Still undecided as to whether to hop onto the social media bandwagon? Well it’s here to stay and developing in leaps and bounds. But you don’t have to be on every social media network just find the one or two places where your customers hang out and then start being “social”. The Key is being Social, creating an ongoing open and honest conversation about and around your brand, its products & services.
If you’ve been resisting Social Media because you think it’s a waste of time and just for those telling everyone what they had for dinner or where and who they’ve been out with, well it’s time to change your mindset.
Start viewing social media as being no different to reaching customers on the phone, via email or traditional media advertising i.e. newspaper/radio – a part of your marketing mix. You’re pretty much using the same marketing techniques but with a public and instant response that allows a 2 way conversation with your customers and potential customer. To help you along, we’ve put together some tips on how you can get started.
1. Where to Start
Take a look at how other businesses, big or small are using social media. Note the type of content posted and the conversation taking place. You might like to take a look at our Happening People Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/happeningpeople or our Twitter account https://twitter.com/happeningpeople.
What do you want to achieve
Now that you have a better idea of a company account as opposed to a personal social media account, turn your mind to what your end result will look like and then work forward. Why set up a social marketing strategy, what do you want to achieve, who is your audience, what do you want to tell them. Social media can be just another way to get your brand out there, link to your website or a blog you can showcase your expertise.
Join your target audience
Once you have decided on your social media strategy and found where your potential customers hang out, create your account. All sites will have a Help section to set-up your account, however link to other sites for helpful tips and up to date info like http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/
There is so much going on in the Social Media world that you’ll want to have people quickly identify your company. Choosing which images best suit your company brand should be the first thing you do once you get started. You’ll want people to go “Ah ha! I know exactly what this brand is.” Says Randi Zuckerburg – former marketing director of Facebook and now CEO of Zuckerberg Media. Eg when people see they immediately think Happening People – specialists in corporate training. What is the personality of your company?
3. Content & Engagement
Your content will depend on what you want to achieve and which network you are using. Use whatever you have, videos and images, ask questions, give exclusive peeks into what’s coming up and ask for suggestions. Create original content that is of interest to your audience. It doesn’t have to a link back to your business every time, help others and give credit where due. Its about creating value for your followers.
You don’t need to be aggressive in pursuing fans/followers, but you do need to be proactive and over time you will see which type of content gets the best response from your audience. Keeping up the engagement will keep you up front with your fans so that when they are ready to buy, there you are!
Consistent engagement with your audience doesn’t mean you have to check your account every 5 minutes, but it does mean responding in a timely manner. Don’t post and ignore, be alert for at least the next 5 minutes or so to allow a timely response, then check back later. If you are using social media to answer customer questions, then yes, you will need to set up your site so you can be notified and respond immediately.
Experiment with your posting times to find out when your audience is most likely to respond. You can use tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to help schedule your posts early morning or late evenings and on weekends.
You want people to build trust in your brand, it’s the first step to loyalty so be authentic, real and interesting. This will create the feedback and interaction you want, keeping you up front of your customers, when they are ready, they’ll turn to who they trust.
Setting up a social media strategy for your business can be daunting and like anything it takes commitment. View it as an extension of your Marketing and advertising efforts. Schedule it into your work plan like you would any other task. Keep it real, keep it consistent, keep it social all the while with your goals in mind and pretty soon you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place.
We’d love to hear from you once you get started with your social media efforts and if you’ve already started, we’d love you to share what’s working for you?