Seven Tips For Using Social Media
Although their impact on sales is still small for most of us, social media like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn, along with your blog, are useful marketing tools if you want to make a connection with customers and build brand awareness.
They allow the kind of instant news and direct conversation with your customers that was previously quite difficult. Better still, you will be forming a closer relationship with some of your best customers, ones who care enough to follow you and talk about you.
Many organisations feel they ought to be involved with social media but there’s no point without the resources or understanding to do it properly. It’s a waste of time and potentially damaging to engage in social media unless you are fully committed and understand clearly what you are trying to achieve. It can damage your organisation if you don’t respond to people who try to engage with you or if you are perceived as fake in some way, because bad new spreads quickly and widely on social networks.
Marketers use social media to increase brand awareness, build loyalty and spread word of mouth. It requires a huge change in approach, from the traditional marketing role of leading your customers to a brave new world of being led by them. Social media are a conversation: you can’t control it and you may not like the way it goes. My strong advice is, if you can’t or don’t want to do it with total commitment, don’t do it at all. But if you use social media properly, you will have an effective tool for building long term loyalty.
Social media take time. There are many advantages to social media in the all important task of building customer relationships but they are hard work. To succeed you have to become an essential part of a community. Most of us are receiving so many Tweets, Postings and Pins each day that they are easily missed. Restrict the social media you use to, say, Facebook as a social network, Twitter as a microblog, YouTube for video sharing and Instagram for photo sharing. Pinterest is worth considering if you have products to sell and LinkedIn if you’re in the business-to-business business.
Then you need to send between four and a dozen Tweets, a daily Facebook post, two or three pins a day and a weekly upload to YouTube. Tweets should be spread throughout each day to get noticed (provided they are interesting). And they need to be postings that your followers really are looking out for. Don’t sell– these are social media not sales media. Don’t boast– retweets of compliments make people cringe. Be funny– social media are a leisure activity for most people. Post News– people use social media to be first to know and share with their friends and followers.
A great way of reaching new people is to take part in conversations in other social media such as reviews, comments and discussions which form part of many websites.
All of this means Social Networking can’t be tacked on to someone’s job description- it has to be planned for. It can also be wrecked by an ill considered post. If you haven’t the resources, you may be better not using social media or restricting yourself to the one most appropriate to your business.
So, when you use social media, you must have a clear strategy with rules. Here are some:
Twitter is great for an instant, no nonsense notification of something happening. Especially something amusing or a photo to catch attention in the avalanche of tweets that your customers receive. Think of it as a microblog.
If you want to build a community of people who want to talk about your business, a Facebook page has a family feel and you can post photos and videos and create a real feel for what you are about. I have found that Facebook is the best social media Generally people hate digital ads- they’re intrusive and interfere with your use of the medium. But, when you use Facebook, the targeting is brilliant and a sponsored post can fit seamlessly into the feed, if you handle it right.
YouTube is a highly effective way of promoting your organisation. Google Search loves it, maybe because they own it. A short informative film, especially presented to camera in the form of a vlog, can be more engaging than any other communication. It also seems to help your website’s Google ranking.
If this all seems like too much work, you may be right. One business website I manage gets less than 4% of its traffic from social media. An engagement rate of one or two per cent is considered good. On the other hand, statistics also suggest that for every person that contributes there are another nine taking an interest. And some products, e.g. with a young demographic, are more suited to social media than others.
If you want some free advice on your use of social media or would like my business to run it for you, call me on 07946 981733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was written by Paul Seven Lewis, owner of the marketing consultancy Seven Experience and former Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.