Can Your Business make Better use of Social Media?
Social media, from the heady days of Friends Reunited and Friendster, has come a long way. All businesses, no matter how small or in what sector, need to be at least aware of the advantages. The traditional marketing methods are still very relevant, word-of-mouth and adverting still undoubtedly have their place, but social media offers a whole new range of opportunities. Due to their “techie” nature Facebook and Twitter et al might seem to be more bother than they are worth, but cannot be entirely shuffled into the folder marked “marketing techniques/irrelevant”. Julia Bramble, founder of social media consultancy Bramble Buzz, told the Guardian: “If businesses haven’t got the right [social media] presence then they’re really going to be missing out, because customers are expecting to find businesses and brands on there.”
It might seem at first as if, when posting your latest portfolio pictures on Pinterest or putting a case study on Facebook, you a shouting into an empty room. It’s tempting to hover over the “delete post” button before you consign your lovingly constructed content into the ether, but stay brave! Brand engagement on social media can turn a struggling business into a runaway success. Business coach Claire Mitchell of brand The Girls Mean Business saw Facebook likes hit 14,000 in 2014 and now stands at a hefty 48,580. When she shouts into the room, there are people listening.
What if you don’t have 48,000 likes? Is it still possible to leverage social media for your brand? Yes! How? Let me tell you!
Start with the end in mind
Like all marketing, it should be coordinated and designed with your current goals. Are you trying to gain customers? Gain brand awareness? Get a reputation as an expert in your field? Your end aim should be the controlling factor on what content you deliver and to which social media platform. The socially led, and slightly female dominated, Facebook is a casual engagement option; build your brand but don’t hard sell. Get people talking about your business on Facebook, 81% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ posts about what products to buy. The circles on Google+ let you target content, but keep the tone light and friendly and keep in mind it is a male dominated platform. Twitter remains an easy entry into the social media market, but it can be hard to engage your followers with 56% of company tweets being ignored. If you have a product or location that lends itself well to photos then consider Pinterest. LinkedIn offers those in business-to-business an excellent marketing opportunity and a place to build your reputation. Reddit, a shared content-driven platform, offers in excess of 6-page views a month to those who get it right. The sting in the tail? Get it wrong and the whole community can turn on you in an instant.
Video is increasingly important; a study by Eyeview suggested that video on a landing page increased conversion by 80%. YouTube, Vimeo, and Vine are enticing prospects but require specialist video production knowledge to pull off correctly.
Focus on Community then on Content
You’re sick of hearing it but yes, content is king. To be more exact, the right content is king. If you are serious about your social media presence, then you will need a content strategy. No ifs, no buts, you need one. Again, each platform offers specific opportunities and will attract a specific type of person. Getting the right people looking at the right platform when you post the right content is dynamite for your brand. It’s also really hard to do. Needless to say, if you post pictures make them perfect, if you post a video make it veracious and if you post words make them wonderful.
Tell the Truth, Tell a story.
Creating a narrative might sound like a strange consideration for me to suggest, but on most social platforms people don’t want to be sold at. They want a story, a moment of fancy, an emotional journey, or an insightful guide sharing your expertise. Even on LinkedIn it pays to be helpful rather than promotional. Post often, on all social media networks which you’ve identified as important. Pick your time, a well-written post on what websites to look at during lunch breaks will perform better at mid-morning than midnight.
Be consistent, be precise and be pertinent. For a comparatively small time investment, you can reach areas of the marketplace that are shut to you by conventional marketing methods. Experiment (sensibly!), monitor the results, and then go with what works. That 1 millionth “like” will be worth all the hard work.