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by Nicole Altavilla
Social media has become a popular and essential way for small businesses to efficiently create, share and exchange information with current and potential clients. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Small Business Association, only 27 percent of small businesses report that they don't use any social media at all, down from 53 percent three years ago. The survey also reports that LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are currently the most-utilized social media platforms for small businesses.
Teddie Kossof Salon in Northfield, IL, has successfully used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to engage current clients and attract new customers. According to co-owner Alan Kossof, new and current clients often mention that they saw a post or promotion on one of the salon's social media platforms, and some even say that they saw it after it was shared on a friend's page. For a special Mother's Day promotion on social media, for example, the salon's Facebook page received 32 visits per day on average, compared to 11 visits per day during the rest of the year. The page also received 58 new fans and likes during a 16-day period around Mother's Day, compared to a total of 53 new fans and likes received from January until the end of April. "Social media helps increase visibility," says Kossof. "Our business gets more eyes as clients like or share a post."
Kossof offers these helpful tips to any small business owner, especially in the retail and professional services industries, who wants a more efficient and productive social media strategy:
Create professional pages for each employee to allow them to continue a relationship with their clients outside of the business, without the worry of losing those clients by offending them with posts on their personal page. Kossof is an administrator on each employee's professional page, so he is able to monitor what gets posted in order to prevent potential issues from arising.
Post consistently enough to keep clients engaged and the conversation going, but not every day, which can overwhelm your audience.
Ensure an effective plan is in place before promoting a social media page. Devise a strategy and campaign first, says Kossof, and then officially launch the page when it is ready.
Be professional and avoid expressing personal opinions on non-business-related topics. Also, make sure the language and images that are posted are industry-related and age-appropriate.
Include a variety of posts, such as conversation starters, industry trend-related images and business happenings. Kossof utilizes social media mostly to engage clients and keep them up-to-date on trends in the industry and happenings at the salon. He does include seasonal promotions and contests, which he has found to be effective in attracting new clients, but warns that posting only marketing and promotional items can lead to client disinterest.
In today's digital age, an effective social media plan is an important part of attracting new clients and keeping current clients interested. It is important for any small business to keep in mind that the goal is not to have the most followers or posts per week, but to gain the interest of loyal and active clients and new customers by posting useful and engaging information. Says Kossof: "Social media should be about creating conversations and connections between businesses and consumers."
Nicole Altavilla is a freelance writer with more than seven years of experience writing for B2B publications, including American Spa and American Salon. She resides in New Jersey with her husband and son
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