Chapter 1: Why Do I Need It?
Social Media Is A Professional Necessity
Let’s not sugar coat it, in a ruthless technological age where your business can easily drift away from its customers, your company NEEDS a social media presence. Whether you’re a small local shop or a global company, online platforms are an essential tool for any business with any degree of ambition.
Granted, in isolation, a single social media platform may be a bit ‘so what’ in the grand scheme of a return on investment. However, collectively, like by like and comment by comment, this regular activity forms an essential element of a rounded marketing strategy.
Social media platforms allow you to connect with your customers and increase your brand awareness, which generates more leads and more sales. With more than 3 billion users on social media, it’s here for the long haul; to get on board, you don’t need to be a tech geek or know every buzzword in the biz, you simply have to be adaptable to change, and the rest will follow naturally.
Using Social Media to Full Effect
Previously considered to be a microscopic element of your marketing efforts with only limited value, it’s now clear that social media has to be taken seriously and, if done right, it can be one of the most effective tools for your business.
Okay, so your business may be thriving without social media (I hear you muttering in the back), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dismiss this gateway to a new realm of customers. So what if you’re already turning over £10 million? You could be turning over 15! Equally, if your business is ‘bobbing along’, social media offers a perfect opportunity to up your marketing game and propel your business to the next level.
If you’re not on social media you’re missing out on potential customers who are searching for your brand. Think about it, if you’re searching for new products or ideas, a first point of call will always be a relevant business’ social media presence. If you’re not there or you’re inconsistent or irregular in your posts, that first impression will not be a positive one.
Chapter 2: Set goals that address your biggest challenges
Of course, simply jumping into randomly posting content on numerous platforms won’t have much effect on your bottom line. First things first, you need to work out what it is that you actually want from social media. Exposure? Sales? To build a community?
However, brands will only thrive when setting goals if those goals are actually achievable. For example, creating a target to get 10,000 followers and unlocking a ‘swipe up’ feature on Instagram in 3 weeks is completely unrealistic
By setting SMART goals (specific, measured, attainable, relatable and timely), you will be able to plan your social media efforts step by step in a reasonable and cost-effective way.
Create A Strategy
“82% of YouTube advertisements are more likely to be viewed than that of television (yes, television) ads”
Once you’ve agreed your goals, you need to implement a strategy that will enable you to achieve them.
Implementing a strategy around your social media will complement your marketing and business growth. For example, if you want to educate and inform your customers and leads we’d always advise avoiding sales ads and instead opting for content that captivates your audience and answers their questions. By doing that, when it comes to making purchasing decisions, your social media content will have quietly positioned your brand as a trusted leader.
Put the Customer First
Using social media to increase brand awareness creates an authentic and long-lasting relationship with your customer, so remember to always have that customer at the core of everything you post.
With so much content available and with people browsing online pretty much 24/7, our tolerance of inaccurate or pushy content is very limited. Instead, what we are craving is personable and relatable content that we can all enjoy, together. Whether we’re the consumer or the buyer.
Chapter 3: Time To Draft Your Social Media Squad
Social Media Assemble!
Social media allows you to access a whole universe of prospects, connect with customers and analyse the competition. With that in mind, it’s important to put a voice to your services and assemble your social media super heroes! To do this, it’s important to understand the individual qualities of each platform.
Let’s start with the behemoth that is Facebook. With over 65 million users on business pages and 6 million advertising their services, this is one not to ignore.
YouTube is perfect for attention grabbing vlogs and covering original video content from funny clips and red-hot trends to hyperactive cat videos, just when we need them. YouTube remains the second most active social media platform with 72 hours of content posted every sixty seconds.
The most socially active of the SM spectrum with 9% growth in users this year, Twitter is the first in the know, It’s great for starting conversations and showcasing your business’ personality.
When it comes to loyalty, Instagram is up there with 60% of users posting every day – think aspirational images, well positioned shots and an insight into what the business does behind the scenes.
With a similarly visual approach, Pinterest can best be summed up as a catalogue of ideas and is the central headquarters of creative media. From mood boards and inspo to keeping an eye on what your competitors are up to, Pinterest is used to store ‘Pinteresting’ topics you can spread amongst platforms. Most impressively, it ranks as the seventh most influential app for a business!
For a more corporate approach, take a look at LinkedIn. With a mind blowing 61% of senior influencers using this platform, it’s great for making contacts, sharing articles and encouraging testimonials, all of which add depth to your knowledge.
‘Gone Social Media Fishing’
Now that you have your team and you know which platforms best suit your business, it’s time to go social media fishing. As well as nurturing relationships, social media offers you the chance to dive into a huge pool of potential customers. Your posts should be crafted to encourage engagement and share your company story. It can take time to build this, but whether it’s a simple ‘like’ or comment, this is your customers way of saying ‘I’m interested, tell me more’.
Whenever you get engagement, it’s important to respond; like their comment back, reply, or even private message them with a link for more information. Don’t forget, the key is to be helpful and provide useful information, rather than being pushy.
This is a fantastic chance to get customers browsing your website, turning a window shopper into a buyer. Be personable and provide them with a way to keep in touch before closing your message. When your company has an offer in the future or any events going on, don’t hesitate to revisit the same customer. This is how emotional rapport is built.
Chapter 4: Catch Up With Your Customer
Like all relationships, the ones with your customers and leads take time and effort in order for them to grow. Don’t let conversations fizzle out; keep them up to date with your news or other information that’s relevant for them, ask their opinions, share your ideas, anything to make them feel invested in your brand and valued as a customer.
Build The Trust!
If you have let things slip or even if you’ve had negative comments, social media can be a great way to rebuild trust. If something was less than perfect for a customer, take ownership, listen to their issues and respond accordingly. Whatever you do, don’t ignore negativity as that can put off potential customers.
Consider Your Costs
Traditional marketing methods such as print can cost thousands and it’s almost impossible to measure or see a return on investment. Social media can provide a cost-effective and measurable marketing tool. Even if you have a limited budget you can still make a splash on social. It’s also a great way to find out which platforms work best for you. Conduct some A/B testing to find out what content your customers like and where they prefer to find it.
Chapter 5: Communicate A Voice Of Authority
Customers Want Authenticity
It’s crazy to think that only fifteen years ago our only real form of social media was playing ‘Snake’ on our Nokia 3310s with regimented 30-minute slots on MSN after school. iPhones weren’t ‘a thing’ yet, and the closest we had to ‘Alexa’ was that creepy ‘Welcome to AOL’ voice that caught us off guard, every time. Fast forward to 2012 and technology had evolved massively, and brands were desperate to get involved.
Many companies did this through direct approaches, with invasive ads and annoying pop-ups part of the everyday browsing experience. Perhaps unsurprisingly, studies show that this simply does not work today. In 2012, people were excited to be able to shop online and put up with these annoyances. That’s no longer the case. Consumers are more clued up on technological advances and they demand a simple, intuitive user experience. Customers don’t hesitate to reject offers that hold zero emotional pull or consideration for their personal needs. Increasingly they also focus as much on a brand’s ethical and environmental stance as on the goods or services it offers. Again, social media is the ideal tool for telling and reinforcing your brand story. Encourage people to trust you with genuine and engaging content, don’t just jump on the latest bandwagon as today’s savvy consumers will see straight through this.
No More Bull is the Rule In 2019!
Authenticity is crucial to separating yourself from the competition, simply because, it’s a breath of fresh air to not be approached through a robotic script. Have the same respect for your audience as you would for yourself, as if you were the one at home, spending your free time browsing their brand. All in all, be human.
Connect With Your Customer
Consumers are becoming more savvy in their dealings with businesses and they’ll now do lots of research before buying a product on a website or through social media. How many times have you seen friends and family spending hours reviewing that villa in Spain that has a ‘dodgy review’ or that restaurant that ‘had a rat in the kitchen in 2004’? My point is, customers are more discerning about what businesses they support. Ruthless customers will always dig deeper. Yes, they may love the way a product is marketed on Instagram but how did other users find their personal experience? Trust me, potential buyers will find out.
On the flip side, this works the opposite way with communicating authority. Setting up a robust profile that you regularly update builds your brand’s authority. First impressions are everything and you’re only as good as your last performance. Your channels are mini businesses within your bigger picture and the more aspirational, informational and reputable you appear to your audience, the higher ‘voice of authority’ you will establish within your industry.
Turn A Negative Into A Positive
Of course, you can’t avoid complaints, but you can turn a negative comment into a positive moment. This is your opportunity to be human, to genuinely care and build trust by offering a quick response and savvy solution. Ask for more details. Is there anything more you can do for them?
“Transform a disappointed customer into a returning customer”
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. Remember, consumers will tell friends and family about a positive experience they had with your brand. Customers crave a direct line into the company so they can reach out at any time. Asking your audience to follow you or sign up to your weekly newsletter is an easy way to keep them in the loop. Sharing product launches, promotions and events creates a more personal element and makes your customer feel special.
Chapter 6: How Do I Turn My Content into Cash?
With thousands of social media users competing for attention, taking some time to find your niche and work out a structure is essential.
Filter who you’re trying to reach out to with research, and work out the most appropriate method for your audience’s needs. This will save you time, money and, eventually, you’ll be able to interact with your clients and determine which platforms your audience are communicating with the most.
Be approachable, put a face to the logo. There’s nothing more inviting than owning a small business that’s trying to grow, while speaking humanly about the brand. A personal touch allows you to connect with the world in an emotional way. What’s trending? What can we all relate to? Human beings aren’t as different as you think and it’s not about your ego, it’s about the customer!
How to Grow Without Doh
Yes, costs in a marketing campaign can easily spiral into huge figures and not every company can afford this. However, with a crazy amount of value per pound from social media advertising, you have the opportunity to grow without any doh.
You can work towards all of your quarterly targets just through downloading a few apps on your phone. Seriously, there’s no catch here. When you do come to the realisation that through Facebook and Instagram you can build a portfolio-esque feed of your activities, happenings and latest products, you will have that celebratory “yes!” moment to yourself.
“Medium sized companies get great value when they market on social media”
Social media is easy to set up, free, user friendly, popular and requires no training. To boost ROI, tracking key performance indicators to analyse social media allows you to make adjustments where necessary. Examples to consider vary. Twitter, for example, is a platform that offers built-in tools called analytics and focuses on follower growth and post frequency. Facebook offers Insights to track post engagement reach and likes for your page. For small and medium-sized businesses, social media provides excellent value.