Constantly, we are reminded that social media marketing is all about time management. We would argue that managing your business’s online presence is all about time management, but would agree that social media management is a large part of that time suck.
That being said, when done properly social media marketing can be very lucrative for your business. It can also be a little ‘fun’ as you have the opportunity of engaging with new people, most of the time. Before it can be lucrative or fun, however, it is imperative that you decide what you want it to achieve and how you plan to manage your activity.
As long as your proposed social media marketing is linked to an overall online strategy and more importantly, your business objectives – you’re good to go. Of course, it would be great if you had the time to manage the individual relationships yourself. More than likely, though, as a small business owner you just won’t have the time.
Having decided to pursue using social media, good housekeeping would be to avail of one of the many tools out there. In particular those that allow you to schedule posts. Admittedly, these can take a while to discover what days / times your audience prefer. Eventually, though it will make your content more relevant. You can always outsource the role but be sure to be mindful of who you use. See here for tips from a previous post.
If you go it alone, do your best to integrate social media marketing into your regular workday. Even 30 uninterrupted minutes a day would be fine. Assign a particular time for sharing relevant information. You can also tell your brand story and like / favour / save items posted by those you follow.
Don’t forget that your blog posts etc. should be optimised for search engines, as well as your website, to enhance positive search results.
In general, your social media activity should not be a campaign to sell your product / service but it can be used to boost your business’s visibility and reputation.
Social media won’t achieve direct sales for your business, but it will boost visibility and reputation.Click to tweet
Put a little more thought into why you want to use social media marketing.
We’ve mentioned this already above, but it cannot be stressed enough – you must have an idea of what you want to achieve when starting to use social media. It might be for brand exposure, as a customer service platform, as an informational channel, or to drive website traffic etc.
Thereafter, you have to decide what platforms / networking sites you are going to use. The bottom line is that you work on channels that will return the most for your efforts.
Using social media is also a good way of delivering on your brand promise, i.e. to reiterate your ‘purpose’ to your audience so they know what to expect when they engage with you.
Social media marketing can also be an opportunity to humanise your brand. Although, we firmly believe that social media is just that – social, it is definitely a way for businesses to show how friendly / casual they can be (or not). Being friendly does not mean being intrusive, but does mean sharing other people’s content.
Another advantage for marketing activity is that there is a huge momentum change on social media towards being a visual experience. Capitalise on this by including loads of pictures / images / videos with your posts. This can be particularly useful for marketers who can use infographics and how-to videos etc. and thereby provide relevant value to an audience.
Putting your passion and personality behind your social media marketing will encourage interaction with your audience.Click to tweet
People have a natural tendency to tell and share stories. Therefore, almost any social media platform that facilitates engagement will be popular. Of course, new ones will appear continuously, but all indicators are that the growth of social media is unstoppable. Surely it is a no brainer that every business should be taking advantage of the opportunity.
As participation grows, it is becoming harder to be heard on social media.
One result of the increased usage of social media by individuals and businesses is that it is most definitely more difficult to be heard, especially if you’re a business start-up.
We have been active on twitter, for instance, since we started up in 2013 and the scene has definitely changed. From our experience, here are some tips in relation to increasing your chances of being heard online.
- You really must have a professional profile photo and bio. Use keywords, hashtags and links to your website.
- You have to commit to being active such as consistently following people and posting / sharing their content.
- Connect with people in your industry that you may not know.
- Meet the people you connect with online – offline. Attend group gatherings – here are some tips on networking from our last blog post.
- Be an active listener and build thought leadership within a narrow community.
- Use the tools available to you, to join the conversation.
Tips and Timesavers.
We were asked at a networking get-together recently to give some reasons why a business could not survive without social media marketing. Here are seven reasons we offered in reply:
- More and more of your customers are hanging out (searching) online.
- Traditional marketing methods are becoming less effective (but still useful when required)
- Your customers expect a customised experience by interacting with real people.
- Building a community of loyal ambassadors is easier online.
- Managing your social media marketing can differentiate you from competitors.
- Even the ‘big’ corporates are using it – notice the CTAs for social media engagement on traditional TV / Radio advertisements.
- It is much easier to measure and to receive feedback than the traditional methods of surveys and polls etc.
In the greater scheme of things, smaller businesses using social media marketing is still relatively new. For organisations about to embark on the journey, it would be wise to plan it like any other marketing activity i.e. set goals and a timeline.
This plan would typically include who will manage it, how it will look and how much time will be spent on it. When set-up and linked to your other ‘owned’ media, you should be as active as possible.
Bear in mind that social media marketing is NOT an alternative, cheap form of advertising. It is a tool to progress business goals which should be tracked and measured.
“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.
Would you like us to notify you, by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K