Putting the "Social" into Social Media Marketing: 3 Tips for Interacting with your Customers
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: July 27, 2010, 7:24 am
- Updated: May 18, 2012, 5:30 pm
We've all heard about the benefits of social media marketing as a tool for engaging with customers, building your brand, and increasing your business reach. But just how is it done?
So many brands (big and small alike) make the mistake of using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook for simply pushing messages out but not listening to or joining in the conversations that are going on. In other words, they ignore the fundamental point of social media- being SOCIAL!
But just how do you get social? Saying yo-re on Twitter or Facebook is not enough, because while i's free and easy to build a social media presence, when it comes to growing it and seeing ROI' social media marketing is easier said than done.
Which is why SBA and Google partnered earlier this year to create a series of video'short' that educate local businesses about how to succeed online entitled 'Tools for Online Success.
The video line-up is a revealing show-and-tell that peels back some of the mystery that surrounds online marketing and social media, in particular. Which brings me to one of the featured small businesses, a hot property in healthy dining and social media marketing' Fuego Mundo*.
This one-of-a-kind Atlanta-based restaurant specializes in combining the flavors and dishes of South America in an authentic and healthy way. Since opening its doors in 2008, owner Masha Hleap-Herskovitch credits a great deal of her business success to social media marketing' which is why Fuego Mundo is the subject of Video #4 in the Google / SBA video series - Interact with Your Community Using Free Marketing.
Just over three minutes long, the video gives unique insight into just how small businesses can use social media on a tactical level to engage with customers, market their business and grow foot-traffic. Here's a summary of some of the hands-on tactics that Fuego Mundo employed.
Determine Where Your Customers are Online and How you Can Reach Them
When considering social media as part of your overall marketing strategy, always start with asking the most basic question: 'What is it you want to achieve?' Where is your audience and will they respond?
Make sure your target audience is on Twitter, Facebook or whatever social network you are eyeing, or you may spend a lot of time on a channel that won't reach your target.
You can do this in several ways. Survey your customers. Assess what your competition is doing. Get involved with social networks on a personal level by digging into communities and Facebook fan pages, trending Twitter topics, and trying to build a picture what your target market is doing and sharing on social networks.
And don't forget that while these tools are free, your investment in them isn't. It takes staff time and resources to use social media successfully.
Use Twitter to Engage and Entice
Fuego Mundo approached social media on several fronts starting with Twitter. Take one look at the restaurant's Twitter feed*, and you'll notice that they make Tweeting a rich and interactive experience.
In addition to regular Tweets about restaurant news, offers and events, Fuego Mundo actively tracks mentions of its brand on Twitter (this can easily be done in a Twitter client or application such as Hootsuite) and engages with followers by doing simple things such as responding to mentions; addressing customer questions about their menu and ingredients; thanking customers for their patronage; and so on.
Fuego Mundo also pioneers the use of TweetUps to drive new business.
What's a TweetUp? Owner, Masha Hleap-Herskovitch explains in the video short, TweetUp is another way of saying meet-up and it's for people that use Twitter and want to meet face-on and network. A TweetUp is also a great way of marketing your business, generating a buzz and attracting new clients by bringing an online community offline for a special event.
Hosting a TweetUp requires planning, and an established social network, as Masha explains when writing about a recent TweetUp on the Fuego Mundo blog*:
... social media has been an integral part of our marketing outreach. To be honest, ... TweetUp was also an experiment to see if we could build a crowd utilizing the tools. The verdict? What a success! Although the event was promoted over a short time, it took us months of building a community, and making friends.
Use Facebook to its Fullest Effect
Fuego Mundo uses its Facebook fan page to interact with its consumers in creative ways - often combining compelling offers with great online content.
One example of how they do this is to invite fans to have a say in new menu items. For example, when it came to choosing a new range of soup dishes Masha enlisted the help of the restaurant's Facebook fans by promoting a weekend of free soup tastings to help them decide what should go on the menu. Pictures and videos of the tasting event and the winning soups were then uploaded to Facebook to help promote the new dishes!
Making Social Media an Essential Part of your Marketing ToolKit
If we had to stop all social media it would probably be a disaster, because that's where the future is, explains Masha Hleap-Herskovitch.
Watch small business owner, Masha Hleap-Herskovitch explain the successful elements of the Fuego Mundo social media story, plus seven other online marketing business success stories that make up the SBA / Google Tools for Online Success series.
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General small business tips and tricks.