpage. It’s up to you and the possibilities can be endless.
A more subtle way of giving direction is through viral advertising and marketing. Viral ads aren’t something you want to force. If you do, it’s going to fail. There are too many internet users who are independently skilled at identifying a forced viral advertising campaign. You don’t necessarily want to go into an advertisement think it will go viral, but studying previous advertisements that have gone viral can be hugely beneficial. One common way marketers are going viral is with the use of internet memes. When an internet-savvy individual spots a meme they recognize, they have a habit of reading it (guilty). Use one in a productive manner (that is, correctly—study up on memes at knowyourmeme.com) and you’re likely to get a positive response. Use it incorrectly, and well, prepare for a brief moment of backlash before it fades into digital oblivion. Better yet, take an internet meme and apply it to a real world advertisement. Putting a “rage face” (look it up in the previous link if you’re unfamiliar) on an poster, banner, or other printed ad and you will certainly get attention.
Annie Harrington is a small business owner, writer, and amateur photographer. In her free time she enjoys writing about ways other business owners can positively impact their brand image with unique poster printing and personalized banners.