13th May, 2013

Most business owners would have heard the words Social Media spoken about between conversations, but actually knowing the meaning of it and implementing something that suits your business areas to enable you to engage with your customers takes some time and effort.

Know the Trends

wesite traffic

A lot of business owners we speak to get intimidated about their social media and seem worried about ‘talking’ amongst the public online. This sometimes comes down to seeing reality and massive growth in which social media has impacted on their competitors and larger global brands. Most will say, “we don’t have the time and resources to focus on social media”. Others will say, “we’re on Facebook and Twitter, surely that’s enough?” And that’s the point where it’s gone wrong before you’ve even prepared your first tweet. There is so much more to social media than just having a presence on Facebook. In order to execute a successful social media campaign, no matter what size your business is, you should be researching how your competitors and large corporations work their strategy. Pick out the good and bad parts to analyse how well they are doing. The great thing about social media is that you don’t need a great deal of analytics to see what they’re talking about and what sort of content they are sharing amongst their customers.  As a business owner you can adopt some of their ideas and implement it into your own plan.

Health Check

online website health

Here at Essential Marketer, we carry out a social media health check or audit. This audit just allows our clients to see what they’ve currently got, including the platforms that they’re on, suggestions on new platforms and looking at the engagement levels compared to the content or messages they are sharing. We always recommend this as it almost gives the client a complete layout of how their social media campaign is getting on and offers a different perspective to what they’re usually seeing. What we often find is that a lot of companies tend to be mainly ‘doing’ Facebook and Twitter because that’s the trend.  Again we encourage other ways to increase engagement activity by spreading out across relevant platforms but at the same time making sure these platforms or tools suit your business area.

Thinking of ideas for content can be quite a headache. The common mistake we see when doing our social media audit’s are that the customer has a decent number of blogs and is frequently updating it. The only downside to that is, when we look at their titles or content, more often than not it lacks engagement.

Be a Credible Expert

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If I was a potential customer, looking for a new bmx bike for my young nephew, I instantly end up on Twitter and come across a bike company. I notice that every single tweet is along the lines of ‘Buy this bike for £50, half the price of…’ and another, ‘New ABD bike boasts new record of sales, going for £200’. It then links me to the company’s website, with an article of a couple of paragraphs talking about how great this bmx bike is for £50. If I was the potential customer, I would read that and it would mean very little to me as those updates are almost too ‘news’, ‘pushy’ and sales focused, it doesnt seem to attract my attention. It’s not to say that’s bad because you do need variation when delivering your strategy but the whole page was just bombarding me with ‘buy this’ and ‘buy that’ signals. Then I look on another bike company’s Facebook, and they have a message saying, ‘Looking for a New Bmx Bike? Here’s Our Top 5 tips for Choosing the Perfect Bike as a gift’ I’d look at that and think, ‘these guys aren’t pushing me for a sale and they are giving me what seems to be their expert advice, I think I trust you’. That’s the perception you need to give as a company. Be helpful, give advice and ask questions. Not only are you an expert in your field, you’re willing to give free advice away. You’re more likely to get engagement if you follow these guidelines.

Interact and Engage

social engaging

Knowing what to ask sometimes can be difficult so you may have to do some research. Using the tools available, it has made targettting your audience ten times easier. You can view what’s trending in your newsfeed and industry to see what people are and aren’t happy about, join in the conversation, recommend and request responses. People love being opinionated on subjects that matter to them, they want to be heard. On Twitter, you can search any hashtag out there currently. It will then give you a long list of how people are using that particular hashtag. This can be crucial to how you share a message. If that particular phrase or hashtag has a negative response to it, be careful how you use it!

Business owners will say time and time again that they simply don’t have time to interact on their social media sites. It does come to a point where you as a business owner can only do so much for your online marketing, that’s when you need to employ someone, because more than likely if a strategy is executed properly, the work levels will gradually increase, therefore more interaction is needed in order to keep up. What if someone has enquired about your product two weeks ago and you’ve yet to respond? That’s potentially a lost sale, and the likelihood is they’ve gone to one of your competitors. Dave Kerpen (@DaveKerpen) from Likeable media believes strongly in the way you should focus with your readers. Not interacting and responding to your audience, who himself, responds to hundreds of tweets and comments a day, thinks you should be prepared for negative feedback. Responding to negative feedback is as important as receiving positive feedback – it shows you care.

Don’t Get Left Behind

It’s safe to say, like search enginge optimisation, a lot of people have been stung in the past by companies promising the earth and delivering very little. Business owners need to know their targets and reasoning in persuing with a social media product.  The whole package needs to be explained thoroughly to them so that they understand what they’ll be receiving.  As for social media, almost everyone you speak to are involved within it some way or another, don’t be afraid to get involved, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, always do your research and most importantly, don’t get left behind.

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