social media

By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you driving yourself nuts trying to manage social media accounts on umpteen different channels to keep in step with younger customers? If so, take a deep breath and check out the results of a recent survey by GoDigital. I’m pretty sure the results will pleasantly surprise you.

GoDigital surveyed 1,000 U.S. adult Internet users aged 18 to 29 who expressed interest in buying products and services from local small businesses. Keep in mind that these are young consumers, who you might expect to be involved in the “cutting edge” of social media. But contrary to conventional wisdom that younger people don’t care about Facebook anymore, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of survey respondents named Facebook as the social network they find most valuable for researching small businesses before making a purchase. In comparison, just 12 percent of respondents cited Pinterest, 11 cited percent Twitter and 9 percent cited Instagram.

What can you post on your Facebook page to get these Facebook-happy young customers to buy from your business? Money talks: Facebook offers that they can redeem at your business are the most effective at getting them to visit your website, 38 percent of customers say. Other common types of posts, including sweepstakes or contests (11 percent), photos or videos (10 percent) and loyalty promotions (10 percent) are far behind.

Another thing prospective customers want to see on your business Facebook Page is ratings and reviews from other customers. In fact, 41 percent say that’s what they care about most when checking out a business on Facebook, compared to just 19 percent who care most about seeing featured products from your business. In addition, a whopping 80 percent of respondents say positive customer reviews on Facebook or on your business website will make them more likely to buy from you.

This news is especially important if you own a restaurant; 38 percent of respondents say this is the type of small business they’re most likely to follow on Facebook. In second place are beauty/spa and educational/training businesses, cited by 14 percent each.

Why is this good news? Well, if you’re going all over the place trying to develop a social media strategy, you can calm down and start simply with this three-step basic plan:

  1. Set up a business Facebook Page.
  2. Regularly post special offers and promotions for customers; encourage them to share with their friends.
  3. Post links to ratings and reviews of your business. Encourage customers to share their opinions of your business directly on Facebook, too.

Just by taking these three steps, you’ll soon see results in terms of increased word-of-mouth, more traffic to your website and growing sales.