Almost three-quarters of small-business owners are confident in their social media strategies. Still need help with yours? Try following these 7 tips.
Promotion and engagement are really two sides of the same coin. Engagement is rooted in consistently sharing insight and providing value every time you connect with a customer. This establishes credibility while building trust and inspiring customers to tell their friends about you. Promotion extends your engagement efforts by presenting a valuable offer that’s based on your customers’ interests and needs. Social media amplifies your efforts so you can be found and engage a wider audience to grow your business.
To put it all together, here are seven best practices for successfully engaging customers and promoting your small business through social media.
1. Follow the one-in-seven rule.
This rule is where only one of every seven posts overtly promotes your business. The remaining six should be focused on sharing valuable content, including posts from the community. This doesn’t mean you can’t promote your business in those other posts; just be sure you pair it with great content.
2. Ask conversation-starter questions.
Most people enjoy sharing their opinions, so ask Facebook fans to weigh in on topics that are relevant to your business and interesting to them. For example, a fitness center may ask fans to vote on their favorite summer sports in order to be entered into a drawing to win private lessons for them and a friend who joins the club. The questions should engage fans and inspire them to refer business while giving the business owner great insight.
3. Share your expertise.
Post little-known, fun facts in the form of questions with a special offer presented to the first person to answer correctly.
4. Provide value.
While including fun posts that reflect your personality is a must, it’s important to create content that benefits your followers. That can mean posting tips on best practices, providing access to white papers, or offering special deals on products or services.
5. Enhance the rewards for virtual check-ins.
For a specific period of time, double the points each time a customer checks in on Foursquare and triple the points each time he or she brings a friend. Their friends on social networks will see when they’ve checked in while you expand your reach exponentially.
6. Create a Pinterest board.
Make sure the board has eye-catching visuals and run a contest through it that will inspire and reward customers for their participation. Be sure to encourage them to re-pin and create their own boards that reflect the initial contest for additional social amplification of your campaign.
7. Avoid syndicated messages.
While you can use tools that allow you to write one message and have it appear on a variety of social media outlets, you risk losing the sincerity behind the message. You can use similar language as you promote your offer on different sites; just be sure to change up the words while reflecting the tone of each network.
If you find that your customers are scattered across a variety of networks, focus your efforts where they’re most active. Not sure? Ask. Otherwise, you may waste a lot of time skimming the surface of multiple networks with little results.
When small-business owners apply these best practices to social media engagement and promotion, we’ll likely see that already impressive 72 percent success statistic continue to rise.
Starting a business or running an existing business is not a daunting task, especially when you have limited capital or cash-flow. Nigeria have suffered economic crunch since 2015 when the oil price plummeted; this has impeded business growth and stopped a lot of startups from springing up. It has also made it near impossible to access funds in Nigeria, but here are solutions.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
The Nigerian government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had created NGN220 billion fund initiative for startups. However, according to the Governor of the apex bank, only 30% of the N220 billion Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund had so far released because of the tough conditions startups must meet before accessing the fund.
To ensure that more startups access the fund, CBN has directed financial institutions across the country to accept applicants’ educational certificates as collateral.
According to the new guideline, loans granted to startup businesses by deposit money banks and development finance institutions will have as collateral “educational certificates such as Senior School Certificate (SSCE), National Diploma (ND), National Certificate of Education (NCE), National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), Higher National Diploma (HND), University degree (NYSC Certificate where applicable) and a guarantor.”
Entrepreneurs are also required to present their Bank Verification Number (BVN) while Venture Capital Firms (VCFs) that wish to finance startups in form of equity participation shall be eligible to access the MSMEDF at 2% for investment in startup projects. The collateral for such facility to the VCF shall be bank guarantee.
Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP)
TEEP, the flagship programme of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, is a Naira 17bn (US$100m equivalent) initiative to support emerging entrepreneurs across Africa over 10 years, aiming to generate a projected $10bn in revenues for the Continent and one new million jobs for its citizens. The 2015 round drew over 20,000 applicants from 51 countries and has created partnerships with entrepreneurs, the private sector and governments across Africa and internationally.
Bank of Industry/Dangote Foundation Fund
The Dangote Foundation/BOI Fund is a N5bn matching fund, which could be accessed by Enterprises and Limited Liability Companies engaged in the Manufacturing, Agro-Processing and Merchandising sectors for made in Nigeria goods, with single obligor limit of N50.0 Million with an interest rate of 5%.
You have a small business and you haven’t bought into the social media frenzy? Guess what? Inaction is no longer an option. People are online talking about your business as you read this, whether you like or not. If you don’t engage in the conversation, you risk losing your customers or worst still, your business being misrepresented.
Here are some basic guidelines for announcing your presence on Social Media. We hope it helps you with your online Social Media strategy.
1. Define your offerings: The first step you should take before engaging in online marketing or social media marketing and engagement is to look at what are you are trying to promote. What are your offerings? Who are your target customers? It may seem obvious to you but you need to make them clear to the target audience.
2. Sign-up for Social Media: That is if you don’t already have one. It is now unusual to find someone without a presence on one of the many social platforms. To name a few, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the most popular but there are many others. For instance, Facebook allows you to create a business page from your personal account Make sure you read the rules for businesses first. Others follow a similar pattern and they all offer free sign up.
3. Find a Social Media Manager: Managing multiple social networks is daunting. So, before you start posting content, requesting friends and adding followers, it is advisable to engage a Social Media Manager who will be responsible for deploying your strategy and ensuring that your business is projected in the right manner to the world.
Please share your Social Media experiences with us.
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