Even if you don’t like social media and what it stands for personally, you can no longer ignore it as a business tool. Businesses are waking up to the fact that social media is now a must have for their business. Social Media is a channel of communication between a brand and its customers, a marketing tool for your latest products or services, or a tool to build sales leads. Done well it can help make a business but done badly it can have a negative impact.
As social media continues to show measurable results for brands with a strong social presence, more and more “social media experts” are honing their knowledge to capitalise on its popularity, aiding businesses in their goal to utilise its business growth potential.
We asked people attending our social media workshop what it was that stopped them using it.
Here are the main reasons business owners say they avoid using social channels;
• I don’t really know what to say.
• I am afraid of making a silly mistake.
• I don’t know how it works.
• I don’t think people will find the things we do that interesting.
• I don’t use social media myself so don’t think it really works.
• I don’t know which one to use or how often to post.
Outsourcing Social Media
Identifying which social platforms to use will be most useful first step. But some businesses may feel unsure about where to start, which explains why many first reactions are to outsource social media. This has a cost, and it is crucial to spend time questioning the credentials of a potential expert, as you will find out that everywhere you turn someone is proclaiming to be an authority on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
So, why not become your own social media expert? No one else knows your brand as well as you do! Take advantage of the resources available to make managing your own social media as easy as possible.
The key concerns that businesses identify when considering managing their own social media is the possible impact it may have on their time. But there are many digital marketing solutions which offer businesses the ability to keep control of their output. Thus, minimising the time cost of keeping on top of social media.
Using a central “hub” to input all your social media output is a good solution for many businesses. The ability to schedule some of your social media posts for the month ahead will free up some time for you. The rest can be more interactive and current.
Here are our top tips when considering when managing your own social media:
Consider which platform you will use; it may be that one is better than others it will depend on your audience and what you sell.
As Facebook is part of our lives, we shouldn’t ignore it. There are over 42 million users in the UK (2019) Here you can provide more depth of content, your story and add images. Facebook encourages fans and if you share relevant interesting information it is a great way to reach an audience. Sponsored ads on Facebook are able to directly target specific audiences, in precise locations and with the right messaging.
If your product/service is a visual one where images can quickly impact people Instagram is a must. People use social media channels to search for things they are looking for example to find a photographer they may search #lancashirephotographer. As Goggle becomes more cluttered people are turning to social media to seek out products.
Twitter your limit here is 280 characters and you need to be short, sweet and to the point. Twitter is an ongoing conversation and happens in the moment much of the time. It allows you to be in the most up to date discussions and topics.
LinkedIn is the classic B2B platform and many people tend to think of it when looking for jobs, yet it has hundreds of groups, networks and options for you to get your business known. It takes some time to build presence but works well if your business means that you are a specialist or expert in a specific field.
Understanding the analytics of the platforms you use is very important. It allows you to see when people are engaging with you and what is having the best impact. It’s simple from there as if its working – do more like that, if it’s not don’t! You can learn about your audience, discover their age and location.
Think about the times your customers are most likely to be online – well timed messages are likely to get more response and feedback. Different businesses work better at different times. The things people search for at lunch time in the office differs from what they are looking for at 2am in the morning when they can’t sleep.
Some basic ground rules
· Ensure you are linking back to your website from most posts, it will help generate more website traffic and people will be able to see what other products or services you provide.
· Scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite™ show all the channels to which you are outputting, making it easy to check all the key data within your social accounts. It also allows you to schedule all your social media posts across all your platforms at the same time, so you have more time to do other things. This is free for up to three social channels. Beware that in some platform’s posts scheduled through third party platforms can sometimes perform less optimally.
· Have a strong social media campaign will be the right mix of timely and relevant messages. People search social media for news and businesses that are relevant to them, but it is crucial to avoid using too many direct sales posts. If all you do is shout the same message, it’s easy for people to just turn you off!
· Make sure you are consistent. It’s easy to have a good week then get busy and “go quiet” Avoid this by having a clear plan to help you know what to say. Social media is something to consider for the long term, so our advice to any business would be ensure you provide a wealth of content, whilst making the most of free and affordable software to help.
For more information on all thing’s social media, please contact us or come along to one of our drop-in sessions!
We run courses on social media platforms that will help you to get ahead and feel more confident in understanding and using them.