Reaching new clients can be difficult for any small business who is competing against larger and better capitalized competitors. Over the last 5 years, however, the proliferation of social media has greatly reduced the costs for savvy business owners to reach their potential customers directly at virtually no cost. To reach new customers via social media, however, one cannot simply publish business press releases and hope that customers will eventually find them. Rather, in this article we will explore specific actionable techniques to reach new clients.
Quality Content for Quality Clients
Social media connections in the business context largely revolve around content. If people or businesses do not have anything to share, then they do not make connections with others. Therefore, the first step to attracting new clients via social media is to generate shareable content on that platform. Obviously, generating entirely unique content every day is difficult, but thankfully in most cases there are viable shortcuts. For most Facebook and Twitter users (or a user on any social platform, really), repurposing or reposting content from other sources is more than sufficient. Some businesses can easily use this method to generate daily posts that attract impressions. But if a business really wants to make the most use out of social media, original content to supplement repurposed content is a basic requirement.
Creating original content is easy to accomplish once or twice. However, if it’s not a part of someone’s job description, original content creation is the sort of cumbersome and difficult task that often gets put on the back burner.
Many larger companies will employ writers, videographers, and graphic designers to create unique and original content for their social media channels. Smaller companies don’t have that luxury, but they can task someone who has downtime during the day to dedicate 5-10 hours per week to creating and publishing original content on social media.
When considering an employee to designate, remember that in general, visual content does very well on social media. Infographics, short videos, and comics are shared and consumed more often than articles or text based content. Therefore, selecting a person with some technical ability or at a minimum a tech savvy person is likely to be the most successful.
Social Media Advertising
Plenty of marketing professionals are comfortable using established social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for unpaid marketing. But paid advertising is still relatively new to these platforms. That’s in part intentional. In fact, Facebook notoriously spurned advertising for years in order to build a large and loyal customer base. As some of these large platforms have transformed into publicly traded companies, their previous refusal to accept advertising is starting to change, and business owners would be wise to participate in this advertising while it is still a relative bargain.
Advertising on social media platforms is a cheap option for online advertising. While Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is incredibly effective for almost any industry, it can be very expensive. Keywords related to the credit card processing field, for example, can be among the most expensive with some phrases like “high risk credit card processing” commanding as much as $25 per click. Social media advertising, on the other hand, is much cheaper and allows for a greater degree of demographic targeting. For some industries the cost per lead (CPL) via search engine advertising can be as much as 100 times the CPL for social media advertising.
Identify Existing Groups Interested In Your Company’s Speciality
Countless niche groups exist on social media, in which aficionados of even the narrowest sets of products or services congregate. Identifying those groups whose passions overlap with your company’s expertise and marketing directly to them is a particularly effective way to reach new customers via social media. More specifically, through groups, pages, and hashtags, it should be easy to identify a group of people that might be interested in your set of businesses, and for those groups it is worthwhile to invest the time to actively participate in those groups. For example, if you focus on providing merchant accounts to nutraceutical businesses (as we do), joining a nutraceutical association industry group page and contributing to the discussion there will help you identify and develop brand awareness with future clients. Or to use a less direct approach, you might join a group dedicated to natural health and contribute advice related to payments and credit card processing.
Customize Your Page
Early in social media, platforms gave users a similar profile and minimum customization options. MySpace was one of the first social media platforms to give users substantial customization options, helping to fuel its meteoric rise to popularity in the early 2000s. For businesses today, customizing a social media page helps it stand out from competitors. Wherever possible, companies should custom design their own profiles and pages. Of course, this does not mean that every page should contain wacky photos and obscenely bright color palettes. Rather, a graphic designer can probably make your social media profiles look professional and unique in a few hours, for a couple hundred dollars.
Social media platforms are an affordable way for businesses to hyper target and reach new customers. Succeeding in business development through social media, however, requires some effort and commitment, as well as knowhow. Though much of social media is still largely unfamiliar territory for many businesses, a few strategies have proven to be incredibly effective. Following the four strategies outlined in this article will make your social media efforts more effective and potentially lead to new clients.