For most business owners, Social Media and how to utilise it for business can be a bit of a mystery. Certainly, the digital age of marketing is a confusion for most in comparison to the more traditional mediums utilising printed technology, but how to exploit Social Media brings up a lot of questions when I am consulting with clients.
I always use the analogy when explaining the virtues of social media to business owners who want to take full advantage of it…
“Imagine you are in a huge stadium (your business page). At present that stadium is empty, and you are ready and waiting on the Public Address System, microphone in hand, and waiting to entertain your audience with your expertise, stories around your business, the everyday success you are experiencing, sharing stories about your industry and generally looking to influence that captive audience. However, you don’t yet have an audience, so you have to encourage people to come into your stadium by pushing information to them on the outside. You have to create lots of positive and interesting content for them to read, create small advertisements or posts you can push out to your audience to encourage them to come into your domain (or stadium).
As they start to descend and the stadium starts to fill up, you need to keep entertaining them, keep them engaged with what you have to say. Outside of your stadium is your shop (website). As you give them good information, they come and go, but keep visiting your shop to find out more. You tease them with opportunities they might be interested in, and you get them to tell their friends they should visit your stadium and find out what you have say. Their friends tell more friends and they visit your stadium, and your shop. The process continues until your stadium is full, but fortunately for you, your stadium has no maximum capacity, and your visitors can come and go as they please, but you have to keep encouraging them to come back.
They now value what you have to say and offer so much they want to come back, they like what you do and have to say. They talk about how great you are to others continually, and become very loyal supporters. You just have to make an interesting comment and they are immediately engaged, and continually remember why they like you so much. The more people that love entering your stadium and visiting your shop regularly, the more they tell others to do the same.”
Is social media a quick fix?
I will now ask one question… Why do people think that marketing and indeed social media is an instant fix to gaining more profile, and increased turnover of business? Like all marketing it is about consistency, creating and continuously pushing out content that give reasons why people should buy what you have to sell. This process takes time, but the outcome for businesses is momentum. The more you communicate and give reasons why, the more others will engage and be influenced by what you have to say (or sell).
Long-term you are creating a highly engaged audience who continually need to be nurtured and attracted to you, but the process of maintaining that loyalty and expanding upon it becomes much easier. Building a social media audience is like one very long gradually upward turning curve. It is a gradual ascent at the start, but as you gain influence the curve becomes a lot steeper, but it has no finishing point. In the case of one of our clients, they look to attract the golfing community within a 50-mile radius of their store, so there is of course a maximum of golfers they can attract, but of course there are lots of new golfers who they want to continually attract (no end to the curve). The process of building that social audience never stops, but the medium is hugely powerful, if you keep that audience fully engaged with what you have to say.
Fill your stadium with engaged people
So, if you want to set up a business page on social media and create your own version of the analogy I gave, there are some fundamental aspects of becoming highly successful on social media…
- Learn how to utilize Social Media properly. I would suggest one day of learning will give you a fabulous insight into how to utilize it effectively
- Create a page and brand it strongly. Logo must be included, and in the case of Facebook, put up a video in the header section, which is a feature recently introduced by Facebook
- Make sure all media you are putting out there encourages likes on your page, visits to your page and posts, and testimonials from your customers. Make it central to your business activity, or an extension of
- Optimise the page fully to get specific menu items in place or calls to action. Exploit every opportunity there is for your page/profle to be found
- Create a gallery of products. Include team images, images of your premises, images relating to the work you do and produce
- I use Facebook as an example, but make sure you put in a budget for Facebook advertising and learn how to utilize this fantastic advertising platform properly. It is the most targeted, accurate method of advertising there is
- Be creative with your posts. If you aren’t creative, utilize the services of someone who is. If your posts are monotonous or uninteresting, your audience will switch of shortly after they have switched on to you, or indeed won’t bother to engage
- Be consistent, setting specific targets around the important statistics. More likes, more post engagements and more shares are typical stats to consider
- Post daily. I would recommend a minimum of two posts per day, but in some cases dependent on the type of business I would at least double this level of posts
- Set a long-term strategy for your social media activity, and look to put in place measurements of how social media activity turns into tangible business opportunity…. You heard it here first!
Social Media is a phenomenal medium for businesses, and any business that hasn’t engaged is missing out on a huge amount of business opportunity. Whether you are B2B or B2C, the time you spend on platforms is dependent on where your audience is most active, or indeed where they want to be communicated to.
Social Media is not just a marketing activity, it is also a very strong sales activity, and your sales team should be interacting with your page, and utilizing this medium to create insight into where the next sale can come from. Everything is now on social, so don’t dismiss social media as inappropriate for your business. If you do, you will just get left behind your competitors who are using it aggressively to help grow their businesses.