The importance of social media in the online marketing environment of today can hardly be overstated. Facebook alone currently accounts for a full one fourth of the clicks performed by Internet browsers in the United States, and this number is not showing any signs of slowing down.
Considering the sheer volume of traffic which comes through the major social media sites, and the tools and information that are freely available, any business that does not take full advantage of social media is definitely missing out on a potential torrent of new customers.
Below are a few tips to help your business to grow using social media.
1. Use social media for free demographic information.
If you do not try to obtain social media information during your data grabs, you should begin now. If nothing else, social media web sites are a wealth of free information about a customer, from the mouth of the customer himself. This information is exactly why Microsoft offered billions for Facebook, and why businesses pay a premium to be listed right beside friend lists and contacts.
Using this demographic information, you can find out exactly who is buying your products, what they like, and tailor your pitches specifically to them.
2. Use social media for immediate feedback about yourself and your competitors.
Immediate feedback social media sites like Yelp, Twitter, Foursquare, and others are a wealth of information telling businesses exactly what they need to fix in order to keep the business of a customer.
People post on these sites when their opinion is top of mind and red hot, so you are getting the real deal here. Not only can you check for comments on your business, but also those of your competitors. If customers notify the Internet community in general of a weakness of your competition, why not jump all over it with a special promotion designed to exploit that weakness, thereby gaining that business?
3. Social media is great for customer acquisition without hard selling.
The recommendation, Digg, +1, Like, etc. are the easiest ways to get new customers to your business without having to hard sell them. Encourage your customers to visit your profile page on Facebook and recommend you to their friend list inside of your store. Help them out with the recommendation with a QR code that does it for them.
One technique for Facebook that is not used enough is simply to take pictures of yourself with your smiling customers. These pictures are of course, taggable, which means that they will be shared with the friend list of that customer. What better way to tacitly recommend yourself to an entire social circle without a hard sell?
4. Offer promotions online for quicker turnaround.
Twitter is a great place to offer promotions, as customers can access Twitter from mobile phones. If you do not have the ability to offer geographically monitored promotions, this is the next best thing. Mobile users are 90% more likely to visit a store than a laptop customer, so if you get them while they are out, you are much more likely to get a sale out of the effort.