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MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
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5 Ways Your Business Can Build Better Customer Relationships with Social Media

As many people stay home, social media presents a great opportunity for small businesses to reach customers. Knowing how to leverage the right platforms is more important than ever.

“Social channels are a way for small businesses to differentiate themselves,” says Camryn Okere, founder of St. Louis-based Rem and Company, which provides marketing, user experience and strategy guidance to small businesses. “Increasing transparency is powerful, especially now. Customers want to know what’s going on with their favorite small businesses, but they also want ways to connect with those business owners, especially since visiting in person isn’t always possible.”

Here are some pro tips from Camryn at Rem and Company that will help your business use social media to better connect with customers. You’ll provide value and build a lasting following that you can send further down your sales funnel.

1. Be active on social media

It’s easy to say you’re too busy to develop a social media strategy. But realize that the internet is your storefront and that not having a presence on social media is a huge missed opportunity. So start simply.

Camryn’s tip: Start with one social media platform where you and your customers will feel comfortable interacting. Better yet, choose the platform your customers interact with the most and offers the most ROI for your efforts. Make sure your account is in business mode and include your contact information.

Check your account at least once a day to respond to any messages or comments. Social media is a great way to get your message out, but customers depend on it for responses, too, such as questions about products, operating hours, returns and more.

2. Post positive messages and user-generated content

Whether you’re posting content or replying to a customer, be respectful and upbeat. And don’t keep those customer comments to yourself. If someone posts positive info about your business, ask if you can repost it. This gives other customers (and potential buyers) insight into how you interact with customers.

Camryn’s tip: Here’s an example of this in action: If you own a clothing brand, posting user-generated content is a great way to show how your clothes look on real people. Again, this is about cultivating a relationship with the folks who support your business, and social media is a key way for your business to achieve that.

Social media apps on a smartphone

3. Add value with tips and tricks

When people follow you on social media, they want something you offer.

Perhaps you share daily specials, cute photos of your business, genuinely useful tips relating to your industry or product, or user-generated content.

Camryn’s tip: Create posts that highlight your products in their natural habitats. For example, if you own a restaurant, you can post about the history of your cuisine. A jewelry shop could post about what accessories pair with certain outfits. These tips engage your current followers and entice new users to follow you—and eventually become loyal customers who could potentially be free promoters of your brand.

4. Create calls to action

When your posts include calls to action, they encourage followers to engage in a dialogue with you. And isn’t building connections what social media is all about?

Camryn’s tip: Consider asking your followers a question, setting up a poll or offering an incentive for users to provide an anecdote about your products or services. For example, a makeup brand could ask about beauty routines and how people use its products. This encourages conversation among followers, increases engagement and tells the social media algorithms to show your post to more people.

5. Offer exclusive promotions

Following a business on social media should come with perks. Offer special promotions to your followers. These promotions should have a sense of urgency, like a deadline or a limited number of customers who can get the offer. The promo could be an exclusive discount or a free add-on that thanks followers for their support. Customers get a little something extra, and you build affinity for your brand.

Camryn’s tip: Don’t let social media intimidate you. It’s a lot like interacting with a customer in person.

“Think about social media not in terms of marketing, but in terms of connecting with your customer base,” she says. “These open channels of communication make customers feel heard and like they’re a part of your venture. These connections will serve you well.”

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