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How Should I Use Social Media?

According to Merriam Webster, the definition of Social Media is: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and micro blogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).  Some of the earliest forms of social media were not digital.  One could say that paintings on caves to communicate to each other were a type of social media.  But for today’s purposes, we will go with the more modern definition.

When people talk about Social Media, they are usually talking about different websites or applications that are commonly used on phones to communicate with one another.  Some of the more popular Social Media tools are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.  There are many more applications being created that are gaining popularity and may replace some of the ones that we use today; only time will tell.

Because each Social Media application has a lot to offer and would take a whole article to properly explain how to best use it, we will not be covering any one in detail. Instead, for now, we will be looking at how best to use Social Media as a whole.  To learn more about each one of the Social Media channels, please continue to follow our blogs, subscribe to our podcasts, and subscribe to our newsletter at StartupBusinessAssistant.com

Now that we know the definition of Social Media, lets talk about how we should use it.  Simon Mainwaring, who is an award-winning branding consultant, said, “Social Media is not about the exploitation of technology but the service to community.”

It is very common to find companies sign up and make companies profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with the wrong mindset.  They use Social Media only as another platform to advertise their products and services.  This is probably one of the quickest ways to have people ignore you and your company.  There is nothing wrong with wanting people to know about your company and all the great things it can provide for its end user, however, you want to make sure you share that great information in the right way.

A basic principle of marketing is to understand that people like to buy, not to be sold.  When you are using social media to advertise your company all the time, the end user will start to feel as if you are trying to sell them all the time, and will eventually stop listening to you.  If you want to use Social Media for your company, be sure to follow the following steps:

You must understand your customer before you can offer something they may need.  Remember, “People like to buy, not to be sold”.  A great way to get a potential customer to buy something from you is to tailor the products to their wants and needs.  So before you put your first advertisement on any Social Media channel, get to know your customers.  You may want to join some community’s online, talk to some people on Twitter or Facebook who have the same interest as you, and connect with some people in your field on LinkedIn and Google+.   The more you know about your potential customer and what they are looking for, the easier it will be for you to provide them the product they want.

1. Connect With Your Customer BaseYou must understand your customer before you can offer something they may need.  Remember, “People like to buy, not to be sold”.  A great way to get a potential customer to buy something from you is to tailor the products to their wants and needs.  So before you put your first advertisement on any Social Media channel, get to know your customers.  You may want to join some community’s online, talk to some people on Twitter or Facebook who have the same interest as you, and connect with some people in your field on LinkedIn and Google+.   The more you know about your potential customer and what they are looking for, the easier it will be for you to provide them the product they want.

2. Offer Advices, Not You’re Product.

As you get to know your customer on Social Media channels, you will start to understand the questions they may have around their needs.  This is a perfect time to offer some advice to help them with a solution to their problems.  It is extremely vital that you do not push your product down the throat of the potential customer.  This step is about gaining trust and credibility. The person you are connecting with is being vulnerable with you right now and is letting you know that they have a problem.  You may be thinking, ‘I have the solution, if you buy my product for only $19.99 it would solve all your problems and we could end this conversation now”.  Don’t do it!  Do not try to sell your product to the customer.

Based on your expertise, give the person, or people, some suggestions on how they could solve their problem.   At this point in the process it is ok to end your advise with your company signature, like you would at the end of a letter or signature.  Doing this will let the personal know that you own a company that specializes in the field and give you and your advice more credibility.  It is very likely that the people, with whom you are speaking, will look you up and then may buy your products.  As you get to know your potential customers and their needs, you will start to build a captured audience.

3. Follow-up

The follow-up is a lost art in today’s service industry.  People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.  So to make sure your capture audience knows you truly care about them, be sure to follow-up with them.  Re-tweet them, ask them on Facebook, or reconnect with them using whatever Social Media channel they prefer to ask them “how did my advice work out for you”.  They will usually be pleasantly surprised that you cared enough to ask, they may give you great feedback that will help you tailor your product to them and, in the future, may become your biggest raving fan because you cared.

4. Give Them A Way To Reach You

Now that they know you care, give them your companies or your contact information.  You may want to say something like, “I’m glad I could help, if you have more questions, please feel free to reach me at AskJohn@StartupBusinessAssistant.com or on my companies website at: www.StartupBusinessAssistant.com.”  This will not only allow them to know that you will be there for them in the future, but also provide them another opportunity to buy from you directly after helping them.  People like to help those to help them.  It is within our human nature to want to return a favor. If I am in need of a product, I will usually go with the person that is the most helpful to me and makes me believe they care about me over a product that has the lowest price any day. 

5. Ask The Customer To Take Action

Now that you have gained the customers attention, have helped them with their problem, and provided them with resources, it is ok to ask them to do something for you.  This could be as simple as signing up for your newsletter, if they bought a product from you, asking them for a testimonial, or to give you feed back on your product or service so you can make it better.

These are the five steps you should follow when using Social Media.  You may be saying to yourself, “I do not have time to do all of these steps, I have to sell products”.  Remember that selling a product to a customer is an art.  Nothing happens in this world until something is sold.  However, in the beginning I told you that people like to buy, not be sold.  There within lays the dilemma that confusing small business owners in trying to get their customers to buy.  The secret to using Social Media to sell your products is not to sell at all.  Rather use Social Media to provide service to your potential customer.  If you provide valuable information and options to your potential customer, they will buy from you.

Last Tips

a)    You can us a Social Media Manager like Hootsuite to make it easier to manage several Social media channels at once.

b)   Don’t start any Social Media you do not plan to maintain.

c)    Set a schedule and block out time to manage your Social Media Marketing

I hope this was helpful to you.  If it was, please give me some feedback.

In the future I will be covering the different kinds of Social Media in greater detail, however if there are other topics you would like to know about, please let me know.  StartupBusinessAssistant.com was created to help you be successful so your feedback is greatly appreciated.  On that note, if you like what we are doing here and like are podcast and notes we would greatly appreciate your comments and positive rating on our podcast iTunes.

Until next week, I wish you the best look forward to hearing about all your wonderful successes.

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