Whether you operate a small retail store, a business office, a restaurant or spa, your customers are using social media and could be talking about you, your services and your company. I found that out recently, during the month of May this past year, when we launched our Complexions Facebook page. Facebook is a public profile that lets you share your business and products with the Facebook users. Your “fans” can interact with your Facebook Page and drive awareness of your business by sharing stories with their networks. Today we have close to 200 “fans” and it’s growing strong. When we initially launched our page we used our email club to drive people to our Facebook page using the incentive of a contest. We asked our clients to comment about what they liked most about Complexions. We had more than 60 comments with in a few days. It was incredibly exciting to read what our clients had to say about us. We were also able to use quite a few of the comments in some recent advertising and testimonials on our website. I think it strengthens our bond with our clients to promote and cultivate a community where we can engage with hundreds of others who share in our passion for all things spa and salon – be it organic facials or hydrotherapy massages. Our customers and potential new customers are flocking to social media where personal “referrals” or word of mouth recommendations, review and references carry more weight than paid advertising.
It’s not just for young adults and teens either…The Pew Internet & American Life Project December 2008 survey found the share of adult Internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years from 8% in 2005 to 35% in 2008. To see who is using Facebook today, check out the chart entitled “The Road to 200 Million” published alongside Brad Stone’s article commemorating the social-networking milestone in the March 29th New York Times.
Social networking sites are ideal for reaching into and beyond your network. It also lets you connect to customers and potential customers for little to no cost. Additionally we use our Facebook page to let our customers know about our calendar of upcoming events, and last minute openings and opportunities at the spa.
We’ve learned the value of our Facebook page first hand. Social marketing is a game-changing phenomenon that is here to stay. I see less and less print forms of advertising in the very near future for us. In fact, we have already cut way back and saved thousands of advertising dollars by doing so! Every dollar saved equals another dollar re-invested back into what we do best – help people look and feel their absolute best. What’s more, less print /direct mail also compliments our commitment to green, environmentally friendly business building practices.
So… if you’re interested in having a two-way conversation with your customers, if you’re ready to deliver value both online and off, if you’re ready to hear first hand how well (or un-well) the experiences and products you offer performed their primary purpose… then you’re more than ready to experience the thrill (and sometimes agony) of true customer-centric business development.