Social media is a buzz word for online platforms that people can interact with, share and comment on. It’s the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Watch my Video Blog and get a better understanding on how Social Media can be included in your PR and Comms Strategy.
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So, social media: What is it?
Social media is a buzz word for online platforms that people can interact with, share and comment on. It’s the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Social media has been around since the beginning of computers. It used to take the form of chat rooms and message boards – these were the places you would go to communicate with others and get information.
But social media now has evolved and there are many different platforms and many different ways to connect with customers through them.
Now, as well as having comments on your website blog, and setting up a Facebook page, you can also pay to drive traffic there using PPC (pay per click), Google AdWords, and Facebook advertising.
The business world has been slow to adopt social media in the UK. But at last we are seeing it take off – and you need to join this world if your business isn’t to be left behind.
If you’re not familiar with social media and need some convincing about why you should spend time on it for your business, think about this:
I am looking into buying a new car. As this is a big purchase decision, I am going to spend a lot of time doing research before I part with my cash. This research helps me to eliminate the risk of making a bad purchase decision. And where am I going to spend a ot of my time researching? It’s online, of course.
I’m on LinkedIn and am part of a business networking group called The Yorkshire Mafia. As well as being great for new business contacts, the group has over time developed a friendly familiarity that means I really trust their opinion.
So the first thing I did when deciding which car to purchase was go onto the Yorkshire Mafia group on LinkedIn and ask their opinion. I got loads of great responses, ranging from ‘best cars for making a good impression for work’ and ‘best cars for lots of business travel’ to ‘best cars in terms of space and safety for your family’. I got some to avoid, and even some contacts of professionals who could advise me in more detail.
One of my clients offers life coaching and NLP courses. She knows that some of her clients are into alterative medicines and spiritualism, so we’ve looked at how we can interact with some of the Facebook groups based around this subject. This then allows her to better understand and engage with her clients and potential customers. As she spends time in these groups offering advice, people are much more willing to come to her for courses. She has used the pages to build trust – as trust is a really important part of her customers’ purchase decision.
Another example is another client of mine who has a target audience aged over 50, and more specifically, men who play golf. We are therefore currently looking at interacting with golf course Facebook pages and Twitter accounts with a view to creating a relationship with not only the course itself but also with its members. This hopefully will lead to my client being able to offer the golf course preferential rates to his customers through his website. It will also mean that his initial contact is not cold as a traditional first interaction may have been, as he has spent time interacting with the established trusted golf centres using their social media pages.
So you can see that social media is an excellent way of building a relationship with your customers and potential new customers online, without being intrusive, and in a way you can establish yourself as a trusted supplier, and someone with something useful to offer them.
Don’t worry about setting yourself up on every social media platform going: there’s no need. Just focus on the ones you know your customers will already be using to begin with and concentrate your energies there.
[I talk about this in more detail in one of my blogs: just search the blog section on JonnyRoss.com]
The important thing to remember if you are new to social media is that you don’t have to be a social media whizz to get started – you just need to know your CUSTOMERS and your PRODUCTS and match your social media activities accordingly:
Know your customers: Where do they spend their time online? What products do they buy?
Know your products: Are they the kind of things people would discuss in forums, or are they something that someone would click on a Facebook or Google advert to buy?
Know the purchase decision-making process: Taking into account your customers and your products, what do they do before they buy? Remember that higher value products (and this can be either higher financial value eg. A car; or emotional value eg. A beauty product) means that people will require more reassurance in order to make a purchase. You wouldn’t ask friends on Facebook which packet of chewing gum you should buy, but you might ask them to recommend an anti-aging cream that has worked for them
[I have a couple of blogs that cover this topic in more detail on my website. Just go to JonnyRoss.com, click on the blog tab and type “social retail” into the blog search bar]
Once you know the demographic of your customers (for example Women aged 35-50), you can choose the social media platform that has a demographic most closely matching your customers.
Alteernatively, you could go onto the bigger platforms (like Facebook for B2C, or LinkedIn for B2B) and search for topic areas around your products or services, then contribute to discussions – as I mentioned in my examples earlier.
If you need any help working out where you should focus your attention online, and how to use the different social media channels to support your business, just give me a call.
I’m always happy to offer free and impartial advice, no obligation.
The important thing is: Don’t be afraid of social media. Once you get started, you will soon pick up the etiquette by following what others are doing, and showing an interest.
And don’t try and do everything all together.
Social media, although great, is time consuming. I’d therefore draw up a plan – and I can help you to do that – which looks at your customers and where they are online. In some industries – such as the professions, you will find LinkedIn is now widespread but blogs and Twitter less so. If you are in an industry where people are really wanting to know more – such as a technical issue, then a video on YouTube would be great.
Once you’ve decided on a plan of action, you should always add into your plan some details on how you are going to measure success. Remember to take baseline figures from your social media sites, so you can measure response rates and analyse the success of your campaigns. Your social media plan should include details on the systems you have in place to monitor and evaluate.
Facebook now offers a good analytics tool for business pages called ‘Facebook Insights’, and there are various different Twitter analytics tools available to download for free online.
It is important to regularly track your progress and keep evaluating and tweaking what you are doing as you go along.
I hope this video has been useful to you in helping you get started with social media for your business.
And remember, if you want to discuss anything I’ve talked about in more detail, just give me a call.
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