Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media have become part of every aspect of life. What does that mean for small business owners? Collectively, these and other online platforms present great marketing opportunities for every kind of business.
Start by Thinking Social
There is a reason that these platforms are called social media, rather than “selling media” or even “marketing media.” People connect on social media because they want to connect with other people. They want to be social!
Studies have shown that people on social media are open to connecting with businesses and brands. However, they still want the connection to be relationship based. This means more than just pitch and sell–it means creating ongoing conversation.
The Social Brand
Businesses that are successful on social media put relationships at the forefront. They invite and engage in two-way conversations with the people who connect with them.
What do social brands look like?
- They make posts (text, video, images, etc.) that have a friendly human tone.
- They ask questions and invite feedback, and reply when they get it.
- They share their secrets, like ideas under development, or news that isn’t quite final, so we all feel like part of the team.
- They post about things that they know their followers care about, even if it is not directly related to what they have to sell.
- They react to the things that other people post, because that’s what friends do.
Social brands are just like the people whom we choose to spend time with. They show us that they care about us. They make us laugh. They add things to our lives that make a difference.
What’s the ROI?
So, what’s the return on investment here? It’s the same ROI offered by every client or customer who comes back to do business with you again or who tells their friends about you. As a tool for building relationships, the ROI of social media is found in the long-term benefits of those relationships.
In the same vein, social media success is not about the size of your fan base on Facebook and elsewhere. Success is found in connecting with the people who are your customers and potential customers so you can nurture relationships with them. When you connect with the right people and have an ongoing give and take that benefits both the person and the business, you have found the ultimate success as a business on social media.