Social_Media_Communication_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.

Today’s customers check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites several times a day. Every time they do, they expect to see fresh content. That gives small business owners multiple opportunities to connect with current and potential customers. Read on to discover how these five key types of social media communication can boost customer engagement and interest.

1. Announcements and customer service

Think of social media as a hyper-local newspaper. People rely on social media to discover what’s new and exciting in the communities they’re interested in. Announce your special events, sales, milestone achievements, staffing changes, and more via social media to help your customers stay informed. Use it as a tool to notify followers of possible service issues, such as down phone lines or parking issues near your business. Use “save the date” posts in advance of big events so that followers are aware of what’s happening, and send out a reminder as you get closer.

2. Video

Over 80 percent of all online content will be video by 2019, according to a recent report issued by Cisco Systems. Present tutorials, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, and funny videos for best results. The most shareable videos are short (under two minutes) and have a strong emotional hook. Remember to be authentic; a video that accurately reflects what your business stands for will provide real value.

Social_Media_Communication_PQ.jpg3. Infographics and imagery

Never forget that the vast majority of people are checking social media on their smartphones or other mobile devices. Images trump text in this environment. Infographics combine helpful or interesting information with eye-catching graphics. Use them as tutorials, to share surprising facts, or to compare different products.

4. Content shares

Linking to informative, educational, or entertaining content is a social media staple. Make sure to share your own content, such as blog entries or popular posts on other platforms, as well as content from industry leaders and influential news sites.

Sharing content is great, but by adding your own insights or commentary, it makes your posts even more valuable to your readers. For the small, local business, linking to information about community events and gatherings is a smart strategy.

5. Lead generation

Periodically, it’s a good idea to use social media to learn more about the people who follow your brand. Lead generation posts offer an incentive, such as a coupon or special report, in exchange for some information. This can be as simple as an e-mail address, or you could make use of the opportunity to conduct a mini-survey.

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