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The social networking rules of engagement


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In this blog, Eva Maria looks at ways you can engage your target audience and customers on social media, now.

No matter what business workshop you attend, social media article or book you read, one thing is for sure – the age of engagement is upon us. Gurus and experts in the online field talk about the act of engaging with customers in order to build trusting relationships to build connections, and ultimately clients.

As for many things in life, it’s easier said than done, so with this article, I’d like to kick-start off with three key things that you can start doing right now, to engage your audience and customers.

Provide Value

This is one of those things that people always talk about, but the question is: how do I provide value?

In the book ‘The Art of War’, the author talks about winning battles by the simple understanding of your enemy. Now, your customers are the furthest thing from your enemy, but the rule stays true – know the other side user of your product or service.

As a person with something to promote, who are your customers? Who are your potential customers? And who are your ideal customers? What do they do? Where do they work? Where do they reside? Where do they hang out? And what about your product would make them want to use it over the others out there? Listing benefits of what you offer is a great piece of advice for someone with something to offer others, but what extra knowledge and value can you provide that would make them want your stuff? If you are a vacuum cleaner dealer, write up a small blog post or article about the best way people can choose a vacuum cleaner, and subtly remind them that as you know your stuff, you can help them get that perfect vacuum cleaner. If you own a hairdressing business, how about putting out a range of hairstyles of the season/month/week?

You’re in business in your industry, so that’s got to mean you know your stuff, so don’t keep it a secret – share it with the world, and remind them to buy from you next time, of course.

Listen, Acknowledge & Reply

Probably the most underestimated act a business can do is not acknowledge its target market.

If you want to know what people think about product, service, or even your business in particular, you’re just one Google, Facebook or Twitter search away from it! Read up, hear what others are saying already, and by providing the right value, turn potential customers into real customers, and real customers into returning customers.

A big social media tip the ‘gurus’ always talk about is replying to questions aimed at you. Why would they be promoting this if this was done on the basis of common sense? Let me tell you, common sense doesn’t seem to be that common anymore, and if you’re one of the businesses that earn the reputation for listening to concerns, questions and feedback of your clients, it can really go a long way online. Bad news spreads like wildfire online, so to make sure you’re not on the end of the firing squad of online ‘trashers’, always reply when you are addressed online – whether someone posted a question to your Facebook Page, posed a question on your blog article, or sent you a direct message or mention on Twitter, reply, reply, reply.

Even if you don’t have time to go out there and market your business to potential clients on a daily basis, make sure you are on your already existing social networks every day, with at least one update, and moderate and answer any questions that come up.

Free Stuff!

Come on, how can you argue with this point – everyone LOVES free stuff! Now before you start crunching the numbers around how your business can afford to get the latest iPad to give out as a draw to ‘one lucky winner’, hold your horses.

Free stuff can attract people, but make sure it’s relevant. People are constantly being bombarded by offers to enter draws, chances to win stuff, and a lot of the time it becomes just another ‘act’ that is very unlikely to get you anywhere.

Offer a discount, a free drink, a free haircut when they refer a friend…anything that will make you extra business. A café client of ours offered $1 coffees through a one-day-deals website one day. Do you know how many people bought that voucher? Over 1500! And these people could redeem it at any point during the next 6 months, so when you do the math, say each of those people brought a friend when they came in who bought a coffee for regular price themselves…you’re doing more than breaking even, not to mention still making money even off that $1 coffee…so the opportunities are endless – all you need to do is ask yourself: what can we offer that would get people interested?

How else do you engage your target market, and entice them to buy from you?

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