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The first social media site was introduced to the public on February 16, 1978, after two computer engineers were stranded in a hurricane that virtually shut down Chicago. The purpose behind the program was to allow other computer geeks to plan meetings together. Since that time, many businesses have learned the importance of social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and acknowledge that interacting with their customers there is vital to their success. If you are a business owner or manager, then you need to get on social media sites as well. Here are five ways that businesses should be using social media.

Be There

Customers are looking for your presence on social media sites, so make sure that you make it easy to find your company on their favorite platforms. Twenty percent of all page views are now on Facebook, so make sure that some of the content that people are seeing belongs to you. Research from Podium recommends that you should post on your Facebook Business page once per day. If you don’t have enough content to fill up that cadence, don’t be afraid to re-share content from trusted sources you think your followers would appreciate. Additionally, Instagram is the fastest-growing social media site, so get adventurous and be found there. Create interesting how-to projects using your products and promote them on Pinterest. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel; share content that you think your audience will find interesting from your suppliers by retweeting it on Twitter. Regularly posting content helps keep your company at the forefront of your target audience’s mind.

Engage with Your Audience

People want to know that there is a voice behind the company. Consistently posting in the same voice allows them to recognize the attributes of your company. Since people come on social media to interact with others, make sure that you mix up the content you offer so that you are not always simply selling them a product. Show them the people who make the product, tell how your company is involved in worthwhile projects, showcase users with your products, and find other ways to keep your posts unique each time.

Talk to Your Customers

Often, social media is the first place that people go to complain about a product or service that doesn’t meet their expectations. While you should be reading your own comments frequently, make sure that you use a social media listening tool to monitor when someone mentions your company name. After all, you want to be able to fix small issues before they become big ones. Furthermore, customers are more likely to trust your company when they see you actively engaging with your audience. Finally, customers who are using your products often have the best ideas for new products or new ways to use old ones that you would have never considered on your own.

Get Reviews

Over 80 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as if a personal friend made the recommendation. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on Facebook or comments on other sites for others to read. Word-of-mouth advertising is a potent factor that no amount of money can buy.

Connect with Influencers

Social media is a powerful tool for engaging with industry leaders and sharing their thoughts with your audience. Getting one influencer on board with your company can be vital to your success. Jeff Bullas says that by turning influencers into brand advocates, you can improve your brand’s image and create a sense of trust with your target audience. Think about using participation challenges, like the ALS Ice Brigade or the Police Lip Sync Challenge, to build interest in your business and its products. When an influencer wears your brand’s apparel, drinks out of a coffee cup made by your company, or uses your product in some other way, your revenue could skyrocket.

Use your ingenuity to apply these ideas to your social media accounts. Let customers hear the voice behind the company, and your business will grow. Prepare for an influx of new customers and the return of old ones when you are easy to find on social media.

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