How to Make Social Media Work for Your Business

We can, no doubt, all agree that technology is an important tool, and through it, one is able to capture the attention of their target audience.

According to Internet World Stats, as of June 30th, 2016 the penetration rate of internet access in the Caribbean is 43.7% and 66.5% in St. Lucia. Moreover, Facebook alone has a user base of 10,972,840 in the Caribbean. More specifically, a large 88,000 of St. Lucia’s population actively uses Facebook. For an entrepreneur seeking to break through the digital world with their business, this is both a promising prospect and a challenge.

It is prudent for small businesses to have an extraordinary display, distinguished presence and unlimited but carefully crafted promotion on social media.

Hansen (2014) recommends nine ways to engage customers on social media:

Use Social Media Buttons: This popular yet subtle addition to your business website allows visitors to share good content with their friends, simultaneously encouraging them to check out the business’ social media sites.

Craft Unique Content: A business will not stand out within the already crowded social media field if its content is of the cookie-cutter variety. Stories (or copy, as it is formally known) should be presented from different angles; show a different side of the business or combine different ideas into a one-of-a- kind presentation. In essence, unique content is what gets a business noticed.

Headlines Matter:

The headline is the eye-catcher of almost every social media post. Needless to say, this means only the most carefully curated posts will gain attention. A catchy headline will attract people’s attention and lead to many more clicks/likes/followers. Make it boring and forgettable and people will quickly scroll past it without a second glance.

Know your Platform:

Businesses do not have to be limited to only one platform on social media. They must simply pick the prime social network to reach their desired audience. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram each come with distinct advantages and a certain type of audience. Businesses should be well versed in what those advantages are so that they will be able to create more engaging content for their customers.

Be Visual:

One of the best ways to engage customers on social media is through visual content. It can be through a meme-inspired picture, a funny YouTube video, an educational infographic, or an enlightening Slideshare presentation. Businesses should display something that can capture a person’s attention at first glance.     As with prior pointers, visuals (graphics) should be carefully chosen so as not to deter people from following your page.

Tips & Advice:

People like to search for help on a wide range of subjects. That’s what makes content involving tips and advice so effective. If customers know they will get helpful advice from a business’ social media sites, they will visit more often.

Run Some Contests:

Few things attract a crowd like a contest does. Running sweepstakes, promotions and giveaways is a sure-fire way to bring in some more traffic to a business’ social media site. The contests do not have to be elaborate either. Some may only require people to “like” a certain post. Others may ask for photos or answers to trivia questions. If the contest is fun, has a worthwhile reward and is (preferably) simple, it will likely be shared as well.

Respond to Comments:

Customers need to feel a connection between themselves and the business. If customers are commenting on a business’ posts, the business should respond to them. If responses are quick and timely, that will help customers know they’re not contacting a blank wall. It can also encourage future comments from others.

Ask Questions:

Asking questions is a more direct way to get people’s opinions on a business or any variety of topics. The business might even take a vote to find out how people feel about a subject. These strategies can help businesses figure out what motivates their customers and could lead to some future business ideas.

All of these tactics are great ways to engage customers on social media and in return, grow your business. The most effective strategy is to combine all of them for maximum impact. By fostering a sense of community among customers, they are more likely to stick with your business over the competition.

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