The best FREEBIE tools for increasing online sales:Social Media
Social media can be a great way to boost your business, i.e Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, etc.
But – beware. It’s a bit of a monster. Once you start, it’s like a full-time job keeping up, and if you don’t keep up to date, it can give your company a poor reputation. And of course, anyone can say anything they like about you – whether it’s true or not. You could remove the post of course – but – will that make readers think it’s true…………………..
So, are ya scared? Have we put you off?
No? Good. It’s just wise to think it through before you glibby start Tweetin’ ‘n’ Tubin’.
So why use social media? What are the benefits?
Well, talking about your business online can help create interest, attract new customers, get features written about you and create inbound links to your site, which all increases traffic and sales. And best of all – it’s free!!
Doing business online can be a faceless, cold experience. Social media can help change that.
- You can get to know your customers
- You can post videos of your company products so clients can actually see them
- You can announce sales or discounts or news to followers in real time
- You can showcase your products or services as you please online
- Get feedback from your clients or potential clients
- React and interact with your existing and potential customers
- You can do instant surveys to help improve your services (Though it’s good to remember some kind of incentive like a future discount or voucher if you want people to give up time to help you improve your business)
It’s important to remember that social networking should NOT be used as a hard sell by you or your company – that’ll just put customers off. It should be considered a space or place for them, the customer, to interact with not just you, but other clients of yours too.
Obey the rules of social media etiquette
It’s important to build trust and respect with your users. You must let them say what they want – don’t instantly remove negative comments. Instead, offer a quick, polite online response offering to solve the customer’s problem. That way, other customers will see that if there is an issue, your company is honest enough not to hide it, and is quick to fix.
A global presence – 24:7
Interacting online with your clients gives your business a real face. It lets them know ‘the shop is always open’. Another of the many benefits is, of course, that you are dealing with a global audience. It’s not going to be a 9-5 operation.
You could expand your reach to other countries and timezones and talk to customers while you’re on the train, at home before breakfast, and, at the risk of divorce, even on holiday J
….. make the mistake of getting staff in the office to post OTT nice stuff about your company online. It’s just so obvious – and internet users today are increasingly savvy – if they want to -they can check the unique IP address of someone posting – and if they see all the flattering comments are from the same address – big fail. They’ll go online and tell people you are saying nice things about yourself to fool customers. Bang. Credibility out the window, sales dead.
But if you do it right….
Building an online community of followers though sites like Facebook and Twitter can increase traffic to your business, and Google likes social media, so it’ll reward you with a higher ranking in search engines. Higher rankings mean more traffic = more sales.
So, what kind of social media should you consider?
Facebook – great to post a biog about the company, products listings, photos and videos of products. Build customer ‘friends’ and interact with them about your business.
Twitter – quick, short updates on what you or the business is doing. Tweeting is a skill – 90% of Tweets are boring – so keep it interesting or you’ll get no followers, don’t Tweet every 5 mins, once a day is good, and follow some relevant other Tweeters yourself.
Linkedin – the grown up professional’s Facebook. This is a workplace networking site – you can join professional associations on here too and recommend people and companies you’ve worked with – and they can recommend you.
Do a blog. Link your blog to your other social media tools and your website. Keep it interesting so people will want to read it – and use it to create more awareness of your company and services. If you have a Google account you can use it to create a free blog. Or use WordPress or LiveJournal.
YouTube Handy for posting videos either about your company products – or – if you’ve got a creative talent in the office, you could come up with a funny video that could ‘go viral’ – get lots of views and just be darn good free PR for your business because your company name will be on it.
Keep it manageable
These are the most popular social media outlets – so they ought to be the ones you look at using, though there are far more you could look at. It makes sense to use the ones that are more popular – as that will give you the biggest reach for your business.
Be careful what you take on – it’s hardwork to keep everything up to date – and once you start – you need to keep it rolling. But the benefits can be substantial. Done well, you can certainly increase traffic to your website and business and have more chance of increased sales. And of course the best bit – it’s free PR.