Let’s take a moment to map out a cheap and effective social media strategy. Understand that cheap does not mean easy. This will take a dedicated effort and a lot of hours. But those hours could be more valuable than a high-priced advertising campaign.
Step One: Commit Yourself to Communication
It is imperative that you recognize the difference between communicating and selling. Never sell. Just listen, help, and tell. If you advertise via social media, your audience will not welcome you and you will not be effective. Build relationships and the sales will follow.
Think of social media as the world’s largest cocktail party. You are there to mix, mingle, and work the room. You can hand out business cards but don’t personally try to sell anything. If people understand you and are impressed by your knowledge, they may take a look at your business card and decide to give you a call.
Step Two: Start a Blog
People are more comfortable buying from someone they know, respect, and trust. The purpose of your blog is to build credibility. You can post links to your blog on social media sites. A couple of blogging platforms I recommend are WordPress and Tumblr.
Step Three: Lurk
While you are working on Step Two, get your social media accounts set up and start lurking. Lurking is the equivalent of “working the room” at the cocktail party. Listen before diving into the conversations on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Step Four: Participate in the Conversation
Once you have enough content on your blog to make it interesting, you can start participating in the conversation. Engaging, humorous or insightful answers and posts will drive people to your blog. Your blog will carry the branding and information about your online store.
Many online merchants find the concept of social media to be foreign and uncomfortable. But social media is a direct to consumer tool that gives small businesses marketing power equal to their larger competitors. Put aside your reservations and start using it. With hard work and the basic guidelines I’ve outlined, you can increase your online sales and build a more prosperous business.