One of the keys to a top-notch business reputation is excellent customer service. Social media gives you the perfect set of tools to help you expand your customers’ awareness of what a great company you are to do business with.
Social media can help position you as a business that is responsive and responsible and that cares about its customers, employees and the community. It can mark you as an expert in your field — the business everyone thinks of first when seeking information on the latest trends in your industry. Sound like a lot of work? It can be done with planning and persistence.
Polish your profile
All social media accounts have space for you to talk about your business and when you make it interesting and fun, you can attract new followers.
- Check all your social media accounts to make sure your business profiles are complete
- Be sure to include:
Business name, address, telephone numbers and fax numbers
Photos or logos
E-mail address, Skype name and instant message handles
Web address, Facebook profile link, Twitter handle, YouTube channel link,
Type of business, areas of expertise, industry, size of your company, your name and title
- Write a brief biography of 150 characters or less and save it to a Word file on your desktop. Now you’re ready to copy and paste a basic bio whenever a business profile asks for one.
Check privacy settings
Most business accounts should have the lowest privacy settings possible. Having social media accounts that lock people out are counterproductive because your customers and prospects may not be able to find you and won’t be able to learn more without asking permission. You might have a good reason to want your business accounts to have tight privacy settings, either for competitive reasons or because of the nature of your business. If so, social media may not be the right fit for your business.
Now that you’re ready to present your face to the social media universe, let’s find fans and followers.
- Tap into your existing audience. If you already have personal social media accounts, you already have a base of friends, family and colleagues who may be willing to help you promote your business. Let them know you have business accounts and enlist their help. Ask them to follow your business and commit to reposting or retweeting messages from your business accounts.
- Search Twitter using hashtags (the pound sign plus a word, e.g. #hashtag) to find people who are interested in your product or service, or to find competitors. Follow, listen, and then start conversations.
- Find and follow bloggers in your field. Bloggers can:
Link to your blog or website
Recommend you in their posts
Offer you guest blogging opportunities
- All printed business materials, including menus, receipts, business cards, invoices, fliers and advertising should display the logos of all of your social media accounts and calls to action (find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and connect with us on LinkedIn).
- Have your web designer or account manager add share buttons and social media links and logos to all the pages on your website.
- When customers are paying for purchases, ask them if they follow your business on social media. If not, tell them where to find you.
Build a persona
You’ve worked hard to get your staff on board with the warm, friendly atmosphere you want to present to customers or clients. Your social media personality should be similar. As you post to your social media accounts, use these tips to create an engaging persona that your customers and potential customers will like and trust.
- Active voice vs. passive voice: “We appreciate your business” (active) instead of “Your business is appreciated” (passive)
- Authoritative: You are your business and your business is you. Write posts with an authoritative voice that tells customers you take pride in your business and are committed to great products and services. “We recommend” (authoritative) instead of “you might want to try” (wimpy).
- Address the reader directly: “We appreciate your business” (direct) instead of “ABC Business appreciates its customers” (indirect)
- Get to the point: “Thanks for stopping by our booth last weekend!” (lean, focused on the customer) instead of “Many thanks to all the people who stopped by our booth and tried out all the wonderful widgets we sell!” (too long and not focused on customers)
- Warm and friendly: “Thank you for making Saturday one of our best days ever” (warm) instead of “We sold 500 widgets at the fair on Saturday” (cool)
- Praise: “That was a great idea, @mrwidget!” (praise) instead of “@mrwidget has an idea for new widgets” (non-committal)
- Be transparent: “Sorry we ran out of roasted-to-a-cinder coffee last night, but we’ll have more at 11 a.m. today” (specific, transparent, sets it right) instead of “due to technical issues, we ran out of roasted-to-a-cinder coffee” (vague, as clear as mud, doesn’t tell customers what to expect)
- Avoid the personal stuff: Save “be yourself” for your personal accounts. Your business account should be neutral on controversial topics unless your business is directly related to them. In general, you’ll harm your reputation and chase away customers if you:
Use foul language, insult, criticize, gossip or lose your temper
Post about your religious and political beliefs
Post about your love life, bodily functions and illnesses
There is a fine line between fun and flippant. If you’re experimenting with fun, casual text, have someone you trust review it and give you an opinion about whether it works in the context of your business.
Understand that building a reputation using social media can take time. You’ll see social media consultants claiming that they can get you 1,000 followers in a day, but that probably would occur through questionable means and the followers they collect are unlikely to stick. Choose a proper long term method by providing followers with useful, timely and relevant messages that they are likely to share. Your fan base – and customers — will grow.