6 social media tools for any size businesses

Social media has become an essential part of the online marketing platform because of its large user base, unique user experience, and ability to interact with existing and potential customers. It is more essential now than ever to use tools that give you insight into your visitors, collect data that helps you improve your social media efforts, and make your marketing efforts more time efficient. We’ve assembled a list of 6 great social media tools that will make this job easier.

Tool #1- FollowerWonk

This tool lets you search Twitter bios, compare individual users, analyze followers, track followers and sort followers. It has an analytics part that lets you identify your followers, know where they are located, and know when they tweet.

The “compare users” lets you see what followers the comparison group has in common and tells you how many of their followers are unique to only them. It also displays a summary of the user’s Twitter profile including followers, days on Twitter, percentage of retweet, percentage of @tweets, and percent of URL tweets. When you compare Twitter accounts it will tell you what accounts follow both users and which ones are unique to a user. This way you can find similarities and target newly discovered Twitter users. All of this information is very useful when comparing your twitter presence to that of your competition’s.

The Track Followers displays an interactive graph that tells you how many new followers and lost followers you got in a day by just moving your mouse over it. It also gives you a plus or minus net follower gain or loss. A bar graph breaks down your follower gain and loss based on the days the event happened.

Another great feature that you can use the analyze tool to segment your followers by most influential, how active a user is, followers that tweeted most recently, account age of followers, and the default language of your followers.

Use this If your social media strategy relies heavily on Twitter. Twitter is an incredible tool and every social media strategy should include a comprehensive Twitter plan.

Tool #2- Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management systems out there. You can manage every single social media account while posting material for each account or at the same time. Use the analytics part of the platform to determine which type of social messages drive the most traffic on each social media outlet.

With Hootsuite you can target Facebook audience based on age, country, gender, interests, and relationship status, education level. With your social media platform specific news feed, you can customize the three columns to display something. For example, in my Facebook news feed I made it to show the wall posts, events, and status updates. You can even assign certain team members to be in charge of one stream.

Hootsuite targeting options
With a click of a button you can select different targeting options depending on your target audience. This should improve your click through rates.

 

You will be able to schedule your posts and use the analytical information that Hootsuite provides to determine when the best time to post is for each social network. It allows you to filter according to your location. You can search for keywords and phrases which makes working in a group or as a team much easier

Can assign certain team members to be in charge of a specific stream. You can create teams and departments very easily, give people certain permission levels, require approval before publishing certain content, and receive notifications when a member of your team responds to messages. This last feature is especially useful in avoiding sending duplicates and allows you to focus on the issues that matter and are occurring at the moment.

Works with your smartphone through a mobile app. You can keep track of your social media campaign and engage with users at all times without needing a laptop or desktop. You can start using Hootsuite for free but you can only integrate 5 profiles and you will not be able to use the Team Member option. Hootsuite is also compatible with other software such as SalesForce, Zendesk, and Marketo.

Tool #3- Tribber

Tribber is a social blogging community that uses other social media outlets. You can search for a keyword and in the stream part will show you the latest posts that match your search. If you find something interesting or want others to know about it, you have the option of following the user and sharing the post. You can follow tribes that interest you called tribes. When you join a tribe you are just an observer and not an active participant. When you follow a tribe, that tribe’s members posts will automatically show up in your stream. You can share other people’s posts, engage with the tribe’s members, and comment on the posts. The Chief of the tribe can promote you to a full-fledged tribe member. This means that all of your posts will appear in full-fledged member’s stream and observer members as well. Those individual members will then have the option to share your posts with their followers, and this is where the true power of Triberr is shown. By creating and joining groups you can greatly increase your social media presence and reach.

For example, lets say you and your friends decide to make a tribe. All 5 of you have different amounts of Twitter followers but it averages out to about 175 Twitter followers each. The total amount of followers for the group would be 875 Twitter followers. This means that each of your posts could have a potential reach of 875 Twitter followers.

Another great feature that Triberr has is what it calls “Bonfires”. A Bonfire is basically a community forum where members can interact with other people outside of their tribe. You can ask questions, get the latest news about Triberr, and organize meetups.

If you are a successful or popular blogger, Triberr gives you another way to monetize that. You can participate in an “influencer marketing campaign”. Influence marketing is when companies or brands hire bloggers to promote their brand, product, or service. A familiar example of this is when brands hire celebrities to endorse their product. After the Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps was in what seemed almost every commercial. Brands where using his popularity and reach to influence a larger quantity of people than they normally could. As a brand ambassador you will be working with a campaign tribe and company for at least 4 weeks, expected to write 3-4 posts per month, and be compensated around $300/month. What makes Triberr unique and very effective is that every time you share a post, every member in your campaign tribe is forced to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. Triberr is great for increasing traffic to your traffic, monetizing your blog, gaining social proof, and did I mention its FREE.

Tool #4- Bit.ly

Bit.ly was established in 2008 and became popular very quickly on Twitter after it became the default URL shortening service used. Bit.ly shortens over one billion links per month.

With Bit.ly you can also shorten branded domain names. This ensures that any sharing will include your branded domain name and promote your brand simultaneously. When your brand or company tweets a link of their latest news or product, you can brand that link.

Another feature is the ability to customize the second half of the link and optimize them for higher click through rates. You can educate your audience about the information they will get when they click on the link by customizing it. This way a user can decide if they are interested in your link or not based on the name. The more relevant the customized part of the link is to the information that the user thinks he will be getting, the higher the click through rate.

It has a real time media map ranks the most popular news sources in each state and displays real-time shares from those 40 publications on the map. You can select from 4 different media types including newspapers, TV and radio, magazines or online only. You can also select a specific state and see what news outlet is most popular in that state.

With all of this potential data that Bit.ly could potentially provide, the reporting and analytics makes everything easy to understand.

bit.ly analytics
This is an example of what the analytic dashboard looks like.

 

It tells you the total amount of clicks, tells you which links have the most clicks on them and provides you with two additional graphs. The first is a Trend graph, which displays the number of links you have posted over the past 6 days, and also shows the amount of clicks corresponding to those 6 days. The other graph displays the Organic link activity for the past 6 days.

Another great feature that makes Bit.ly attractive for Internet marketers is its ability to integrate with other popular software and website content platform. This includes SalesForce, Hubspot and Sprout Social to name a few.

Tool #5- Feedly

Feedly is one of the best tools to keep track of your favorite blogs all in one place. You can search for sites and add them to your Feedly reading list. It will then display all of those sites recent blogs posts. You can click on the individual posts and in one click it will take you to the original website. This is especially useful is you are constantly reading the same blogs such as different marketing blogs. By posting useful and informative comments on other people’s blog, you can generate awareness to your own blog. Following the end of Google Reader, Feedly gained about 500,000 new followers in 48 hours.

Feedly lets you comment on different posts and interact with different communities. Its minimalistic design makes Feedly very aesthetically pleasing, which makes the overall experience that much better. You can organize your news feed in a text-only list or in a more visual way. You can choose the presentation style on your homepage by just clicking on the gear icon towards to top of the page. You can select text only, which looks similar to you typical email layout. You can also select a magazine presentation, which displays the default image set with the blog, and has a medium sized blurb under the image. You can also set it to card presentation, and it will display it like a card. It looks very similar to the magazine presentation option, except that the blurb is much more condensed.

Feedly is ideal for people who read the same blogs daily or are looking for a more organized blog reading experience.

Tool #6- Buffer

This social media tool that allows you to preset scheduling times. You can either post things in real time, or buffer them and have the application automatically post it at the next preset scheduled time. You can easily schedule what times and days your posts will go out. You don’t have to pick the days or times for each post, which allows you to focus on being more engaged with your social media audience. This also prevents having “bad posts” because you felt like you needed to post something. If you find something interesting you can add it to your buffer queue and avoid “bad posts”.

Buffer scheduled post
Making scheduled posts is easy with Buffer. This is from my recently created Buffer account.

Buffer also has this very unique feature that allows you to post by sending an email to a user unique specific address. You add the text you want posted in the subject line and then add any links in the message body.

They have also added a new feature that allows you to add tweets to your Buffer while using Twitter. It will also allow you to retweet the old way where you have the username and tweet in quotes. You can tweet the old school retweet right away or Buffer it. This will allow you to share things while giving credit to the original user who posted it, and will allow you to share other people’s viewpoints.

You can connect the following accounts with Buffer:

  • Facebook Pages
  • Facebook Profiles
  • Facebook Groups
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn Profiles
  • LinkedIn Groups
  • LinkedIn Company Pages
  • App.net Profiles
  • Google+ Pages

The plans vary according to the number of different profiles you want, how many posts can be “buffered” at once, and the different analytical features you get. You can also combine Buffer with your bit.ly account and have your links automatically shorten and become trackable. Ideal for generating traffic through its unique scheduled posting capabilities.

SEO and Online Marketing Changes for 2014

The most consistent part of SEO, as we all know very, very well, is that it is constantly evolving. It’s a simple statement, but it’s a big one that we have to remember to prevent ourselves from getting too comfortable if we think we’re doing it right.

While most of the basic concepts evolve more slowly (link building is still good!), specifics factors within general concepts may be changed (Google can now spot you spamming your own link instead of link building organically). These specifics can directly and quickly affect overall success, especially once the larger concepts start to evolve as well. SEO has already started changing this year—and still is.

Read on to find out what me and my Edmonton SEO company friend have decided will be the SEO and online marketing changes that are happening and what you need to know when it comes to updating your search engine optimization skills in 2014 as well as a few things to keep doing right.

More Traffic is Coming From Long tail Keywords

Individual words used in posts or tags as keywords are called short tail keywords. Long tail keywords are phrases, often detailed in exactly what the page is. Utilizing long tail keywords can help you reach your client more quickly, and can help you end up in front of your target audience more directly.

Example: let’s say you’re searching for a fried catfish recipe. If you Google the word catfish, you get about 10,100,000 results. The first result that pops up is about the Catfish TV show. The second is the wikipedia page for the Catfish TV show. The third is the wikipedia page for the actual fish. On the entire first page is not a single recipe.

The First Page of Results
The First Page of “Catfish” Results

If, on the other hand, you search for “fried catfish recipe,” you end up with about 313,000 results, and what you’re looking for starts at the top of the first results page! Added bonus: Google has sorted through them all, so the most tried and highest ranked recipes even show up first!

The First Page of
The First Page of “Fried Catfish Recipe” Results

As a user who has figured this out after a search or two, would you search for “catfish” or “fried catfish recipe?” You would use the whole phrase, aka the longtail keyword. This part of SEO reverts to the “think like your customer” rule.

Not only does a longtail keyword tend to put you in front of your direct target audience and helps you to not get lost in the abyss of the Internet, there’s another huge and understated advantage to using them.

If someone types “book” into the search engine, they could be looking for anything. They could want a romance novel, a classic novel, a cook book, or anything else ever published. They might not even really know what they want yet. Someone who, on the other hand, searches for “3rd edition Bleak House by Charles Dickens” is looking for something overwhelmingly specific. They know exactly what they want, and they are much farther along in the buying cycle. You want as much traffic to get to your site as possible, yes, but you also want your visitors to be as far along in the buying cycle as possible. Using longtail keywords helps you do just this, telling search engines exactly what you are, what searches your website is relevant for, and what audience to put your page in front of.

You Can’t Trick the Algorithm

The algorithm got smarter. Google engineers are constantly working on improving the algorithm, and they’re consistently doing just that. It’s one of the biggest parts of what makes SEO such a challenge to keep up with over time. You can no longer trick the algorithm into thinking you’ve done some strong link building when you’ve just spammed your site a bunch of times—it can now spot it and actually reduce your ranking because of it.

Google’s current algorithm incorporates version 4.0 of the panda update. It has just recently been released, and was designed in order to prevent sites with lesser quality content from ending up in high search rankings. As discussed in an article by Barry Schwartz,

“Panda 4.0 must be a major update to the actual algorithm versus just a data refresh. Meaning, Google has made changes to how Panda identifies sites and has released a new version of the algorithm today.

Is this the softer and gentler Panda algorithm? From talking to Google, it sounds like this update will be gentler for some sites, and lay the groundwork for future changes in that direction.”

Even if they aren’t uploading major overhauls, Google is constantly applying updates to their algorithms, ensuring that what they consider to be the best quality sites are the ones actually making it to the top of their results page.

Social Media Sites Have Become Search Engines

More and more people are using social networking sites as search engines. Done right, social networking sites can not only successfully drive traffic to your site in high volumes, they can also be essential to helping you build a stronger brand than ever.

Users are now sometimes looking up a company on Twitter or Facebook before they try to Google them. Not only does this reiterate how crucial it is to take advantage of the opportunity that is social networking, it makes a big statement about brand building. Users want to see the personal touch, the up close and personal look into your business that they are (or believe to be) more likely to see on your Facebook page than anywhere else. This is the part where SEO starts to get more personal—when the users want to get more personal and start basing their searches off of that.

Use marketing strategies designed for social networking sites in order to boost interest in your page as well as your social media search engine rankings. I Some experts actually believe that social media marketing may surpass SEO in terms of finding new clients. n the long run, with people using Facebook and Twitter instead of Google, making sure you’re ready for your customers in whatever way they want to reach you can make all the difference in the world.

Target Topics, Not Necessarily Keywords

Again: think like your customer. A customer doesn’t necessarily think in keywords. Keywords, as established by just about every SEO resource available, are still hugely important. I’m not saying not to use them and not to put emphasis on them, because (at least for right now) you definitely should. But we also need to expand our thinking past just using keywords and letting that be it. By focusing on keywords, you are focusing on rankings, which is understandable and not entirely wrong. However, putting more focus on topics means you’re putting more focus on customers.

SEO has always been trying to be ranked the highest for the keywords you choose. That’s still important. Sometimes, however, as Rand Fishkin puts it, this can lead to ignoring content, social, and email marketing opportunities. He has an incredible video (and transcript below) talking about why focusing on a topic instead of individual keywords can help revolutionize your SEO campaign. He discusses using groups of keywords and phrases to focus on one topic, as well as creating good content and improvement instead of focusing on pumping out landing page after landing page.

Content Is Valued Higher Than Ever

This stays consistent with the trends seen in recent SEO history. In order to achieve high search engine rankings, your site absolutely has to be content driven, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Utilize social networking sites to distribute content marketing efforts; if your content is good, users will share it and distribute it on their own.

Again, the new Panda update to the Google algorithm was designed, first and foremost, to weed out poor quality content from resulting in the top search engines. It doesn’t matter so much anymore that you have mediocre content that’s not relevant—it won’t cut it for the top results page.

Blogs are just as essential as ever. Just as with social networking, the key to a strong blog is good content that’s uploaded frequently. Blogs help you build your brand, get to know and talk more directly with your audience, and establish your credibility and expertise in your industry’s field.

It’s also important to make sure your content consistently includes strong keywords. This includes using variations and different phrasings of keywords, making sure your basis is covered no matter how your customers try to search for you. This has been true, but its importance has increased as more and more people are successfully incorporating keywords into their URLS, headlines, and content.

Content shouldn’t just be really good, it should also be of relatively substantial size now. Search engines are increasingly favoring content when there is more of it. Articles and blog posts should a minimum of 1,500 words (1,000 if you’re really stretching). After all, it’s easy to get together a couple hundred words for a post—it takes much more time and dedication to get over 1,000, and priority here is given to time and effort.

More People Have Gone Mobile

I was against smart phones forever (largely due to cost), and I finally even caved in and got one. While I still prefer a desktop or a laptop if it’s available to me, I (like a lot of people today) am constantly on the go and end up using my phone for all kinds of things. I can download a recipe right in the grocery store if I’ve forgotten my list, and use conversion sites to figure out how to make a dinner for six a dinner for three, all in under a minute. More importantly, of course, I’ve made online purchases via my phone.

Technology is changing rapidly, and we’re becoming an increasingly mobile world. An article on CNN  reports that usage of mobile apps has surpassed PC internet usage as of early 2014. It is now mandatory that your site is accessible to mobile devices.

Creating apps for your site can be helpful for customers, but first and foremost test your site. You should either have a version of your site designed solely for mobile users, or make sure that your current site operates on all versions of mobile devices (tablets and smart phones included) and as many browsers as possible (Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc). Not having your site accessible to mobile devices means you’ll lose business, and a lot of it.

When you design your mobile site, use the practices you already do to increase SEO ratings. Utilize link building and keyword heavy text and headlines. Use standard coding (html) and have relevant descriptions of your site.

What To Keep Doing Right

So we know now what needs to be tweaked and toyed with in 2014. What you’ve just read is a list of things to either completely change or adjust a little, depending on where your SEO campaign currently stands. That’s all well and great, but what about everything else we already know about SEO?

The good news is that a lot of factors SEO, despite the reminder that it is always changing, have stayed relatively the same. At least for now it has, anyways!

  • Organic link building still takes time
  • Link building is still important. It still reflects on credibility and quality.
  • Search engine optimization in general still takes time, and there’s no rushing it and doing it overnight. Don’t try. Just don’t. It’s a long process, but a worthwhile one.
  • Website crawlability is still important to ensure your website is ranked well.
  • Keyword research as remained stagnant. We lost Google’s Keyword Tool, which was replaced by Google’s                    Keyword Planner (which is only for those with Adwords campaigns), but there are still lots of other good tools out there like Wordstream
  • You still want to put keywords in a lot of places. URLS, headings, tags, and several times within the content itself. Even though emphasis has to be put in other places too, keywords are still crucial to SEO.

Build Trust in Your Brand Using Social Media

Building trust and rapport with customers (and potential customers) is crucial when you’re creating and reinforcing your brand. It converts visitors into new clients and existing customers into loyal ones. Social networking sites are more up close and personal by nature, and constantly updating Facebook and Twitter with blatant advertising isn’t the way to build trust in your brand. Using social media, you can take advantage of the personal touch it provides to build confidence and faith in your brand and your company, ensuring that you’re taking yourself accountable for creating a great company and fantastic products.

Good Content

This is the ubiquitous rule when it comes to any kind of marketing campaigns, especially with social networking sites, and it’s true when it comes this. Having good content is essential when you’re building your brand as well as when you’re building trust in it. Having meaningful content posted on your site will keep people checking back. The more they know about a company, the more they will likely grow to trust it, assuming you’re able to hit some other areas of this list.

Tell a Story

This applies to good content. Telling a story can help shift a perspective from statistics to examples. Most people don’t bat an eye at the statistics because all they see is numbers. With a story, however, people become quickly and deeply invested in the life of someone else; the statistics have names and faces and whole lives and families. If you walk into a jewelry store looking to have your grandmother’s diamond reset into a custom ring, you don’t want to necessarily hear that they do three custom pieces a week. You’d feel much better, however, if you saw pictures of the three carat, pear shaped diamond pendant the jeweler made from scratch the week before, especially if the happy owner was wearing it and grinning from ear to ear. Posting these pictures and the customer’s story on Facebook (maybe she just had her 30th wedding anniversary!) will give viewers confidence in your product and see that you care about your clients enough to care about their anniversary. Win-win.

Overtime, your customers will hopefully start to share their stories, likely (hopefully) posting a thank you note or a picture at the bottom of it. Other clients indirectly assuring new or potential customers that you’re company is worth doing business with is a huge asset for you. Make sure you take advantage of it, graciously thanking the customer for their post.

Be Transparent

Honesty is the best policy. Or at least, being transparent with clients is the best policy. The Internet has officially changed the world, and nothing is really private anymore. News and ideas spread faster than ever before. Even the not so important ones, like the “Had such a craving for a diet Pepsi!” tweets and status updates we’ve all seen. This, like the story telling, can help people see your brand and your company as having real people behind it. Whether this happens through story telling, apologizing for mistakes, or encouraging customers to share their experiences (thanking them for praise and offering solutions and apologies for the bad), transparency creates trust.

Perhaps the most difficult struggle with transparency comes into play with the critical remarks that surface about your product or company. You will almost certainly be criticized, whether it’s justified or not. Unhappy people are more likely to go on the Internet to speak their minds than those who are content and happy. While it’s never easy to hear negative remarks about something you’ve put your soul into, it’s better to guide that conversation towards something productive instead of snowballing into something truly harmful.

Be Involved

It’s important to show that you care about more than just selling your product. Being part of your community is crucial to building a community for your business. People like businesses that show social responsibility and give back, whether it’s time or money. It doesn’t have to be on such a monumental scale you go bankrupt, but make sure it’s an effort proportional to your business and brand. Large chains like Kay Jewelers are able do this on a massive scale (last year providing St. Jude’s with a check for 4.8 million dollars). Every time a customer makes a purchase, they are asked if they want to donate to St. Jude’s, and at several points during the year, small gifts (like stuffed animals and mothers day cards) are sold with the profits going entirely to St. Jude’s.

On the scale of a small local business, Sizzors Hair Salon in Florida hosts events like purse auctions, where women drop off their “gently loved” handbags and they are auctioned off. Drinks are provided, participating members get a discount on their next haircut, and all the proceeds go to charity. With a little effort, you’d be surprised what events or products you can dream up to help both a charity and your marketing campaign at the same time. After all, if people check in at your event or mention it, that’s free advertising.

Make sure that on Facebook, you’re not only posting pictures, thank you’s, and success stories for these efforts, but also that you’re advertising them. It can increase your success, and it can show how much effort you’re putting into helping your community. If you make it easy and beneficial to participate, everyone will be just as excited about it as you are.

Be Appreciative

Thank your users for answering questions (even if it’s a general post). Thank users for kind comments or tweets on your page. Thank coworkers or fellow experts who assisted you in any way. Thank you to everyone who came out to your event for charity. Showing gratitude and sharing credit where due is a good way to show potential clients that you value everyone who’s helped you get to where you are and everyone who is helping you now. People like to be appreciated.

Say thank you. It’s really as simple as that.

Interact With Users

Social networking sites are designed to be social. In other words, for people to interact with each other.

People don’t get on Facebook to choose where they want to buy their insurance or to find lotion. They go on social networking sites to be entertained. They want to have fun, so give them something fun! Make sure that you’re updating frequently to keep their interest, but quality is always valued over quantity. Create videos (posting them on all of your social media sites for best access) that are entertaining for people to watch. If you have apps, share them and advertise them (but not shamelessly or repeatedly). Offer information on new products in a fun, lighthearted (nonaggressive) way. Every so often, have a contest or a sweepstakes where people have the chance to win a prize if they do something in return for you. People like to be entertained, and everyone loves getting something free. When someone responds, respond back. Turn it into a conversation instead of a post. All of these methods encourage users to interact with you.

Being able to incorporate both cleverness and humor can be hugely helpful in gaining customers interest. Being able to make someone laugh helps give your brand a more personal feel, and being on social media shouldn’t overtly be strictly about business. Getting people to laugh can build relationships and rapport, which is an enormous step in getting someone to have trust in your brand.

Share Plans

Let’s say you and your significant other need a new car and have decided to go with a Prius Hybrid for the gas mileage, but your significant other shows up two days later with a Mercedes (which, yes, is a beautiful car, but not so nice on the gas). Are you going to be particularly pleased? No. No you’re not.

If your company is ready to make some changes, let the world know and be excited about them. Maybe you’re going to expand and open more stores. Maybe you’re going to start carrying a new line of products. If you share the news, customers will feel more in the loop and instead of feeling like something has been sprung on them. Sharing your news yourself also lets you guide the conversation and pick the tone you want to go with instead of letting someone else choose it for you.

Teach Instead of Sell

Social media is not the place to attempt the hard sell. You’ll get yourself unfriended, unliked, unfollowed, and blocked faster than you can ask if they’d like to go ahead and make that purchase today. Repetitively spamming followers with the “exciting opportunity” to make purchases is exactly what you don’t want to do.

By taking the time to advise and teach your followers instead of trying to sell them something, you’ll gain more of their trust. You are, after all, helping them out by giving them reliable information when someone else is just trying to get money from them. Provide links to your blog that answers questions, make how-to videos, answer questions with thought and detail, and create how-to videos. Not only does this show your interest in helping your clients, building that relationship and that trust, it also demonstrates your expertise and reaffirms your expert status in your chosen field. Having customers trust your advice because you’ve proven yourself is a massive accomplishment, so take advantage of the opportunity to do so.

Learn What Customers Want

When you have your target audience right in front of you, wouldn’t you ideally want to ask them what they’re looking for in a company and a product? I would certainly hope so, at least. Everyone loves to be asked what they want, especially if they think they might get it! This goes for products as well as content, and getting direct, honest feedback from your already interested target audience is priceless information that some companies spend exorbitant amounts of money to attempt to get. Cherish it and take advantage of it.

Ask Questions (For a Variety of Reasons)

Part of this, yes, is to learn what customers want. Just as importantly, however, asking questions openly (and often successfully) encourages other users to respond. Getting customers so engaged they actually answer your questions is a sign of interest, and getting them so engaged is opening a door to building their trust.

It’s flattering to be asked your opinion, even on a large scale, and a lot of people aren’t able to resist. Asking for feedback, asking what customers want in the future, or asking what users are doing for Christmas are all equally valid questions to ask (though some may be more beneficial to your business directly, all of them help your brand). Not only does it show that you care about your customers and what they want, it gets people talking with you instead of about you, giving you the chance to create a discussion. Again, it’s all about engaging people and interacting with them, not talking at them, and having an earnest exchange is essential to building rapport. Your company starts to be seen as people, not as a business just out for profit.

Don’t Forget About Appearance

When you go to a slow, lagging site that has “Coming Soon!” written under every thumbnail, you may lose interest and trust in the company. If they can’t keep their website up to date, how would they take care of you as a customer?!

Don’t make this mistake. Keep your pages looking clean and fresh. Keep content updated often. Customize a background and/or layout if you can, depending on the social media platform. Respond to people who have posted. Make sure your site itself is up to date, so when people inevitably follow your link on your social media back to your business’s main website, it looks clean, free of grammatical and spelling errors, and exactly like what you want your brand to be. Having a consistent and well-kept appearance is a big step in customers gaining faith in your brand.