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Social media influences our buying decisions. According to an Australian social media trends survey by Nielsen, 46 percent of online users engage with organisations on social media platforms and approximately 69 percent use social media to source information and reviews about products and services. Social media is powerful. If you’re determined to accelerate your social media success, build a thriving online community and be influential, you must put in the work. However, you don’t need to spend hours and hours on social media.

Before I work with someone or decide to buy a product, the first thing I do is go to social media. I visit the person or the brand’s website, look at their LinkedIn profile, Facebook business page, Twitter profile, Instagram account and any other profiles they have listed. I do this so I can get to know the person I’m looking to work with or the brand I’m going to buy a product from.

For me, it’s important our values are aligned and I also want to understand the customer experience and what it’s like to do business with that person or brand.  LinkedIn recommendations, reviews and customer comments on Facebook and conversations on Twitter can reveal a lot about a business. This is social proof and it’s what each of our customers and future clients are looking for. Social proof builds trust and credibility.

The level of customer service also interests me. Does the business reply and engage with their online community? Do they provide support or are they trying to sell products all the time? How long does it take for them to respond to customer feedback or problems? In today’s business environment the level and quality of customer service must be a seamless experience online and offline. Social media is a valuable customer service tool for all businesses.

Finally, I also take note of the way a business communicates online. The style, type, and frequency of content they post and the way they connect and engage with their community says a great deal about the person or business you’re looking at working with or buying a product from.

Your customers, online community and people you don’t even know are looking at your digital footprint right now (yes RIGHT NOW). So it’s important to put your best foot forward.

If you’re determined to accelerate your social media success, build a thriving online community and be influential, you must put in the work. However, you don’t need to spend hours and hours on social media.

Social media shouldn’t be an afterthought

Social media is a long-term investment in your business and your community. It’s one of the best ways to authentically connect and build relationships with your community and ideal clients.

People may not be ready to buy from you today however by building trust and a relationship with them on social media, you’ll be top of mind when they’re ready to buy.

Yes, this takes time, however, the results for you and your business are invaluable. After all, businesses are built on successful relationships, right?

Consistency and a solid strategy are the keys to online success.  You may be thinking this is great however it’s going to take up a lot of time. Well, you’re not alone because I can assure you others are thinking the same thing as you.

So, I’m here to tell you social media doesn’t have to take up every second of your day. With planning, systems, and processes you can accelerate your online success without being on social media 24/7. You can get effective results from as little as 30-minutes per day. The key to success is having a strategy as well as systems and processes that are designed to deliver your business outcomes, save you time and deliver tangible results. This will keep you on track and save you time and heartache.

Accelerate your social media success with a strategy

Social media is an absolute necessity for businesses today if you want to connect with your community and stay relevant. This is where you build trust and relationships with your clients, it’s where you deliver customer service and create an exceptional customer experience.

I talk to many business owners who say they have a strategy but it doesn’t go beyond the content they’re going to produce and share with their community each day. This is a brilliant start however if you want to get ahead and achieve tangible results it’s important to take this one step further and include an engagement plan and an issues management plan to navigate risk. We all know that whenever someone has a complaint or wants to praise a brand the place they go is social media. Social media is a two-way conversation; it’s not a place for self-promotion. Think beyond your content plan and look at how you can personally connect with your community online.

Our social media accounts are about our community and how we can best help them. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as places where you can educate, help others, build relationships, create opportunities and start meaningful conversations. This can all be done strategically as part of your strategy which will allow you to build customer loyalty, customer retention and be the brand of choice when your ideal clients are ready to buy.

Online tools will elevate your success

There is a range of social media management dashboards, apps, and productivity tools on the market today that will streamline your social media activity and help you achieve the results you’re looking to achieve.

When you’re developing your strategy and choosing apps, dashboards and productivity tools make sure they’re aligned with your social media goals, marketing plan, and business outcomes.

What works well for another business may not work well for you so trial and test a few to see what works best and most importantly is going to bring you the best results.

A small community of people is better than having a large community of people without engagement

Just because you have a large number of fans, followers or connections it doesn’t mean these people will pay you attention or buy from you. It’s much like walking into a networking event and expecting everyone to stop talking and rush up to you wanting to buy your products or services. It’s not going to happen.

The reason this doesn’t happen is that you don’t know these people and you haven’t built trust which is why personal connection and relationship building is critical to your community online and offline.

It sounds obvious, but you should never buy fans or followers. It won’t get you any new customers and it can have a devastating impact on your credibility and reputation.

I truly believe that quality beats quantity, hands down. It’s better to have a smaller community of engaged people who are interested in you and your business, than a large community of people who don’t care. If you provide your community with value and a genuine interest in engaging with them over the long term, your communities will grow organically and become a powerful part of your business.

It’s important to have connections but you need to be engaging with them meaningfully on a regular basis so you can turn these connections into clients.

Social media is an incredibly valuable business asset if used wisely. Streamline your activity, maximise your results and you’ll have more time to spend on what you love to do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts?

ABOUT DEBRA

Social Media Mentoring with Debra SinclairDebra Sinclair is a highly-experienced Social Media Consultant, Strategist, Mentor and Communications Expert who is renowned for her authenticity, creativity, and focus. As the founder of Liquid Mango Consulting, Debra helps SMEs create highly personalised and engaging experiences at the moments that have the greatest impact. Debra has worked with clients in the health and wellness, human resources, business education, public relations, marketing, hospitality, building, and property industries with dramatic results, including increased community engagement, brand awareness, customer service, customer loyalty, productivity and inbound traffic. Debra has also provided one-on-one consulting and mentoring to small business owners in the sports, health, human resources, and robotics industries. Debra combines her experience in social media, public relations, and corporate communications to maximise results for her clients. Debra holds a Master of Communication Management from University of Technology (UTS) Sydney and has been featured in The Huffington Post Australia, Women Love Tech, INTHEBLACK, Women In Focus and 50 Unsung Business Heroes.

Debra Sinclair | Business | October 21, 2016 | Social Media Management, Social Media Strategy

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