Social media is just another marketing tactic that allows a business to communicate with its existing clients and new potential customers.
It is not some panacea for all ills and it certainly is not a dark art only understood by experts.
Any small business can and should embrace social media as part of their marketing effort and success will be achieved if you follow a few simple steps:
You need to be clear on a number of issues before you start:
You need to be very clear about who you want to engage with on social media:
As with any marketing activity you need to set social media goals:
It can be any or all of these. You set the goals that matter to you. However, no matter the goals you choose, please ensure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable and Targeted. This ensures you can actually know if you have been successful or need to go back to the drawing board.
When you start social media a common mistake is being active on too many social media sites. It may appear exciting at first, but over exposure in social media can result in you trying to do too much too fast. It can also mean you don’t get full benefit from the social mediums which best suit your business and clients.
Start slowly and select one site that matches your objectives and goals and focus your attention on learning as much about it as you possibly can. You can then move on to others when your satisfied you understand what you are doing.
Social media is by its very nature person to person and as such each of your social media accounts will contain personal information as you complete your profile and show people who you are.
Be sure to completely fill out your profile on any social media sites you use. Consistency is vital when it comes to social media, especially as you begin to explore more than one site.
Not only should you complete your profiles, but it's also a good idea to keep your data as consistent as possible across all of your social media sites. This will aid in recognition, broader reach, and ongoing communication with the same contacts on multiple sites.
No one is a social media expert straight away so take time to learn from the best and follow those who you feel do it well. You can see the tactics they employ and begin to see the reactions they receive.
You can then decide the tactics you would like to use and put your personal stamp on the activity that you know works with the people you want to target.
Consumers are actively seeking relationships with brands that have a clear voice and tone. What I mean by that is this:
It’s important to remember that while Voice and Tone are similar, it’s helpful to think of them as separate concepts.
Your brand’s voice should remain consistent across all communication platforms. Tone, on the other hand, might differ across social channels depending on the audience and special circumstances. For example on some platforms you will wish to remain formal and on others informal and chatty.
The best way to discover your brand’s voice is to develop a personality for your brand or what some call a brand persona.
You can do this by answering a series of questions while keeping your target audience in mind.
I’d advise you to sit down with your team members and other key stakeholders to answer the questions below.
For each, get a flip chart a cup of tea and a bun and brainstorm a list of adjectives that you’ll use afterward to craft your voice and tone:
Finally enjoy social media and do not be afraid to test new platforms and methods of communication.
The best way to enjoy social media is very simple, treat people how you would want to be treated and never say anything on social media you would not be comfortable saying face to face.
If you follow this advice you won’t go far wrong.
Regardless of your feelings on social media, all the evidence shows that for every demographic and every age group the social media tsunami has lost none of its power.
I’d urge every business regardless of size to take advantage of it, if you want to survive and thrive.
Social media is a just a marketing tool and can be leveraged to your advantage with planning and practice.
If you follow the simple advice I have outlined, then you should not only enjoy the experience but profit from it. Remember, your target audience is already on social media. They are talking to brands and your competitors now!
If you want to retain your clients and reach out to new customers, then it’s time to get involved in social media or enhance the way you do it.
Good luck and I’ll be looking at how you draft a social media marketing plan next time
John Joe McGinley Glassagh Consulting June 2018