Social media success wasn’t created by its tools (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, …); Those tools are successful vehicles for people to connect.
So, Small Business owners, why aren’t you using Social Media to actually connect with your customers?
Don’t look to the big business guys for social media strategies. Big businesses have a handicap. They know they can’t connect on a personal level because they have far too broad a reach and whole populations of followers. They HAVE to offer coupons and events to keep visitors coming back. They know that if you can’t connect, you have to offer something. Big business ENVIES small businesses’ ability to personally connect with their customers.
Small business should recognize their unique ability to reach customers on a far more personal level. Isn’t that why you chose a small business? To be able to connect with those with whom you do business? To have pride in your community connection and offerings? To be able to say, “that’s MY store and my community comes to see ME for what I offer!”
Big businesses have the handicap of anonymity. They HAVE to rely on traditional marketing to attract followers – even on their Social Media pages. Coupons, events, gimmicks… they have to work hard to have something new and exciting everyday to keep followers interested – there is no real connection other than “what’s in it for me to come back to your page?”
But when small business gets on Social Media, it’s golden! The page owners and the visitors have a place to relax, share a personal story, have some fun, talk to people, share the results of their efforts and invite others to come in, sit down and catch up with what’s happening! Your page is the corner pub and you are the owner behind the bar!
Social Media tools are most successful for small business when they are NOT about traditional marketing and gimmicks. Consumers and clients love getting to know the person BEHIND the brand when they visit small business pages.
Why do we join local community organizations, neighborhood health clubs, join a local sports team, hang out at a local pub? You know the answer – because it builds familiarity and personal recognition. It creates acceptance into the unknown. The ability to feel like you fit in somehow. The comfort zone of being able to be yourself and connect with others. That’s what small business can provide.
It’s about how the family shoe shop around the corner has a way of making my son like shopping for shoes. It’s the neighborhood hair salon stylist who asks about my last business venture. It’s the specialty neighborhood gift store that reminds my husband that Mother’s day is coming up and did he know that I had mentioned I liked the wall hanging that is still available?
Why is there freedom in familiarity? Because we don’t have to make an effort to fit in. We already fit in. And those whom we have chosen to be familiar with are those who support us in our search for comfort, who give us that tip, that leg up, that pat on the back that feeling that it’s OK that you need help…
Think about it. A first visit to a small businesses can be intimidating to new customers. The building is usually small, there frequently are few to no customers inside, it’s tough to blend into the environment and be left to explore alone. A new customer can feel “put on the spot” because they are front and center with a “stranger” – YOU.
Ok… now imagine this…
Your customer prospect needs your product or service. They’ve never heard of your business. They go to the web and not only does the search cultivate websites, but also social media activity. They see a Facebook post where you personally answer a customer’s question related to their needs. They click on it, they browse your other posts, soon they are looking at your “About” section to see if you are located nearby.
If they see that personal connection and sense of community on your page, they can already feel connected with you because you have shown your responsiveness to others. They want that, too. So now their guard is down, and they want to come check you out in person…
Do you think if your page only had posts about product that visitors would feel that same kind of connection? Of course not.
Why is it so hard for businesses to see that is what people are seeking on your business page. A comfort zone. A sense of familiarity and a place where someone cares about their needs and responds to them. And it’s comforting to see that other visitors have some of the same questions and concerns they do. And they smile inside when they see the sincere exchange between you and your visitors.
And that’s what builds a community… 🙂
You can build a community on your Facebook business page, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and more… and, yes, they WILL come.