Lindsay Young

Lindsay Young

We’re approaching month six of experiencing effects of a pandemic on small businesses. Locally, some businesses are open, while others remain closed. Many have pivoted in strategy to continue to generate sales and most have quickly become social media pros.

I think it goes without saying that most small business owners probably feel disconnected from their customer base. With a lack of foot traffic and an increase in curbside or online sales, it’s increasingly difficult for small businesses to connect with their customers and enhance their experience. But fret not. There are still ways that a small business can connect with customers and cultivate relationships through social media. In my quest for pinpointing the best small business social media pages and posts, I’ve picked out some of my top favorite things to consider. While these may not match the opinion of the top social media marketing experts, I believe they are engaging, real and worthwhile suggestions.

Share stories — Relationships are developed by sharing stories. It’s really something I feel we don’t do enough as a society. Tell the story of how your small business came to be. Share some history.

Have an employee highlight — For businesses with employees, they are likely your most important resource. Share achievements, their role in the business and a photo, and celebrate their employment. It’s probably been a difficult six months for them, too. Providing a public, yet virtual, acknowledgment is a great way to promote their efforts and connections with customers.

Be personable, yet professional — There’s nothing worse than reading social media posts that give the impression they were typed by emotionless robots. It’s OK to be relaxed in your writing and provide appropriate humor, giving the impression it was thought out and developed by a real person. After all, you’re not typing a dissertation.

Share good news — If there’s anything the world needs right now, it’s good news. This could be good news about a new product line, employee announcements or achieving sales goals. People need good news.

Go live or post videos — This is a great way to connect with your followers and customers. Some things you can do: have a live question and answer session, share your newest retail lines, let people know the best way to support your business or share what some of your changes have been and ways you’ve overcome challenges. Be positive in your messages.

Ask your customers — There’s no better way to connect to your customer and enhance your customer experience than to ask your customer what they want or need from you. This could be a post, a live feed video, a call to action or a survey. It’s engaging and information-driven.

While these aren’t the end-all-be-all for ways to better connect with your customer base, I feel they are good places to start to foster customer relationships. Now more than ever, maintaining a connection with your customer base is critical and does not go unnoticed.

Lindsay Young the director of the UHV Small Business Development Center. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston-Victoria. The center offers counseling, training and technical assistance to existing and start-up businesses in an 11-county area. To make an appointment for business services or register for a UHV SBDC workshop, call the center at 361-485-4485 or email at sbdc@uhv.edu.

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