Business Sense: Be Social

Feb 22, 2013

Chances are you’ve set up your business with one or two social media accounts, but do you feel confident in navigating this technology-based realm of relationships?

Cie Studios, an interactive marketing agency, specializes in building for our clients campaigns that entertain, inform, and empower. And social media plays an important role in building connections through interaction.

Following are four steps you can put into place toward making the most of your own restyling business’ presence on social media.

1. Have a strategy

Real-time, 24-7 nature of social media can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Figure out who in your organization will be responsible for posting and how much time she or he can contribute. This could be 10 minutes per day or one to two hours a week for smaller outfits; larger companies could employ a full-time staff member. Figure out what realistically fits your needs and plan accordingly.

Next, create a weekly or monthly content calendar. This will help you brainstorm, gather the best materials and diversify your posts. If you feel overwhelmed, try thinking about something you could repeat each week (such as “Turbo Tuesdays” or a weekly “New Product Feature”).

2. Provide compelling content

Your goal with social media is to be a butterfly, not a wallflower. Rather than being a bystander, you should be actively talking and being talked about. In order to accomplish this, you need to think outside the box and create content that grabs people’s attention.

Figuring out what to share might seem daunting as you get started, but just think of all the potential content your business generates: pictures of customer cars; highlighting industry trends; sharing new products; and using your professional knowledge are all perfect places to start. Starting with your strengths should give you an edge in creating content that’s unique.

3. Build a relationship

You’re not dealing with Yellow Pages — social media is interactive! Enter into a conversation and embrace the opportunity to learn more about your customers (and, of course, potential customers).

When posting your content, make a goal of comments, “shares,” or “likes.” These may be generated by compelling content but they can also be encouraged by getting creative. Try asking people’s opinion on a possibly controversial picture (love/hate it), have fun adding a caption on something weird, or solicit feedback on a new product.

Keep an eye out for questions and comments that are aimed at your business. People are turning toward social media outlets more and more as a first-line interface with businesses. The sooner you can respond, the better. A recent study notes that 42% of people contacting a company on social media expect a response within an hour.* This may just be answering a simple question or it could be addressing a complaint. When a negative experience crops up — while you may be tempted to just delete it — remember that, just like in real life, honest and respectful feedback goes a long way in solving issues.

4. Ask for involvement

This is twofold: Ask for involvement both in house and online.
Your employees are great sources of ideas, information and skills. You never know what hidden assets your employees could have if you don’t ask. Photography, marketing, and writing skills are just a few examples of assets that could strengthen your businesses’ social media efforts. Ask your staff to help in providing great pictures or content ideas.

Next, ask for social media involvement during customer interface. Think about the best way to encourage your customers to [Facebook] “like you” or leave a positive wall post or [Twitter] tweet about their experience. Could you have a poster by the front desk advertising your Facebook or Twitter page or asking people to “check in”? Get more creative by experimenting with a small giveaway contest or discount via social channels — such as offering a discount for customers that post a picture of your work and mention you in their online comment — and see how it works for you.

Social media can work for you. Just like any part of growing your business it takes some work — but the payoff can broaden your brand’s awareness and ultimately increase your profits.