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Think about all the places you’ve seen a Facebook or Twitter icon. Perhaps it was on a print advertisement. Or maybe a business colleague includes one in the signature of his or her e-mail messages. Certainly it was on that website you just visited.
Simply put, social media and social networking icons are almost inescapable today and are now as common as website addresses in promotional materials and e-mail addresses on business cards. And for good reason! These sites have evolved from simple personal pages where individuals share details on their lives to all-out marketing tools where businesses can inform visitors of their products and services.
As most would agree, having an online presence is essential to remain competitive and grow your business. This includes not only a company website, but interactive social media and networking pages such as those offered by Facebook, Twitter and others. These sites are your voice to your customers and prospective customers, and they give you and your staff a more personable image that most websites simply cannot create. They also help create a buzz about your service and a forum for your customers to interact with you and amongst themselves.
Go Beyond Creating Just “A Page”
Just having a Facebook or Twitter page, though, doesn’t necessarily equate to increased sales and site traffic. On the contrary, it could have little or no effect if your business doesn’t keep it engaging and worth revisiting. Sure, most of your customers will visit the page initially. But what does it offer to entice them to come back? Information on your services? Yes, that’s beneficial to new visitors, but not necessarily for current customers. Contact information and a link to your website? Again, great for new customers, who probably don’t need to return to the page for this. A few wall posts from prospective customers inquiring about your services? Probably not.
As with any successful website, it’s imperative to keep the social media page lively, updated and interactive. It’s more than just a static online advertisement. It has the functionality to do much more than that, such as help your business boost the number of its appointments and reservations.
Announce a Discount, Add a Scheduling Link
Many service-based businesses quickly learned that posting discounts, coupons, last-minute deals and other incentives on their Facebook page or as a Tweet is a surefire way of generating traffic and, ultimately, sales. A growing number that utilize cloud-based appointment-scheduling and reservation-booking software applications have combined the two for an even more effective way of attracting their customers and quickly finalizing the sale.
It’s all about convenience in today’s Internet world, and who wouldn’t appreciate the ability to schedule an appointment immediately upon learning of a fantastic deal or promotion a spa, salon, massage therapist or other service provider is offering. By creating a “Schedule Now” tab in Facebook or placing a link to your online scheduler in a Tweet, you make it easy for your customers to book their appointments without having to navigate to your main site or manually open a new window.
Create One Integrated Marketing & Transaction Channel
For those businesses that require payment from customers when they schedule an appointment—and have an online payment system in place—the entire marketing and sales transaction can be finalized through one channel: your social networking page. They can view details on a particular service, schedule it and pay for it with just a few mouse clicks…and without having to type in other website addresses, pick up the phone, or send an e-mail.
Social media sites are not just a place to post company info and share photos. They’re the perfect spot to expand your sales and marketing campaigns and quickly connect with your customers.