There isn’t a business out there that can’t benefit from maintaining Top of Mind Awareness among its customers. After all, these are the folks you’re depending on to send you referrals. You know, word of mouth advertising?
There has never been a better way to promote TOMA, build customer relationships and foster the almighty referral than with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The key is providing meaningful dialog with your customers on a timely basis. Don’t just treat it like a newspaper ad, have a conversation.
First, remember to be consistent. Today’s social media butterflies get disinterested in a hurry if the last update you posted/tweeted was four or five months ago. A steady stream of brief tidbits outweighs a huge dusty newsletter that no one is going to read anyway.
While it may sometimes seem difficult to regularly create new content suitable for your customers, there are some easy to follow formulas for generating useful information to pass along.
1) Special Offers
Why should anyone register with your Facebook or Twitter page anyway? What’s in it for them? Many users follow businesses to receive special offers like exclusive discounts, special privileges and VIP invitations to special events etc. If they show an interest in your business shouldn’t they be rewarded in some way? Rewarding loyalty is always a good idea to help them remain followers of your business.
2) New Products & Services
If you launch a new product, bring in new inventory items, make changes to existing products and services you should let your followers know. They’re genuinely interested in your business after all. Remember John may know you sell X because he bought X from you, but he can’t tell a friend about your new Y product if he didn’t know you also offered that.
One of my clients installs windows, doors and siding. In a recent conversation he was surprised that a long time customer didn’t know he also installed roofing. How would Bob know? Bob bought windows from my client…and that was 6 years ago! Keep your customers up to date on all you do, and offer, to make sure you’re not leaving referral money on the table.
3) Helpful Advice
You have expert knowledge and years of experience with things your customers (and their circle of influence) may know very little about. When you come across a helpful tip, or interesting article in one of your trades, pass it along. You have a great deal of valuable information at your finger tips you probably take for granted. If you provide your “audience” with this information and expert knowledge on a regular basis, you will get the attention of others, build your reputation, AND your following. Providing something for nothing is always immediately appealing.
Providing helpful information not only gets you noticed and liked but also goes a long way in building trust and respect. Establishing yourself as an authority within your market, can generate a lot of faith among other users in your business.
4) Get ‘em Involved
Remember, you want to create a dialog. Social Media is a conversation. It’s not just about providing information, but also receiving useful feedback from customers. It’s like a giant focus group in real-time, sometimes referred to as “crowd sourcing”. Users like to get involved and feel like they’re contributing to the conversation. Encourage them by asking questions, learn about their opinions and gather relevant and useful facts about your target market using Twitter and Facebook…in real time!
Learning about your customers, what they really want, and actually need can make a significant impact on your future product offerings, price points, packages that would sell etc. because you’re communicating with your target audience.
5) Show your Community Spirit
If there’s an interesting event, fund-raiser or family entertainment activity going on in town, post the who, what, when and where of it. Customers are people just like you, and they have families and outside interests just like you. Don’t go overboard with this, you’re not the town crier, but occasionally mixing in some fun can’t hurt.
If you’re looking to generate more referral business and hold on to more of your current customer base, social media can play a huge role. While relatively new, Facebook and Twitter are fast becoming increasingly powerful business tools, and are also having a big influence on today’s search engines.