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Share and Listen in Social Media

It takes just a few minutes to create a page on Facebook or Google+, but it takes a lot more time and effort to succeed in social media. Once you have your pages set up, how do you engage audiences? What content do you provide?

Let’s say that you are a fledgling pizzeria in Seattle, and you want to drum up more business. Here’s what I would suggest.

Promote – This is a no-brainer. Whet people’s appetites by posting some close-up photos of your pizzas. Get them drooling over your cheesy slices. Or post a fun image of a guy throwing dough into the air.

Ask Questions – People love giving their opinions. Ask questions, such as what’s your favorite pizza topping? Do they like mushrooms, pepperoni or pineapple? What’s your favorite kind of beer? Asking questions is a great way to crowd-source and get ideas for new menu items.

engaging audiences in social mediaListen – The greatest aspect of social media is that it allows you to have conversations and build relationships. Once you post a comment or pose a question, be prepared to listen and respond. People appreciate it when the response is left promptly.

Share Related Stories – Share links to interesting stories that relate to your business. Is there a story about how cheese is made? Is there a story about how to keep fit and eat pizza once in a while?

Share Stories that are Local – If you live in Seattle, talk about the Mariners, Bumbershoot, or how it doesn’t rain nearly as much as everyone thinks it does. You’re not just about pizza, and people will feel more connected to you as a person.

Share Stories about Other Businesses – That’s right, other businesses. Don’t be afraid of driving people to your competition. Your customers can’t live on pizza alone, and they will remember you if you shared a recommendation of your favorite seafood restaurant or ice cream parlor.

Offer Coupons for Loyal Followers – Try offering a coupon–say 10%–for those customers who come in through social media. If you’re skeptical of coupons or can’t afford to give a discount to everyone, start with a service like Foursquare. You can offer a free beer for three check-ins, rewarding your most loyal customers.

All of this takes time. Whatever your role, you are most likely busy with your day-to-day tasks. Share the social media responsibilities if you can. Get more people in your business involved to strengthen your social media presence. Zappos, for example, encourages all of its employees to Tweet. This allows them not only to engage more customers, but to keep its staff more engaged with each other. A team like that leads to better business.

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