Social media marketing: a highly debateable topic and for many business owners in WA, a grey area when it comes to identifying the contributing factors it can bring to their business.
Over 2 billion people now use social media and 850 million of those do so daily. As a business, social networks have fundamentally changed how we interact with our customers, tell our brand story and offer our products and services. What started out as the black sheep of the marketing department with irrelevant and off topic posts has now become an integral part of the business’s long term strategy. With that said, social media marketing is now a measurable activity with its own set of goals that ultimately have an impact on the bottom line.
Devising a logical and well thought out social strategy is an inevitable must in order to help future proof our business in the years to come. Those that don’t will struggle to keep their brand’s head above water over their competitors, as social media continues to evolve with the social trends consumers are adopting.
Are You Ready for Social Media 2.0?
As a small business you may have heard time and time again that you should be using social media to help generate local business. This is a generic and vague statement at best that provides no clarity as to how and when your business should be using it as a form of marketing in what is a geo-isolated yet highly sociable market. For some, social media marketing for their business is a self-interpreted and expressive form of use that mirrors their personal experience of liking, commenting and sharing all sorts of innocuous and unrelated rubbish. Yet if this article gets at least one point across, it should be that to gain clarity in using social media for our business we need to be objective about its purpose and fully embrace it as a viable marketing channel.
What Social Network Should You Be Using?
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are some just some of the popular examples of the platforms available. Each have particular features synonymous to their purpose, which in turn leads them to having their own unique user base or demographic within a particular market. Before going in guns blazing and deciding to create profile pages for your business on all the platforms, ask yourself:
How can social media best represent my business?
How does social media affect my brand marketing?
What are my goals and objectives in using it?
What platforms do my target audience use?
What social features can I make use of?
Not all businesses will use the same platforms or get the same results from the effort they put into social media. Some B2B businesses use LinkedIn solely as an online networking tool to establish business contacts, from which relationships can develop. For consumer lifestyle products, Instagram is great at yielding results, yet a debatable platform if you are an insolvency firm looking to generate new business. Start your social media plan by devising a strategy that can answer the above questions effectively. Don’t waste time and effort with a blanket strategy by using every platform or by focusing on a social network that isn’t appropriate to your business.
What Sort of Content Should You be Posting?
In short, appropriate industry related content that engages your target audience and has an underlining business objective as a return on your efforts. Don’t get pulled into the trap of using social media as you would your personal account. The content you post is first and foremost about what your audience factually want to see and not based on your opinions. E.g. don’t post a YouTube video of a dog on a surfboard if you are trying to promote your exquisite range of swimwear. Just because you find it funny doesn’t mean your audience will. That is of course, if humour is the route you are going down for your brand. Social media is the most effective way to build up your brand equity, it is also the easiest way to lose it to your competitors from a single inappropriate post.
Tailoring your content to the various yet specific channels you use is a must. Gone are the days of sharing the same content over multiple channels. It just hasn’t worked since 2015. Videos, how to guides and infographics are some of the best forms of content to be posting, yet they don’t all have to go on the same social network.
Common Business Objectives from Using Social Media
1. Driving Traffic from Social Media to Your Website
Driving traffic from social media to your website is one of the most common business objectives in social media marketing. The website is your brand’s primary resource where you can increase your sales and customer base through converting visitors.
Like many others, you might have set one of your social media goals to increase website visits. To combat this challenge, you will need to create engaging links from your social media posts directly to your website. The technical term for this process is known as click baiting, where catchy content is key.
Click baiting – “content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.” - Google 2016
5 tips to use social media to increase website visits:
Make sure it’s aimed at an applicable audience
Set up analytics to track future visits from an initial social referral.
Use catchy headlines to attract that first click
Include catchy visuals in your content
Be smart about where and when you schedule your posts
2. Using Social Media to Better Customer Service & Retention
Customers turn to social media to voice their opinion if they have had either a positive or negative experience with a business. Therefore, by delivering excellent customer service through replying to all comments, you are more likely to maintain a higher life time value from those customers. Replying to every mention, comment or review will provide potential customers with a history of the customer service you have provided others, at the same time they’re researching the products or services you are pushing on social media. Ultimately, creating loyal customers through being ready to respond on all channels will help grow your business and protect your brand.
5 tips to use social media to better your customer service:
Monitor your social media mentions.
Speed matters when it comes to replying.
Use the right tone of voice when responding.
Some replies are more appropriate for offline.
If you have a knowledge base link to it in your reply for others to see
3. Improving Your Brand’s Awareness
It costs a business 4 times more in marketing expenditure to generate a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Yet, social media allows you to reach a large and defined audience with relatively little expense. Spending the time creating the right brand identity and message for your social audience will help build up your brand awareness through user referrals, generated content and meaningful messages. Once you have created that brand message, stick to it. Constantly changing it will confuse those that follow you and you could end up losing followers or repositioning your brand message towards the wrong target audience. If in doubt seek a brand and/or communications expert help to build your brand’s message towards your target audience. In turn, this may help you identify other social platforms with features more applicable to promote your brand.
5 tips to use social media to better your brand awareness:
Use appropriate hashtags and be consistent
Find and use industry influencers that best reflect your brand
Tap into any internal resources that you can use on social
Avoid overusing promotional messages
Keep you brand message consistent across all your social channels.
Track Your Social Efforts & Keep Up to Date With Social Trends
Keeping track of your efforts vs the return you get is vitally important to know if your strategy is working. Consider using tracking tools such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics to name but a few. Such tools will help you decide on what type of content is working and what is not, what time of day is better and which audience is engaging more? The simplest form of tracking could be looking at the number of likes or shares you have achieved and using that as a milestone for your efforts moving forward. However, just as with all other forms of marketing, as trends change you can’t afford to become complacent. As your target audience changes in how they interact using social media, so must your strategy.
If you like what you have read and want to discuss social media marketing further, talk to us now.