Although social media isn't that new to most people a lot of businesses are still failing to put together a good, engaging social media presence. It just isn't good enough to spam your followers with sales messages about your products and services, you really need to be engaging with your customers (or community as we call them).
Your community is very familiar with shopping online and interact with their favourite people and brands online all day long on social networks, so you need to step up your game if you want to keep them as customers.
Good social media doesn't need to take you a lot of time, and getting to know the methods and tools that the professionals use is very easy and straightforward. This can cut the time you spend on social media by vast amounts, and will deliver a superior message which will build your community, increase sales and enable you to connect with your customers like never before.
Still not convinced? Well here are 5 reasons why your business needs a social media marketing strategy in a little more detail…
Clearly Define SMART Goals
When you start to step back and think about your social media instead of just jumping in and doing your post of the day, you can thinks about what your social media objectives are. Once you have some objectives you can think about how to achieve them. You can also look at your strengths and how social media can help to make these real successes.
The best way to do this is to define SMART goals. If you're unfamiliar with this system each letter outlines what your goal should be to make them something that you can actually achieve.
Specific - make sure you are specific in how you will define the goal as a success. This might be increase my twitter followers be 100 each week, for example.
Measurable - make sure that you can quantify or measure progress. A goal like 'get more twitter followers' isn't really measurable, and you won't mark it off as complete or a success.
Achievable - be sure to identify who will do what, and make the goal possible. Getting 10,000 likes on Facebook in a week just isn't achievable if you only usually get 100 a year.
Realistic - make sure your goal is something that you can realistically do taking into account budget and time.
Time - be sure to specify a deadline - when you aim to complete the goal.
When you do anything in social media there is usually a slight time lag, so don't give up if not much happens immediately. Social media should be an integral part of your business plan and something that you schedule every month, not just now and then. If you persist in creating good content, which you share on your website's blog and LinkedIn, which you point to from your social media - it will work. You will get found by search engines more, you will gain new followers and customers and your community will grow.
Getting To Know Your Customers
After you've been posting on social media for a month or so, you'll start to get a feel for what your community likes and dislikes. You can get a better idea of what's working and what's not by looking at your social media analytics. Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc all have great in-depth tools which show you how each posts has performed, which posts got you most website traffic and which ones your community really didn't like.
The more time you spend maintaining and analysing your social media campaign, the more effective it will be moving forwards. It's a constant process of posting, learning, evolving, testing, posting and so on. Eventually you'll reach a point where nearly every message to send out will be welcomed by your community and will generate a buzz. You'll know what time to post and what people want to read from you - which is a great place to be.
You may not have a structured social media campaign running at the moment, but you can be sure that some of your competitors have. They will be happy basking in the success of their posts, getting more customers and building their brands. Without any competition, you're making it easy for them to soak up all the market share.
Have a look at your closest competitors and see what they are doing with their blogging and social media. Is it any good? Can you take any ideas away from them to do better yourself?
The truth is social media marketing has already proven its worth and most bigger companies are already taking it seriously. If you're not, then you really should be as you really don't know where you're next big clients are going to come from.
If you're looking at your competitors and seeing what they are doing, it really does get you thinking in a different frame of mind. What are the big companies doing? How can you replicate the same on a budget? What can you do that small local companies can't? This stream of thought will get you thinking in a very competitive way, which will work wonders for your business.
Improving Communication And Customer Service
The instant nature of social media means that it is a great place to get feedback on your business in real time.
Your followers can message you directly and if you have notifications turned on , on your smart phone or tablet, you can respond immediately. If you can fix a problem instantly, what could have been a very bad situation for you from an unhappy customer, can turn them into a brand ambassador, who will tell their friends how good you were, or what a great deal they got.
A positive image and lots of good word of mouth exposure can do wonders for your brand. Be warned though, if you have a massive following, with poor quality products keeping up with all the issues could be a full time job!
Be sure to set time aside each day if necessary to respond to questions and queries quickly. If you're too sluggish, the potential customer won't wait around and will go to your competitors instead. Remember time spent on your brand is never wasted.
It's Cost Effective
Social media marketing is incredibly cost effective. A couple of hours spent creating images in Canva http://www.canva.com (a graphic design creator for non designers) can give you enough images for a week's worth of social media posts - or hire a designer to create some images for you and away you go. This can cost very little and can make your social media messages get a lot more clicks.
For a few £'s you can boost a post on Facebook to a very specific group (age, location, job role, etc). Facebook has now become one of the worlds largest advertising networks! Twitter has Audience Insights where you can learn about your audience's demographics, interests, lifestyle and purchase behaviours
We hope we’ve managed to convince you that embarking on a social media marketing campaign is essential to your business. However, if you’re worried that you don’t have the expertise or time required to make a success of yours, we can help you out. Email us or give us a call and we'll be happy to explain what we can do for you. We provide a full suite of social media services tailored to you specific business goals.