What is your social media strategy? You don’t have one?!

Have you ever said, “Man, if I could only get some good attention or publicity, I could definitely sell my product?”

If you have, you’re not alone. Truth be told, the hardest part about selling can be earning the attention of that prospective customer. Attention may not lead to instant conversion, but establishing an initial relationship is what might get them into your store, entice them to check out your website, or even earn you their email address or other contact information.

That’s where social media proves invaluable these days. There is no easier, cheaper way to earn some publicity for your business.

Follow these Cardinal Rules on Social Media

As you take off on your social media endeavor, make sure your efforts are worthwhile. What starts as a brilliant strategy may soon become a social flop if you don’t follow some cardinal rules:

A Social Media Strategy Should Employ Patience

We get it; social media is exciting – especially if you’re establishing your business’s first Twitter account or Facebook page.

What you don’t want to do is become the social media equivalent of a clingy first date. That’s right, talking about wedding plans and baby names before you’ve ordered dessert is not socially accepted.

When you initially launch your social media strategy, make sure that building relationships is at the forefront of your motivations. Don’t start by giving them the hard sell as soon as they’ve “liked” your page.

Be Giving with Your Social Media

Your mom was right – he that gives also receives.

The concept of giving is especially true when we’re talking about social media marketing.

Social media gives you the perfect venue to engage your customers and potential customers so give them relevant content that helps them out!

Sharing relevant content can help them think of you as their first resource when it comes to getting information about your industry.

Remember when you defined your audience (along with their pain points) during your social media planning phase? Now is the time to use that research to develop the kinds of content (whitepapers, articles, links to trending news, etc.) from which your customers can really benefit.

Treat Your Social Media Audience Like the Humans They Are

People are People So Why Should it Be?

Your social media efforts may put you in front of hundreds of contacts immediately, but remember to still be personal when communicating with a potential customer.

For example, if you’re building a network on LinkedIn, you’d be much more successful using a personalized introduction and value proposition than by sending a quick “Let’s link up!” message.

Your customers may have similar interests, concerns, and backgrounds, but they are still individuals and will respond more positively when they are treated as one.

Thoughtful, personal responses to their posts, tweets, and messages will help you establish a relationship that can go beyond a device – it may even help you develop a life-long customer!

Be Nice on Social Media!

Do we even have to say it? Yes, we do. Be nice on social media.

Too often, businesses are fearful of social media because they know it could open their business up to negativity.

You may get a post or a message from a disgruntled customer for all to see. Well, don’t worry about that. Unsatisfied customers happen regardless of whether you have a social media strategy or not.

The key is to be pleasant and positive whenever possible – that means not exacerbating a negative comment by responding negatively.

In fact, this is your chance to convert an unsatisfied customer into a happy one. That also gives you the opportunity to show other customers and potential customers just how important it is to your business to provide the best service possible.

One of my favorite responses to a one-star review on Yelp was on a friend’s page:

Yelp Review - Positive Response to Negative Feedback
I really enjoyed meeting with name and her husband. Great People. I wish I could have done a better job for them.

After posting this response, he immediately followed up with the customer via phone to clarify the issues that had come up. And in a great turn of events, the customer came back and left a glowing 5-star review!

Unless you work for Dick’s Last Resort, being nice should be part of your social media strategy!

A Little Personality Goes a Long Way on Social Media

Don’t be boring.

Sure; sounds easy enough, right?

Far too often, businesses are so worried about political correctness or possible offenses that they water down their messages to – well – boring.

Now we’re not telling you to go out and offend people, but be sure that your posts and content let your personality shine through.

Maybe even share articles from time-to-time that might be a tad on the controversial side (believe us, it’ll get your folks talking).

Remember, when YOU show personality, your customers and potential customers are much more likely to remember your brand – and show you their personality too!

Integrate Your Social Media Strategy into All Facets of Business

Sure, having a conversation on your Facebook page is great – especially if it’s giving other page members a good view of your business.

But when you’re trying to convert a potential customer, you need to know when to take the conversation off social media.

For instance, if you’re looking to make an appointment, write a quote, or respond more thoroughly to a complaint, kindly offer to take the conversation on the phone or via email.

The upside to this is that you’re developing a stronger and more personal connection with that customer – which can only mean good things for you!

Remember, even though your end goal might be to sell your product, your social media should be about building relationships – so get talking – and the sales will come.