Social media—you know, that thing you fight to keep younger staff members from during the work day—can be a valuable tool for your small business. It’s a place to build community, to find great new team members or loyal customers, and to care for your existing customers. Here are some of the uses of social media that work for small businesses:
1. Hiring and Recruiting
If you notice a tendency of your Millennial team members to tweet or pinterest when managers aren’t looking, you can probably infer that other Millennials are on the other ends of those tweets and pins. For managers trying to build a team of young professionals, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great places to recruit.
Post your job ads on your social accounts and encourage your staff to share it with their contacts. Keep in mind, though, that, according to the SHRM, laws that apply to traditional job postings may still apply to social job postings, so make sure to consult hiring law before posting online.
Even if you don’t post job ads on your social accounts, you can still use social media to advertise your employer brand and company culture. If your staff loves your work environment or are great employees, share their stories on your social accounts to show the world what a great place your company is to work at.
2. Customer Service
43% of customers that complain about a company on social media expect a 60 minute or less response time from the company, day or night, according to Jay Baer, a social media strategist and author. Additionally, say the customer service gurus at ZenDesk, another 2012 survey found that many visitors to your social page are looking for direct answers to questions or access to your customer service team.
With so many consumers using social media as a place to file complaints or to find answers, social media can’t be ignored as a customer service platform. The trick is to find your customers on their social platform of choice and to sift through mentions of your brand, complaints, rants, questions, and arguments to find the posts that deserve a response. If your brand’s followers are mostly on Twitter, make sure you have a strong Twitter presence; if they are mostly Pinterest users, it’s time to focus on your Pinterest page.
Companies of any size may decide to use a social media monitoring tool to listen to brand mentions on social. Monitoring tools like Hootsuite allow you to assign customer posts to your team to respond to. Even if your organization is too small to have a dedicated social media team, consider training staff on how to use social media at work to respond to customer requests. If you want more examples of what great social media customer service looks like, check out this article from Social Media Examiner.
3. Brand Building
If you use social media for nothing else, use it for brand building. Customers, especially younger ones, looking for a great plumber may not use the traditional “good ol’ boy” network, but instead may perform a Google search or check out relevant Facebook pages to find one. If your Facebook page has ten likes and two posts from 2011, you won’t be the first choice on their list. Build your brand by posting, sharing, and engaging with your customer base online. Respond to any negative reviews and share valuable content.
Social media is a free tool you can use to grow your business. Even though it’s financially free, to do it right will require time on your part, but in this day and age, it’s something you can’t ignore!
How does your business use social media? Have you found it helpful?