Laptops, tablets, smartphones, iPods, gaming consoles, TVs, and wearable tech— all of these devices come with the ability to connect to the internet. In fact, over half of all United States residents have an online presence or go online regularly. Many of these users glean a substantial portion of their news and information from online sources, including social media channels. According to a 2015 survey, Facebook influenced 52% of the purchases that consumers made, whether online or offline. A social media presence is vital to the future of your business. If you haven’t already developed a social media strategy, the New Year is an ideal time to set up some goals.
Find Out What Millennials Want
According to MarketingSherpa, 95% of the people who follow your brand or business online will be millennials— adults between the ages of 18 and 34. This demographic varies somewhat depending on your target market, but for many businesses, those figures hold true. If you’re not a millennial yourself, find some assistants or consultants in that age group to help you determine what those consumers are looking for when they go online. What messages speak to them? What would make them stop scrolling and click on your post or Tweet? This year, do some extensive research online and with a local focus group to find out if your business is communicating effectively with consumers under 35.
Include More Visual Content
Visual content— including videos, memes, charts, and photos— is much more likely to be passed on and shared than plain text. The words are important, of course; but you need to boost their “share-ability” with pleasing images, helpful diagrams, humorous memes, or videos of new products and services. The more interesting visual content you include during the New Year, the more likely your followers will share it with others. If your budget is limited and you don’t have an in-house person to handle video and visual content creation, outsource the projects. You can also share visual content from other sources on your page occasionally, but you’ll need to intersperse it with original content of your own in order to keep your audience’s interest and keep your brand connection strong.
Keep It Friendly
Did you know that 71% of users who have a good social media connection with your business will probably recommend it to someone else? That’s why it is so important to keep the messages positive when you’re handling social media communication. Even if someone attacks you through Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or another channel, keep the tone of your response kind and caring. In many cases, it’s best to take the discussion off the social media channel and connect with the disgruntled individual via a more private communication method, like email, private message, or a phone call. Never attack the user or post a defensive reply. Instead, leave a positive, conciliatory message in reply and offer to contact the customer in person to resolve the issue. If a thread is getting out of hand and causing negativity on your blog or page, have your social media administrator remove the entire discussion.
Watch the Discussions
According to BrandWatch, about 96% of users who talk about a brand online don’t have those conversations through the brand’s channels. In other words, most of the discussion isn’t going to occur on your business’s Facebook page or blog comment space. If you aren’t plugged in to the latest social media trends, you’ll need to hire a social media-savvy millennial or two to serve as your business’s watchdogs, prowling cyberspace to find out what people are saying about your product, service, or brand. That information can be extremely valuable as you seek to take control of the tone and messaging related to your business.
During the New Year, expand your small business’s reach by adding new social media channels. Hire additional people to write and develop content, or discover video-capturing and writing talents in the employees you already have. As a team, you and your employees can capture the attention of more people who need the products and services you provide.