Did you know that your potential customer will put their trust in complete strangers’ opinions when deciding to buy your product or service? While your advertising will make customers aware of your business, social media recommendations and online reviews are often the deciding factor in whether or not your customer will convert. This is because today’s savvy consumer doesn’t always want to be advertised to, they want to be engaged. They want to have meaningful conversations with and about your brand to get as much information as possible before making a buying decision. We all know word of mouth is effective, but in today’s world of Yelp and YouTube, consumers are sharing and searching for product information with a lot more people than just immediate friends and family.
Many small companies avoid social media because they are afraid to see what people will say about them. They fear that a bad review and negative feedback from customers will ruin their business. They think that turning off reviews means they can stop any negativity. The fact is, whether you use social media for your business or not, your customers are still talking about you online. Users are motivated to create content about brands and post it on their own channels.
Social media users are forming online social circles made up of people with common interests, and they trust the other people in these peer groups regardless of whether or not they’ve actually met. Users in these peer groups are asking about and volunteering information about products, and their peers are more than willing to pay attention. Members of the groups can use the platform to ask or share about everything from where to get their car fixed, to what to feed their dog, to obtaining a local real estate agent. Many of these posts will get hundreds of comments with recommendations. If a typical Facebook user has had an experience they want to share, not only will their post on their personal page to reach their 200-500 friends, but they will also post on these peer group pages reaching thousands of members.
So how can you fit social media and user engagement into your marketing strategy for 2018? Consumers want a relationship with the companies they frequent. Think of your brand as a person on social media rather than a business, and engage with your followers. In your Facebook posts, talk to your customers. Show them what goes on behind the scenes that they wouldn’t normally see. Ask them what they thought of your event, sale, or new product, and respond. Make them feel like your business is a part of their community, not just a company. You can’t stop people from talking about you in their social circles, so become a part of one in your community.
– written by Pamela Fasolo. For help with a social media strategy and management, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.