Sure, there are no defined “rules” for using social media for your business (other than specific sites’ terms of service), but there are definitely good and not-so-good practices.

The difference? Good practices will entice your readers into following you, learning more, developing a relationship, and eventually, hopefully, buying. Bad practices will do the exact opposite.

Best social media practices for hooking a customer (not scaring one away)

When you start on social media, one of your goals is to grow your business – increase sales. However, it’s not as straightforward as tweeting or blogging your sales pitch. Here are my dos and don’ts for making the most of your social media strategy.

DO:

  • Share relevant information to educate your audience. Give value. Create a need for your product. But do it by sharing information, not selling.
    • For instance, if you’re a pest control service, talk about the damage termites do to a house or how many new mosquitoes hatch after each rainfall. That will motivate action – without the sales pitch needed.
  • Offer valuable information that will make your audience look to you as an authority on the topic – so when they’re ready to buy, they’ll think of you.
  • Find relevant content that others have written, and share generously (just don’t call it your own). Social media is actually most effective when you're not always sharing something you’ve written. Sure, share your blogs and articles. But also find industry sources on the topic and share their stuff too.
  • Respond if someone communicates with you, comments on a post or mentions your brand. This is a great way to build relationships and foster conversation with your clients and prospects. Even a simple “thanks for reading” goes a long way.
  • Ask questions, solicit feedback, take polls or try other creative methods of stirring up conversation. Social media should not be you talking at people – it should be a dialogue.
  • Interact with your followers as well. Comment, like and share things you find interesting. People will appreciate the effort and often will reciprocate.
  • Incorporate other forms of media to your social strategy, such as images, video and podcasts. People are engaged by visual and audio, and these may be some of your most popular posts.
  • Be relatable, friendly, conversational and human. No need to sound uptight or robotic.

 

DON'T:

  • Be too sales-y. I touched on this earlier but it’s important. Your social network is not a channel for you to promote yourself and your company ad nauseam – social sales pitches are a huge turn-off, and the best way to lose followers.
  • Delete a negative comment or post. It may seem like the best option, but actually can have even worse consequences if that poster goes public with their original frustration PLUS the fact you deleted their comments. Instead, address it publicly and also reach out privately if necessary. Then you can do your best to address the problem, and show the rest of your followers an example of your great customer service.
  • Get too personal. As I said before, be relatable and show personality, but there is a line of professionalism. No sharing your latest marital argument or complaints about politics.

Overwhelmed by this list? Start with this list of 42 social media post ideas you can use over and over again.

© 2015 Alicia Olsen

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