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Bike Shop MarketingUncategorized

Social Media Marketing 101: Turning Your Customers Into Your Champions

When thinking about ways to market your business social media might not be the first marketing channel that comes to mind, especially in a world where television commercials and print ads were once seen as the best way to get the word out about your business. But times are rapidly changing, and as those times change more and more our attention is being drawn to different platforms, the main platform being social media.

Not using social media to market your business? You could be missing out…

As of writing this article 3.5 billion people, or 45% of the world’s population, are active social media users, with the average user spending 3 hours a day on social media. While users are mostly going to be interacting with their friends, some of that time they’re also going to be interacting with the brands and companies that they’ve followed and formed a connection with. That includes companies like yours.

From connecting with your customers (and potential customers) to driving traffic to your website, social media can become an incredibly valuable component of your marketing strategy. It helps you listen to and engage with your audience, and can be used to serve laser-focused advertisements to the people most likely to need your services. Better still, there’s always built in tools to track and tweak the impact you’re making.

Be aware of available platforms (and who’s using them)

You should always try and be aware of up and coming social platforms and whether or not they make sense for your business. If possible, try to become an early adopter. 

The social media platforms you use will depend on your business and industry. Though all businesses, no matter the industry, should have at least a Facebook page. And every business owner or leader should be active on Linkedin.

The major platforms you’ll be using are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Snapchat 
For example

A bicycle shop can leverage visual platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat to post pictures and videos of rides you or your employees have gone on, new bikes you have in stock, and your favorite local routes. 

Or, you can use group based channels (like Facebook Groups) to build a community around your riders.

Get creative. The possibilities are truly endless. If you have relationships with your customers offline, there’s a good chance they’ll welcome some connection online

Even businesses in service-based industries like tree cutting and trimming find uses for certain social media platforms. In the same way, your service department could show off their technical know-how with their own content.

For any industry where skill, technical ability, and attention to detail are paramount: social media can be an incredible tool to build trust with prospective customers.  Are you proud of your skills? Social media could be the perfect place to show them off.

That might sound silly, but there is an entire channel on YouTube dedicated to cutting random objects in half just to see what’s inside of them. That channel has millions of views and subscribers. If social media has taught us anything it’s that there is an audience for almost everything.

If you build it (and promote it) they will come.

It’s just a matter of knowing who your audience is and figuring out what kind of content they would be interested in seeing, and which social media channel would be best for delivering that content. But before even thinking about that you need to think about what your goals are for your social media campaign, and put a strategy together.

Before you get started…

Before you can start scheduling posts on your platform of choice you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

If you don’t have much, or any, social media presence at the moment, make your first goal increasing brand awareness to start gaining followers. The bigger and more engaged your audience is the easier it will be to fulfill your marketing goals. 

Don’t forget: this takes time. Encourage your customers to connect with you with your emails, newsletters, and even on your invoices and receipts!

Social media can help with a number of your goals, including:

  • Increasing website traffic
  • Driving leads and sales
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Creating a brand identity and fostering a community around your brand
  • Improving communication and interaction with key audiences

Grow and engage your audience by posting content

So what kind of content should you post? Articles and blogs (your own or from websites you trust), pictures, videos, infographics, how-to guides – anything you think will attract your target audience and work towards achieving the goals you’ve set.

For some, even a short video addressing a common question or problem (shot directly from your smartphone) can work wonders.

What are the most common questions you get?  Start there.  Based on that, think about the best way to distribute that content. Are your customers and potential customers going to be more receptive to reading or viewing it? A great way to answer these questions is to put together a buyer persona – or ‘snapshot’ – of your ideal customer, and then tailor your content to them.

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“So you’ve  posted some content. Now what?”

Putting the content out is just half the battle. If you aren’t taking the time to check on how your posts are performing, then it can be hard to hit the goals you’ve set. You need to be studying results.

Many, if not all, of the social media platforms that you’ll be using offer tracking that will allow you to see how your page is performing and how your individual posts performed. Those analytics pages will show stats like:

  • Reach – The number of unique users who saw your post.
  • Clicks – The number of clicks on your content, business name, or logo.
  • Engagement – The total number of social interactions divided by the number of impressions.
  • Likes – The number of paid and organic likes your paid and organic posts have gotten.

For even newer social media pages with smaller followings, consistently posting comments with a mind for your audience will exponentially increase your reach over time.

Some will get even more granular, giving you information on your followers like what age groups they fall into, percentage of men and women that make up your followers, days and times they’re most active, and so on.

All of this information can and should be taken and used to refine your content and posting strategy. Try to post during the days and times your followers are most active for maximum engagement. If one of your posts has a higher engagement than the others compare that with your other posts, and try to figure out what you did or didn’t do to get such a high engagement. If you want to increase reach, invest a little bit of money into running some social ads to grow your page’s awareness.

When it comes to going with your gut or going with data, go with data. The numbers don’t lie. Your gut could just be gassy.

Follow these basic best practices as you get started with your social media strategy:

  • Post consistently
  • Audit your competitors. Look at what’s working for them on social media and do it better
  • Respond to customer questions and shout-outs ASAP. You’ll gain respect as a brand by being present and talking to your followers
  • Listen socially. Monitor social conversations about your brand and respond to those conversations

Social media isn’t going anywhere. And as the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat em, join em.” Get your business on social media, set your goals, set a strategy, and start posting content.

Ignoring social media is like ignoring your customers. Your customers want to interact with your business, and they will if you give them a chance and a reason to. Not only can this lead to more sales, but social media can forge a bond between consumer and brand that many other traditional and digital platforms cant. It can turn a customer into a champion for your business. 

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