Dear M & M: Any social media or online tips I could implement to do more business with more people? – Jack

Dear Jack: Facebook recently posted some ideas that can be implemented across several platforms online. The first idea was to “join relevant groups” to engage with consumers and potential customers to let them get to know you and for you to learn more about them. The second suggestion, “hosting live events,” can easily expand an audience beyond your geographic location and allow you to engage with several people from utilizing Facebook’s live streaming to hosting a Zoom meeting.

I really like the third idea, “sharing your products” with others across several platforms. You can’t sell it in the backroom. Time to share what you have with others online. Don’t limit yourself to just the United States. People from other countries might want the opportunity to buy also.

With today’s international shipping help from Federal Express and the Post Office, it is a lot easier to sell overseas than you might think. Why exclude the rest of the world?

The fourth area suggested “implement instant replies.” We all want instant help now in real time if possible. That’s why incorporating instant reply to communicate with someone who wants to buy or just bought and has a question is so important.

Finally, with all social media, we all check out each other and should be looking to “see what others are saying” about our business, products or services. Why as a business would you not pay particular attention to what others are saying about you and respond to the good experiences and the especially to the ones where someone had a bad experience?

Right now it is claimed that less than 15% of all direct purchases are made online. I wonder how many decisions are made going online before the shopping cart button is pushed and an individual actually decides if they are going to walk in your restaurant, motel or store, or to buy a tire or get an oil change?

Studies at CXL Institute show as much as 87% of all consumers go online to conduct some sort of research before they buy. To be relevant, one must engage across several platforms and be online to do it. I don’t think it’s a choice it’s more of a have to do thing.

ASK M&M is prepared and submitted by Mark Schmitt, director of the Small Business Development Center at Cochise College; and Mignonne Hollis, executive director at the Arizona Economic Development Foundation. To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Cochise College (520) 515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Arizona Regional’ Economic Development Foundation at (520) 458-6948 or email hollism@aredf.org; www.aredf.org.