The advent of social media has created a revolution in the online advertising world. Many e-commerce businesses are already taking full advantage of social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to attract new clientele and engage existing customers with their brand. Moreover, social media has been shortlisted by most reputable marketing experts as one of the main online advertising trends of 2012. What many companies do not realize, however, is that simply creating a page on a social media network is not enough to attract and retain a long-term customer base. It is equally important to keep readers interested in and engaged with your brand. If you fail to do this, the chances are that many of your ‘fans’ will leave in search for more exciting prospects. Luckily, there are many ways to take action if you want to draw in customers and keep them hooked.
Be informative and complete
The worst mistake any online business entrepreneur can make is to put the proverbial cart before the horse. Regardless of how excited you are about the start of your social media adventure, always make sure your Facebook page is completely up-to-scratch before you start inviting thousands of potential customers to join. An attractive and commercially viable networking page should include all the necessary information on your brand and your company’s contact details, so interested customers can get in touch. A Facebook page that is still ‘under construction’ or merely contains a one-paragraph sales technique is guaranteed to make your readers run for the hills.
Give something in return
Research has shown that social media users mainly join a brand’s fan page for two reasons:
- They are already existing customers
- They are looking for special offers or cheap deals
In both cases, the moral of the story is to give the customer what he wants. Regular posts on your fan page should include online or in-store promotional offers, current products and services on offer and sneak previews into future launches. To make things extra interesting, you could also come up with some exclusive deals and scoops for only those users who have joined your page. These strategies will surely keep customers coming back for more and may even entice them to recommend your page to their friends.
Interaction is the key word when it comes to social networking. Social media users are the most influential people on the web and if you consistently ask them for their opinions and advise, you are guaranteed to receive an overwhelming response. Post specific questions about your products and services or ask your customers for tips to improve your site or web shop. Polls, trivia quizzes or focus groups are also a great way to make your customers feel valued and increase the ‘fun factor’ of your brand. But always remember that interaction is a two-way street! By continuously replying to the comments and questions of your fan base, you will make customers feel important and gain a great reputation as one of the most user-friendly businesses online.
Social media is an innovative way to improve your customer base and increase your online reputation, providing you keep taking note of your customers’ needs. Even if this means hiring an additional moderator or social media expert to do the job for you, your increased revenue will make up for this initial investment in spades.