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6 Ways to Drive Your Social Media Fans to Your Offline Business

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6 Ways to Drive Your Social Media Fans to Your Offline Business

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: April 26, 2012 Updated: April 30, 2012

So, you’ve set up a Facebook page and perhaps you are blogging too, but how do you use your online social media presence to actually get customers to frequent your business?

Social media engagement is based on a customer’s interest in what you have to offer, and more often than not, your followers will be people who have done business with you in the past. But what can you do to generate repeat customers or even new customers? A lot depends on the trusted “call to action.” Here’s how to make it work for you:

1. Make Promotions Available Exclusively via Your Social Media Sites

Big retailers offer coupon codes and offers exclusively to their Facebook fans all the time.  Have you tried it? Even if you don’t have a website that can capture and apply these promotions, you could post a promotional code or offer on Facebook, Yelp, Google Places or Twitter (“15 percent off for our online fans”).  Encourage your followers to print the coupon and use it at your business (don’t forget to limit the offer to a value and timeframe).

Use social media monitoring tools to track engagement and a simple spreadsheet to record the promotion’s popularity.

These kinds of incentives drive traffic offline and are a great way to build your community and give people an incentive to follow you. Some businesses have fans stampeding Facebook waiting excitedly for the latest promotion to be posted so they can share it with friends.

Tip: Use the 7-day pin or “Favorite” feature on Facebook to make your offer more prominent.

 2. Use the New Facebook App Toolbar to Display Your Call to Action

The new Facebook fan page format makes it trickier for small businesses to promote calls to action – you can’t include them in your cover photo and the old tabs feature is gone.  Instead, get to know the app toolbar (just below your cover photo) and use it to display your call to action.  A call to action can include things like sign up buttons for your email newsletter, a link to your online store and special offers or events. Here are some examples of how some businesses use it:

Tip: Facebook lists different page apps here that you can customize and add to your page.

You could also use Facebook ads to promote your call to action. Facebook ads can be targeted to a finite level to reach local customers based on their interests, gender, occupation,  and education level.

3. Combine Great Content with Compelling Offers

A call to action is one thing, but when you combine it with a great story or engaging content, it can help drive new traffic to your business. Fuego Mundo, a Georgia-based restaurant (featured for its online marketing innovation in this Google/SBA video) uses its Facebook fan page to do this.  For instance, they invite fans to have a say in new menu items. Recently, it came to choosing a new range of soup dishes, the restaurant promoted a weekend of free soup tastings to its Facebook fans, asking them for help picking the dishes. Pictures and videos of the tasting event and the winning soups were uploaded to Facebook to help promote the new menu.

4. Keep the Online / Offline Relationship Going

It’s important to keep your online relationship with customers alive, whether they’ve bought from you or not. Aside from your regular social media activity, consider these tactics:

  • Use Tablet PCs to Drive Deeper Engagement with your Customers Onsite - Use iPads or tablet PCs at your business location so that existing customers can interact in deeper ways. Let them connect with you on Twitter, sign up for your emails, or explore your products and services.  Some restaurants and stores have iPads built in to countertops and tables so that customers can learn more about the business at their own pace. This really increases your cool factor, too!
  • Have an In-Store Raffle or Drawing – Offer a monthly raffle to customers who sign up for your e-newsletter or email updates. This keeps the online relationship active, and increases potential for capturing future customers.

5. Integrate Your Social Media and Email Campaigns

Social media communities are valuable, but the speed and volume of information can make it hard to reach your target audience with your key messages. So it’s important to take steps to drive social media followers to sign up for your emails. Use page apps (see above), post updates about your email content, and encourage fans not to miss out on your latest updates. 

6. Don’t Forget to Publish Your Contact Information

You’d be surprised, but many businesses omit their phone numbers from their blog page or Twitter/Facebook accounts. Don’t. It’s still a critical tool for small businesses. Make it easy for your customers to reach you.

There are countless ways to use social media and online channels to drive folks to your business, and grow the relationship from there. What’s worked for your business?

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About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Good article. I would like to add that since the use of android platform phone is gaining popularity, offline business owners also should consider making apps which supports android platform!
Social networking for our lives is extremely important, in an era of information technology developed a remarkable way, social networks like Facebook ... not only affects life but also affect our business. Thank you for sharing
This is a great article! I've found that integrating social media into my other marketing efforts helps to continue the online conversation offline. Also, offering special incentives for social media and providing engaging content have both helped increase my response rate through social media.
this article is so true and interesting.
Thank you for the article. We will implement this practise. We have just moved into the social media area and are hoping that will increase our popularity. We have found some sort of success with offers as you mentioned.
Superb, everything you say is so true and very interesting.
Awesome. I will be following this series closely. Very interested in this!
Excellent tips. Social media can be used in various way to encourage your business and clients as well.Social media will play and is playing a crucial role in public relations and will be a key ingredient to the success of the campaign.
These are some great tips. Because converting website visitors into customers has to be a key goal for any business. The growth of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ have made this job a little bit easier. Small businesses are getting huge benefits from these social media sites in terms of promoting their services. Your advice will be very useful in making social networks business platforms for small businesses. Thanks a ton for sharing this.
Great article again Carol, I've been following your blogs and they're by far the most relevant to small business marketing these days. Our social media marketing is the area I struggle with the most. I have to force myself to even just log-in to our sites, much less make posts or try to market to. Not because I don't believe they're important, I definitely do, but because they ARE social. I'm afraid that if I don't respond to people's comments, then they're going to feel ignored and ultimately quit following us. For a business to have a presence in this venue, you have to have an account on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, Pinterest, Linkedin... I could go on & on. If we just had one site, that would be easy to keep up with, but with the numerous social sites, it's almost impossible to do and still keep a handle on my business. So, my question is; How do you feel about a pay service, I've heard of companies that will maintain them for you, and I've also heard bad things about them, any advice?

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