How small businesses can use social media to increase sales
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Consumer shopping behavior has evolved rapidly. Shopping online on mobile devices is the new norm and is preferred to physically visiting a retail store. Capitalizing on this trend, most social platforms have — or are in the process of incorporating — a "buy button" and more features that favor e-tailers.
What this means is that now small businesses can also leverage these social platforms to drive revenue, thus leveling the playing field — at least to a certain extent — with bigger businesses and their bigger marketing budgets.
The basis of driving sales via social media is to reach out to as many potential customers as possible. All the techniques listed below have an underlying objective of increasing your reach.
So here are some ways for small businesses to use social media to drive sales and increase revenue:
Quality & varying content
- Create original content — blogs, photos, videos, etc. — as much and as frequently as possible
- Curate quality content
- Use the 80/20 rule: Your content should be 80 percent information, 20 percent promotion; at the start it can even be 95/5
Try not to delegate
No matter how busy you are, you should make time to manage your company's social media presence on a daily basis. You can have your employees support you by promoting/pushing the content, but no one knows more about your business than you.
Prioritize customer service
For many consumers, a company Facebook page or Twitter handle is their preferred medium to ask or complain, and the last thing you want is for unhappy customers to share negative experiences with other followers. You should be responding to all queries and complaints as soon as possible. If it gets difficult, you can always invest in social media monitoring tools.
Use and create hashtags
There are various examples of how e-tailers have used the concept of a custom hashtag to sell directly via social media. For example, Amazon had elevated the social commerce experience with #AmazonCart, which allowed Twitter users to add products from tweets with a link directly to their Amazon shopping cart so they could purchase the item later.
Domino's will now even let Twitter users order a pizza just by sending them a pizza emoji. Customers simply set an "Easy Order" on their profile, and Domino's will deliver that order when it receives the pizza emoji.
Custom hashtags can also be used to leverage your content and create a community of people who are interested in your content.
Social and mobile go hand-in-hand
Businesses today, irrespective of their size, cannot ignore the fact that more and more people browse social media through their mobile phones. As of June 30, Facebook had 1.31 billion Mobile MAUs (monthly active users on mobile), an increase of 23 percent year-over-year.
Sell directly via social
Optimize your online reach even further by adding a shopping cart directly onto your Facebook page, so your customers are able to shop and purchase without leaving Facebook. You can also add a store to your WordPress blog or any other online site where you promote products. These tools tend to be mobile-responsive and adapt to any device, so you can ensure a seamless shopping experience for customers.
While your small business may not have the sizable budget larger businesses do, these moves will provide the seamless purchasing experience consumers are looking for, and you will have the opportunity to reach a broader range of consumers who just may become your most loyal customers.
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