Use social media to engage with followers and turn them into customers.
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How's your holiday social media marketing campaign going? It's the final stretch of the holiday season, making it more important than ever to attract last-minute shoppers.
A recent survey by Crowdtap, a collaborative marketing and social influence platform, revealed that 65 percent of holiday shoppers use social media to find the perfect gift. With Christmas just a couple weeks away, this is a business's last chance to maximize its reach using social media. [6 Innovative Social Media Tools for Small Business]
"Whether you are a big-box retailer or small business, you can leverage the holidays to grow your online influence through social media," said Becky Robinson, social media strategist and CEO of Weaving Influence, an online influence-building company. Robinson offered the following tips and anecdotes on how to use social media to listen, monitor and engage with current customers and influence potential ones.
1. Turn up your listening.
Although many businesses schedule social media updates, Robinson said businesses can stand out by stepping out of that box and showing a willingness to connect.
"While it may be tempting to schedule and send promotional updates through the holiday season, you can stand out by listening to and responding to fans and customers who communicate with you," Robinson said.
Robinson also advised businesses to always keep their eyes open. She recommended signing up for services like Google Alerts — which lets businesses monitor their brand and other relevant terms online — and checking social media channels multiple times throughout the day.
2. Take charge.
People are posting about products and services you offer every day. Don't miss out on this opportunity to turn them into customers.
To get on shoppers' radars, Robinson said businesses should save a search on Twitter for their industry or location, then find relevant tweets and social media updates by regularly checking search streams.
"Several weeks ago, I needed to find a new bank for business banking," Robinson said. "Though I tweeted several general tweets about banks, not a single bank engaged with me. Later, after I chose a bank, I sent tweets tagging both my old bank and my new bank. Until I mentioned a specific bank, no one engaged. You can impress me — and win my business — if you respond before I tag you by your handle."
3. Show up and be real.
Social media isn't just about promoting products and services — it's about creating relationships.
Robinson said businesses should designate someone in the company to personally engage with others in real-time every day. One way is by asking about or commenting on things people are sharing. For instance, Robinson once tweeted, "@TopoAthletic delighted me by tweeting me, several days after our original connection, to wish me luck on my half marathon."
During the holidays, businesses can share real-life, real-time updates to give customers a glimpse of what the company is doing to celebrate. Share photos, daily happenings and other stories from the office.
4. Give extra love to your best fans and customers.
Although people follow brands' social media accounts to get the latest news, Robinson said, the primary reason is they want to get inside deals and discounts. Be creative and think of unexpected ways to offer promotions and exclusive sales. Give fans and customers exactly what they want.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.