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In May, Futurpreneur Canada hosted their Action Entrepreneurship Summit which brought together hundreds of entrepreneurs, business professionals and a list of great speakers who ran sessions over the two-day summit. Darrell Keezer, Founder of Candybox Marketing Inc. was one of those speakers who hosted a session on how to make customers (not noise) with social media.

You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that consumers have changed. With the digital evolution, we have become more and more dependent on our devices. Darrell shared a jaw dropping statistic for some in the crowd when he mentioned that buyers are already 60-90% of the way through the buying process before they reach out to a business or vendor. People aren’t turning to the business themselves to help sway their decision, but are being influenced by reviews online, word-of-mouth and social media.

Darrell demonstrated this point with the audience when he asked everyone to team up with someone in the room they didn’t know. He then told them to find everything they possibly could on that person using their phone. At the end of the allocated time, your partner had to present what they gathered about their partner and their online presence. A lesson in how important your online reputation is to your brand. What are consumers finding? And is it what you want them to find?

From there, Darrell left the crowd with some key insights and things to think about when it comes to your online presence as an entrepreneur and business.

Reach your audience in the right way

We all probably have that person we are Facebook friends with that is a real estate agent and posts all their new listings every day. Likely, you aren’t friends with this person on Facebook for real estate listings; you’re friends with them because they are your friend who happens to be a real estate agent.

A great example that Darrell shared in regards to talking to your wrong audience. Instead, look at where your target market is instead of just blasting your message to everyone and anyone in hopes that it will stick with someone.

Develop a strategy

“Stop doing everything and start doing a few things really well,” Darrell said. The biggest issue people have is thinking they need to be everywhere instead of taking the time to develop a strategy and do research on the places that they should be.

Find where your audience is, and before you jump on all of those networks, build a strategy on what you would post and when. When you jump on a bandwagon without a plan, you’re likely just going to crash and burn instead of excel.

Recognize and reward influencers

Influencers can reach your audience in a more personable way, and since consumers are heavily influenced by their peers over anything else, harnessing influencers as your brand advocates is a great way to reach a whole different audience.  Find influential people that make sense with your brand or business, and build relationships with them. Or more importantly, recognize and reward those customers you already have. These are people you can turn into brand advocates and by providing them with an optimal customer experience; they can become the voice of your brand without you even asking.

It’s not just about you

Don’t just talk at your consumers, but build relationships with them and show them that you care. Recognize that it’s not just all about you. Ask your audience questions, find out what they like, what they don’t like, and take that feedback to be better. And provide them with valuable content, even if it’s third-party content and not your own.

Analyze

One of the biggest mistakes that people make with their social media and online presence is deciding what to do, doing it, and then never revisiting it. Free tools exist that are built right into most social platforms already, so take the time to check regularly to see what’s working and what’s not. This will help you make more educated decisions and help ensure that what you’re doing on social is effective.

After the 90 minute session with Darrell, the room seemed to be energized and ready to hit their computers to start improving their online presence. Social media is one of the most popular marketing tools for small business because of its budget flexibility, but in order to find success with it, you need to ensure you are tackling it right.

Thanks Darrell for all your insights!

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada