Unless you live under a rock, chances are that you have encountered an article praising the virtues of social media for businesses. This ‘chorus’ is served on pretty much every business marketing blog out there.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good chorus. Social media IS the best platform for promotion in history because of the sheer number of users and affordability.
But this sheer number can also overwhelm small business owners, many of whom have a hard time finding and reaching the right customers.
Good news! I’ve got you covered with the three ideas below. They just require a small investment in time every day.
Join Twitter Chats
If you have followed this blog for a while, you know I’m a fan of Twitter chats. They offer a great opportunity to ‘meet and mingle’ with people who may eventually become clients.
With that said, the success of your participation depends on your willingness to follow the rules established by moderators. A good starting point is to use Google search (e.g. “#chathashtag rules”) to find them. Here is an example for Mack Collier’s #blogchat:
If your query yields no result, use Twitter search to find moderators and ask them about the rules directly. Many chats have dedicated Twitter accounts:
Remember that participants dislike self-promotion, especially when it comes from a stranger. So, get familiar with the way things work during the first couple of chats. Focus on interactions. And only introduce your products or services at an appropriate time or if the context calls for it.
Here is how you can do it without ruffling feathers. During #foodchat, a monthly conversation that brings together consumers, nutrition professionals, and influencers of food choices, the moderator asks participants to share their favorite pork-inspired dish. As it turns out, your restaurant serves that kind of scrumptious food. Tell people about it. You can even include a picture.
While chatters may not ask you about your restaurant, your dish may arouse their curiosity and lead them to follow you or click the link in your bio. If your clients have nicknamed the dish, I would suggest you mention it.
Also, consider becoming a chat guest. It’s a great way to increase the visibility of your business. Avoid pouncing on the moderator(s) after the first chat, though. Wait for the second or third discussion. If you have been helpful and interactive, they are likely to say yes.
- Not too sure how to find Twitter chats? You can start with this list.
- For a complete introduction to Twitter chats and tools, Ian Cleary’s guide is a must-read.
Use Twitter Search
I mentioned Twitter Search earlier in this article. This powerful feature deserves more attention, especially since it has been redesigned.
Twitter Search uncovers relevant Twitter content around a specific keyword or hashtag. It’s very useful to find user questions.
A dedicated page is created every time you launch a search. On this page, you can filter results by main categories: Top, Live, Accounts, Photos, and Videos. The next step is to click the “More options” tab to bring up additional filtering options. You can even save your search.
Do you see the “Advanced search” tab? More filters are there too!
Here is how you can use them to your advantage. Let’s imagine that you are a wedding planner, photographer, or real estate agent located in Boston. On the Additional Search page, enter “recommend things Boston”, for example, then fill the fields of your choice to refine your results.
Check the square to the left of “Question” at the bottom of the page. Then, click “Search”.
Skim the “Live” section of results and see the questions that come up. Then, answer a few. Save the search and re-visit it once or twice a week to continue offering useful suggestions.
For more customer-focused results, add your job title to your query. For example: “recommend wedding photographer Boston”. The sky’s the limit!
Note that people may not respond to your Tweets at first. Actually, it may take a while. But, don’t get discouraged. After all, many people do not check their accounts every day, and you never know who is watching.
Take Advantage of Quora
Unless you work in social media like me, chances are that you may not have heard of Quora.
Quora is a question-and-answer platform for every topic imaginable. Want to know how much a blue whale weighs? And what about the best fashion blogs on the web? Members of the site will have answers for you.
Quora also includes a blogging platform that can be used to curate posts and share your and other people’s answers. And, search engines like Google index questions.
So, how can a small business owner make the most of Quora? By giving the best possible answers to show off their expertise and make people curious about their work.
Before you start answering questions, take care of your profile:
- Upload a professional picture of yourself.
- Write a concise and keyword-rich bio. No grandiloquent words, please.
- Choose a tagline that describes exactly your expertise or experience. You only have 60 characters…
- Include your website in your bio and link your social media profiles to your account.
You are now ready to take advantage of Quora. Next, locate the search box at the top of your page to find great questions.
For example, if you own a Bed and Breakfast near the Yosemite National Park, enter the location as the keyword. You will see something similar to this:
These questions are the perfect springboard for you. Click on a title and pay close attention to the answers. Many tips and pictures are included. However, people may have forgotten to mention something. It could be a spot that only locals or guides know or a great story one of your guests shared with you.
That kind of information does not just make you look like an insider. It also allows you to promote your establishment in a very subtle way.
Also, remember that you can vote and comment on other people’s answers. Interacting with members is also a great way to gain traction.
The huge amount of questions and answers may quickly overwhelm you. To avoid this experience, start with one question per day until you feel comfortable handling more.
Quora is a long-term investment. Patience and consistent participation will eventually pay off.
Additional tip: From Robert Scoble to President Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher, and James Altucher, there are very big fish on the platform! Some of them are active members. They actually might look at their streams and read answers from other members.
While expecting success from that fact alone is a mistake, the quality of your answers may end up attracting the attention of an influencer. So, keep that in mind when you offer tips…
What is your top tip to find new clients online?
This post was originally published in the Paper.li Blog.