Bridging the Gap: Effectively Connecting With Consumers Online

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and email make keeping customers, clients and loyal subscribers informed about news at your organization easier than ever before. But despite the variety of media and technology platforms, most organizations and businesses struggle to maximize these resources.

Building an online following is about more than posting pictures, or sending daily updates. Like every aspect of business development, effective social networking requires careful attention and a focused, well-articulated theme or message.

Streamline Your Email Newsletters

It’s tempting to inundate your audience with daily emails about everything from promotional sales to product changes. This is a mistake. Frequently sent emails become associated with spam. Email marketing companies typically have rules in place to prevent their clients from inadvertently spamming their clients – it helps to think of your own email inbox and how quickly it clogs with spam.

clip_image002

· Focus your newsletter, or email, to once or twice a month.

· Organize the information. For example, “What’s New,” “Sales and Promotions” and “Industry Updates” can all be categories.

· Give readers, or customers, an incentive to read through the email by including a coupon at the end.

Facebook

Facebook enjoys around 900 million monthly active users. That’s a goldmine for the media-savvy marketer. Facebook is a good way to automatically insert yourself onto the newsfeed of your followers without sending emails or promotional brochures, but that doesn’t mean you should post daily updates without a purpose.

· Announce new product arrivals alongside pictures of your staff or satisfied customers.

· Facebook is about exchange and engagement, so invite your followers to engage by holding contests for new product names or asking questions related to your business. For example, if your business sells green cleaning products, post a Facebook message asking others which of your products they like the most. This will facilitate an online discussion among your audience and draw attention to your business Facebook page.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a great way to expand on your organization, while offering valuable information to your online audience. Let’s say your company sells fly fishing equipment. Pinterest gives you the perfect opportunity to educate your customers in an interest-related area while showcasing your merchandise visually.

clip_image004

· Be subtle, make the focal point about the hobby, but mention your products as they relate to specifics. For example, “Using a broader piece, like the Catchfly22, allows you to cover more surface area on the water.”

· Create Pinterest group boards for each facet of your business. For example, if you own an organic pet supply store, feature separate Pinterest boards on food & nutrition, grooming and toys. This will allow you to reach a broader consumer audience of pinners.

Twitter

Twitter is one of the trickier social media outlets to use for business because your content is limited to a few hundred characters per post. The bottom line is: keep your tweets regular and meaningful.

· Twitter is ideal for announcements. For example, “Just in time for summer…Newest colors of Balliboo shorts!” – Along with the announcement, tweet a picture of the new shorts spread in a colorful arch across the store counter. This keeps your audience aware of new merchandise, and excited about purchasing it for the upcoming season.

Each of these social media outlets is only as powerful as your overarching communication strategy. Strategize about when to post, email and tweet so that you can coordinate the messages and media content.

For example, if you want to promote a new brand of athletic clothing that just arrived, make sure to reiterate that news through every social media outlet without making every post identical.

You can tweet a picture of the new clothing in colorful piles and post a picture on your Pinterest board of an employee wearing a new shirt, along with a description of a few local biking routes.

Reinforcing your synchronized message through multiple social media outlets makes it more powerful, and more likely to be absorbed by your audience.

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

4 Comments

Filed under Business Applications, Business Development, Guest Writers, Social Networks

4 responses to “Bridging the Gap: Effectively Connecting With Consumers Online

  1. Bill/Grady,
    Nice article. I’m starting to use Twitter now, to promote my blog…it’s going slow, but I just started. The trick is to get a lot of followers before using Twitter as a promotion tool will be effective. I’m wrestling with the “lot of followers” part right now.
    Best,
    Paul

  2. Grady,
    Any tips on developing a Twitter following? It seems to me that is the first step in being able to implement your excellent tips.
    Best,
    Paul