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How to get Social Media to work for your business.

My old man told me 15 years ago “Son, this internet thing is never going to fly”. 15 years on, and he had everything an internet grandpa needs - an ipad, a couple of iMacs, and now he wants to get an iPhone. How things have changed.

Strangely however, many people in business are taking the same approach when it comes to social media and social marketing. Some of the musings I have heard include “Social media? That won’t work for my business” and my all time favourite “Social media? I don’t want my staff on facebook all day – they will get no real work done”.

However social media is changing the way businesses interact and engage with their customers online. Sure you can stick your head in a bucket of sand, and hope that social media is a fad that will soon die, but you don’t want to wake up in five years and regret you missed out a golden opportunity to get into this media whilst it is still relatively untapped and young.

Some of the common players that are on the social media scene include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin. Many business owners are using some of these avenues to attract new customers, or service existing ones. For this particular article, I am going to focus on Facebook.

Firstly, If you are using at least one of these platforms for your own personal use – congratulations you are part way there. If you aren’t using at least Facebook – I would suggest creating account, and seeing what is about, and how it works.

First step for business on Facebook. Create a fan page about your business. This is relatively easy, however, if you are unsure seek advice. When setting up this page, make sure you include a description about your business, upload your logo (or photo) and contact details.

When creating your page, try and think a little outside the square. Rather then “Sydney Mechanics”, maybe name the page “Getting serviced at Sydney Mechanics”. This way, when someone “likes” your page it will appear in the friends news feed as “John Smith likes getting serviced at Sydney Mechanics” (it’s a bit tongue in cheek).

Next step, go and get some friends. In your own personal account, suggest this page to your friends and family. Encourage them to also spread their word amongst their friends. When customers visit you or buy from you, encourage them to become fans.
Now it is time to start posting. With all social media it is about “engaging” your customers. Pumping out sales messages every 2 days such as “50% off today, 25% off next week” is not engagement. Keep it fun, keep it interesting.

If we go back to my Sydney Mechanics example: some great posts could include “Serviced a1961 EK Holden today, bit of a privilege” (you could also include a corresponding photo). Another one could be “Holden Commodore Recall for all vehicles 1998 – 2000. Make sure you get this to your dealer”. Then, every now and again mingle in a sales message “First 10 people to comment on this post, get a free oil change”.

You can also post links to Youtube, or other sites (such as motoring websites) that contain articles that are of interest to your customers.

Finally don’t forget to promote your Facebook pages. Put links on your website that invite people to become fans of your business. Include links in any email marketing (or perhaps in all emails that go out). You can also run advertising on Facebook that links through to your page.