Just like produce at your favorite supermarket or farmer’s market, content and information introducing you and your expertise to members of your social media community, whether BizSugar or any other, must be tantalizing enough to make visitors want to return again and again and of sufficient quality to inspire trust on the part of potential clients and customers about the quality you offer.
Consider these ten tips inspired by your local grocery store or farmer’s market that will help you improve the quality of your social media efforts and keep customers interested long-term in your business or brand.
1. Display your finest
In the television program “The Office,” the character of Dwight Schrute once reveals his secret for roadside produce selling at his Pennsylvania beet farm. The trick, Schrute insists, is to display the best beets prominently, creating in the customer the need to buy the produce immediately. “Those,” he says, “Are the money beets.” When it comes to your social media marketing, be sure to share only your best content, remembering that this will cause your customer to want more.
2. Focus on freshness
Of course, the quality of produce at any local market no matter what size has always been judged by its freshness. Who would continue to patronize a grocer or farmer’s market where the lettuce was constantly withered or the fruit or other vegetables looked as if they had been there for some time? It’s the same with the content you offer your online community in social media. Failure to update and participate regularly will lead to lack of interest by other members or worse yet, doubts about your qualities as a future business partner.
3. Presentation matters
Customers look for more than simply freshness and quality when they visit their neighborhood supermarket, whether they know it or not. The colorful displays of red, vine ripened tomatoes and deep green cucumbers, or fresh yellow grapefruit and deep orange tangerines in the produce department also make a huge difference, and sometimes jumbled or unkempt produce and other sections may make a customer choose a competing market even if other factors are not an issue. Remember this when creating your content including your profile about you and your business and any pages or blogs you might link to, and ask yourself, what does this content say about me?
4. Chat up the regulars
You’ve probably engaged in pleasant conversations with the local grocer or the guy behind the meat counter or in the deli section of your favorite market or convenience store. You see them regularly and they see you, and it is this relationship that separates the experience from a larger chain store, where faces seem always to be changing and no one seems as deeply invested. In social media, personal connection is key. Commenting and sharing with those you encounter often builds relationships that can and do evolve over time, so you will want to make the investment.
One sure way to tell the difference between a quality market and a retailer merely offering produce as part of its fare, is the quality of information provided by staff to customers about that produce. Can an employee at your local grocer tell you how to pick the ripest melon or where a particular brand of produce comes from? Education should also be part of your social media efforts and will pay big dividends down the line with customers.
6. Give away free samples
Ever stroll into your local supermarket to find slices of the latest variety of apple or other succulent produce waiting for you to sample from a smiling employee with a tray or behind a display counter? Giving out free samples is one way to get customers to try new things, to suggest a new product or service or to show confidence in the quality of what you offer. Consider the same when marketing your business through social media.
7. Make recommendations
Have you ever been steered to a better quality offering in your local supermarket by someone who works there? How did it make you feel about the overall experience of shopping at that particular store or market? Of course, everyone is different and so supermarkets stock many varieties of fruits, vegetables and other food to suit every taste. It may be the same with your business and the variety of products or services you provide, but taking the time to get to know the customer’s needs and making recommendations about the best products or services to suit them shows a level of attention important in any business.
8. Share anecdotes
Does your local grocer make small talk with you about the customers that frequent his store or how he came by a certain new brand or variety of fruit, vegetable or other food he now offers? This communication builds a connection with customers and a trust that comes with knowing about the person who helps provide a vital service in your life. Though many critics have questioned the importance of this communication when it comes to social media, the feeling and bond it builds with those who experience it or use it successfully for their business is undeniable.
9. Keep them coming back
A great experience at a local supermarket, whether in the quality of the produce you obtained there or in the level of interaction and customer service you received, will keep you coming back in the future and social media is, of course, no different. Do you provide information that people find valuable and does that information make them want to increase their interaction with you or add products or services?
Of course, consistency is also key. Returning to your local supermarket and experiencing a similar level of organization, quality and customer service with every visit will keep you coming back while uneven experiences, in which you are always unsure of the level of quality you might encounter, will not. Similarly, keep your social media interactions at a consistent level trying to remain in constant and active contact with your close connections. (This is why limiting the number of your connections is often recommended.)