By Andrew Lowcock
A new report this week finds many retail businesses are struggling to engage their customers online, and social networking sites could be one of the tools to drive greater interaction between businesses and customers.
Comparison website Getprice questioned 3000 users of its service and found that while most people will go use a retailer’s website to get information about a product, they only ranked fifth for usefulness, with consumers getting more value from third party websites.
The report also identifies a use for social media in engaging consumers. Only one in five people follow a favourite brand or company online on Facebook or Twitter, despite nearly all web users being the owner of a social networking account of some kind.
Businesses are increasingly using social media to connect with individuals but many are unsure how best to approach it, ranging from internal policy to relevant content.
Below are a collection of links to help you on your way if you’re a small business owner looking to improve or establish their social media presence:
- Policy: Many managers and owners are unsure how to regulate their staff’s usage of social media. This is a typical draft policy some use as a guide for your business which covers transparency, copyright and appropriate use of social networking at the workplace.
- Establishment: If you haven’t established a social media presence (most commonly a Facebook page or Twitter account), make sure you define an objective and formulate a plan to ensure it’s updated regularly and consistently. This page is an example that will take you through the how-to of creating a Facebook page.
- Content: It’s not always easy to come up with appropriate content to send to your followers or fans, so widen your offerings. As well as informing people about your various products and deals, offer expertise and insights, ask questions or even tell a joke! There are plenty of possibilities.
- Promotions: Offer your social fans something that they can’t access elsewhere – you can offer discounts on products or events, or conduct giveaways, to help boost your audience numbers.
- Measure: There is a point to embracing social networking, and this is to broaden your audience and more effectively engage them. You can measure your success in a number of different ways – remember that sheer numbers are not always the truest indicator of success!
Are you a small business owner looking to expand your online or social networking presence? We’d love to hear your experiences. Just drop us a comment!
VECCI is not responsible for the advice in this column. We suggest you seek your own advice before proceeding.