How do I find New Customers Easily?

I deliberately changed the heading I originally had for this article as I felt many of you may just switch off and not bother reading any further!

While that may not be a fair thing to do it is actually not too bad as the title I have chosen for the article is actually very accurate. However the title I had originally chosen was “Social Media is a form of free advertising – Use it!”

Already as I had feared many of you could be saying – I can’t even use a computer so I’m not even going to read this!

Please bear with me and read on. It’s easier than you think and this is a unique opportunity for your business. Many people are already using the different forms of Social Media and are successfully spreading the word about their business and winning new customers in the process.

Consider the different Social Media tools as forms of free advertising, free publicity and a free way to spread the word about your store or your brand. How can you ignore it?

You owe it to yourself to at least understand how it all works, how it could work for you and your business and then decide whether it is something you need to learn or something you need someone to do for you. Most importantly understand how some of your competitors are using these tools and the advantages they are gaining in the process.

Facebook

Facebook for Business

A small piece of information that might help to hold your interest – There are over 1,110,000 registered users of Facebook in Ireland, all over 18. You might assume that most of these are quite young? Nearly 500,000 of these users are 30 and over. My guess is a lot of your customers are busy using Facebook!

Some of you will already have discovered the power of the different social media for your business but for most it is a fabulous awareness opportunity just waiting to be discovered.

Let’s start with the basics – What exactly is Social Media?

They are the tools available on the web for socialising with other people online. There are many such tools and all totally free you will be glad to hear. The most popular and most useful of these are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

You don’t need to have a website to use any of these tools, just an email address. If you have a website they can be used to bring more traffic to it.

I will try my best to explain each of these in the most simplest of terms:

Facebook (www.facebook.com) is a powerful free resource for communicating with individuals and groups. At the heart of it you sign yourself up as an individual, build up a network of friends sharing messages, pictures and even video. You can also become a fan of business pages, which could include your favourite shops, charities etc. You can also set up a business page for your own business and encourage your customers to sign up as fans – through this you can add news about new products, show visuals of new collections, announce sales and even invite your fans to an event such as a sale.

I strongly recommend Facebook for any business in the hospitality or retail sector. We encourage all of our clients in these sectors to set up their presence on Facebook and to use it proactively. For example Starbucks have over 5.5million fans worldwide on their Facebook page, that’s a lot of coffee drinkers!

Twitter Logo

Twitter for business

Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a totally different beast. Basically you can set up an account or identity for yourself or your business and you then choose to follow others or let them follow you. You can then publish short messages referred to as ‘tweets’, which can be seen by the people following you and vice versa. For me quite honestly I am not totally sold on Twitter but I do see the sense in deliberately following businesses or journalists that may be of relevance to you and learn what they are writing about.

LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is quite different to the others as it is a business to business form of online networking. On LinkedIn you set up your profile and from here you can invite others to connect with you. With LinkedIn you can normally see quite detailed information about where people are working and the position they hold. LinkedIn comes to life through the ‘Groups’ facility. You can join groups on LinkedIn such as your local Chamber, trade Groups or different interest groups. You can also set up a group yourself and invite others to join. For example I set up a group called Spend Ireland, which encourages people to spend their money in Ireland. These groups can be excellent for discussing topics and finding out information. Another feature of LinkedIn is the ability to register personal recommendations for your contacts and vice versa and you can also request introductions through your connections.

You can spend a lot of precious time on each of these so are they worth it?

Must – My own view is that you absolutely must be using Facebook proactively for your business as a store or as a brand. Make sure you complete your profile and regularly keep it fresh with news, updates, offers, visuals and comments. Let your customers know that you have a Facebook page and encourage them to sign up. A vital point to remember is that it is a form of ‘Social Media’ – try not to be too formal, you will only turn people off. Learn as much as you can by joining other peoples pages and watch how they are communicating news and offers. If you feel you do not have the time arrange for someone to do this for you.

LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn for business

Maybe – I would try LinkedIn and Twitter once I was up and running on Facebook.

One final tip for you – If you have a website make it easy for people to share it with their contacts on the different social media by adding an ‘Add This’ sharing button to your website. Check out www.addthis.com to learn how. If you have a website and are also using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn direct them to these pages by adding buttons to the site.

I know that all of this can seem complicated and can be a little daunting but I promise you will get there one step at a time at you will win new customers for you business. What are you waiting for?

Greg Canty is a partner in Fuzion Communications, providing Marketing Consultancy, PR and Graphic Design and Web Optimisation services.

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