Whichever line of business you’re in, you need an audience which you can nurture and hopefully turn into paying customers. Ideally, you want to build a strong and lasting relationship in order to ensure continued interest in what you have to offer. This can be achieved by having an established presence online, aimed at showcasing the human side of your business. Turning to social media for this is a smart and necessary move but is it the best you can do, or is there perhaps a better way of attracting and engaging potential customers online?
Think of any online space – a news website, a crowdfunding platform, or a social network, as if it was real estate. If you’re in, you’re renting, owning, or just passing by.
Renting is ok and gives you a lot of freedom, but long-term, it’s better to be an owner.
The same goes for social media. You’re renting space for your personal or business profile to showcase whatever you have to offer to the world and grab peoples’ attention. The privacy toll you incur is another issue but the advantages of various communities and relations built over the Internet are undeniable.
Running a business page on social media, you’re fighting for the attention of potential but also existing customers, who are being constantly distracted by legions of other content publishers. It’s a shouting game and your voice may not be the loudest in the room.
So, what can you do about it?
Social media hurdles
Again, I’m not trying to rag on social media. They’re what you make of them. Surely, there’s a lot to be gained from using them the right way.
Still, social networks have rules and regulations you have to adhere to. In fact, you’re on someones’ property using them, you’re renting, not owning.
Your potential customers definitely occupy the same space but it’s not always easy for businesses to connect with them while staying within the rules. Some of the issues related to relying solely on social media for your online community include:
- keeping up with posting rules
- policy discrepancies between platforms
- too much user influence over your content, which may affect you negatively (they may force you to remove some of it)
- falling victim to the platform mods misusing their power (appeals are difficult and your entire presence may be affected or even erased)
- having to pay to play at some point in order to stay relevant and compete
I mean, it’s not all that bad, of course, but you have to be at least somewhat aware of the various risks involved. At the same time, it’ll pay off to consider an alternative way of getting socially engaged with your brand fans and potential customers.
Hosting an online community on your terms
Social media presence definitely has a place in your marketing strategy. Eventually though, you should strive to facilitate community building efforts in a space you own and fully control, like your website. This will provide the most freedom and potential for commerce in the long run.
To engage people coming to visit your site, focus on perfecting various text-based content pieces, custom videos and images, email lists, as well as consider implementing some community management software or a social hub.
The latter in particular can become a customized space for people to interact, bond, share ideas, and for you to collect feedback and promote products / services. One of the biggest advantages of a solution like group chat is that customers gain direct access to you without the distractions of ads or other businesses, which social media are flooded with.
Social media platforms have been deeply ingrained in the fabric of society and are very unlikely to go anywhere, so you shouldn’t ditch them altogether when trying to build an online community around your business.
Firmly plant your flag on whichever social networks suit your company profile but never consider that to be a work done.
Eventually, the best thing you can do is use social media as a gateway to your actual site where the bulk of interaction and engagement should occur. You can easily facilitate this with a proven live chat app like ours, allowing site visitors to communicate with you and each other in multiple ways.
Look, it won’t cost you a penny to try, so go ahead and fill out the form below to instantly get access to your own chat and start today. If you have any doubts or questions, feel free to let me know. Otherwise, I wish you luck growing your client base and turning them into a loyal community.