All small business owners know that word-of-mouth marketing is super powerful, but if you can get your customers talking about you on social media, that’s HUGE— it’s just like traditional word-of-mouth marketing, but ON DRUGS! But your customers won’t just start talking about your small business on their Facebook page or Twitter account, they’ll need some encouraging and maybe even some incentives. Here’s how to get your customers talking about your biz on social media.
1. ASK THEM to do it
It’s easy as that! If you want your customers to do something, ask them to–in a nice way, of course! The key is to encourage them to share their photos and experience without begging them to spread your name across their social channels. Using phrases like “share your experience with us on Twitter” and “tag us in your photos on Instagram” while including a link or your user name will let them know that you’d love to chat with them on social media.
Some fun ways to ask your customers to start talking about you:
• If you own a salon, write a message on each mirror
• If you create baked goods, add a social media tag to your treats prompting them to take a photo
• If you’re a travel agent, encourage your past clients to write a review on your Facebook page with a prompt in your email newsletter
2. Share their stories
By starting to share your customers’s stories, you’ll find that more and more will start to share yours too. Post content that revolves around your loyal customers, letting a select few shine (as long as they agree, of course). People love being “famous” for a few moments, and will often share anything that they’re a part of— great for word of mouth marketing!
Some fun ideas for sharing your customers’ stories:
• If you’re a make up artist, share a photo of your client’s new look on your Instagram account
• If you have an Etsy shop, share a story of how one of your customers used your product in a unique way
• If you own a dog walking business, share photos of your pooches in adorable poses (and send me a link because I would LOVE TO SEE THAT!)
It’s important to note that you should always get permission before taking and posting a photo of anyone where their face is visible, whether a customer or not, and especially for anyone under 18. It would be worth having a brief photo release form on hand to be signed, just to cover yourself. If they shared the photo on the internet themselves, you’re good to go!
3. Give them an incentive
You’ll find your customers will be really excited to talk about you on social media if you give them some kind of incentive to. Think about doing a monthly giveaway for the best Instagram photo, a discount on their next order if they leave a review on Facebook, or even just offer them the chance to get some “Insta-fame” by offering to re-gram their photo on your Instagram account.
4. When they do talk about you, make them feel special
I get so sad when I see a small business just retweeting their customer’s nice tweets instead of actually engaging with them in some way, or thanking them! When someone says something nice about your business, be sure to not only thank them but to also try to keep the conversation going.
The easiest way to do this, just like when having a conversation in real life, is by asking them a question, like “what was your favourite part of your meal here?” They’ll feel as if you’re treating them like a friend and not a sales opportunity, and that’s just good customer service. They’ll also be encouraged to talk about you everytime they visit or make a purchase.
5. Create a unique hashtag
If you’re active on Twitter and Instagram, creating a hashtag is a fun way to not only get your customers to start talking about you but it also makes it easier for you to track when they are. So consider creating a hashtag that incorporates your brand name or one of your core values. A fun example of this is toilet roll brand Charmin’s #tweetfromtheseat hashtag… hopefully you understand what that means without me having to explain!
To get your customers to start using your new hashtag, include it in all of your own posts, any marketing material, in your Twitter and Instagram bios and with mentions of your social channels.
6. Create an experience they’ll want to share on social media
Create an experience that makes it irresistible to NOT take a photo to post on Facebook. My favourite example of this is the “Press for Champagne” button at Bob Bob Ricard restaurant in London— I mean, how can you NOT take a photo of yourself pushing a button that will result in Champagne being delivered to your table?
• If you own a fashion boutique, get creative with your shopping bag. Go with a really unique shape or print something cheeky like “where my paycheck went this month” on the sides.
• If you’re a dentist, set up a mini photo-booth where parents can take photos of their kids showing off their shiny new smiles
• If you own a coffee shop, serve drinks in interesting cups and train your staff to create some unique foam art— coffee is one of the most photographed things on Instagram!
Are you struggling with getting your customers to interact with you on social media? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.