How much and how well do you use social media for business success? Probably not as much or as well as you could! Far too many leaders and managers of small to medium businesses lack a solid social media plan. And you may be one of them.
I’m just too busy to maintain a strong presence on social media for my business
It is not important enough – we have so many other things on our plate!
And yet we all know that most people – including your customers! – spend a lot of time on social media. We know that people “check us out” on social media; that they like to ask for advice, and trust it, however unreliable it may really be; and we see how people love expressing their opinion, experiences, and emotions. We also see how fast a message can travel!
So, if you are missing out on an opportunity to connect and engage with your target market, then now’s the time to do something about it.
Yes, of course you’re busy – but frankly, in 2018, you can no longer afford to ignore social media. It is a great place for gaining market insights (for you to check out your customers) and for engaging in professional yet personal dialogue (for your customers to check you out). So how do you get started?
Four Golden Keys to Effective Social Media For Business
- Firstly, have an integrated plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. You need a clear plan, tightly integrated in the business, and also a brand plan. When you have a realistic purpose with measurable objectives, you make sure your effort is not just sprayed around with no real purpose.
- Secondly, recognise the difference between social media for business and social media for personal use.
What is appropriate in one context is wildly unacceptable and potentially damaging for your business in another.
So be sure to keep them well apart. It’s a temptation, for example, to let one of your younger employees manage your social media usage, on the basis that they are more tech-savvy and are using social media constantly themselves. That can work, but it also has risks: do they know how to write professionally in the way you want to represent your business? You need to set down some guidelines. And keep a very close eye!
- Thirdly, be really interested in your audience.
Your target market will see you as professional, caring and relevant if you post consistently and regularly and each time adding value; and you pay close attention to the quality of your business pages and LinkedIn profile. Most businesses under-utilise the capability of each social media platform both to communicate and to give insights.
- Fourthly, make sure your social media presence isn’t a “hard sell” platform
Social media enables you to put a human touch to your business… but it is not all about you! It is about your ideal customer, what they want to see and share. It is about engaging with them on their terms. Show real interest in them and their lives and show them how you can add value, and they’ll welcome you in ahead of other social media users who just push, push, push themselves and their product.
When you follow these four key principles, you can quickly and effectively build your social media presence. Yes, it works however chronically short you are of resources, time and money.
What You Can Do With Social Media For Your Brand
“How can I get the most out of my social media investment?”
Well, the answer depends on your brands objectives and what it needs to succeed. Does it need more top-of-mind awareness? Stronger credibility as a thought leader or innovator? More website traffic? A better image? 15 minutes of fame or lasting impact? More customer loyalty? More referrals? Leads? Partners?
Here are five typical good reasons to use social media:
- Expand and refresh your target market’s awareness of your brand
- Connect with your ideal customers to better understand them, be more relevant and better meet their needs
- Boost customer loyalty and spread positive attitudes
- Build the right traffic to your website so your ideal customer can better understand and like your brand.
- Monitor your brand image and your competitors’ activity and image.
Whichever objectives are right for you, that is exactly why you need to integrate your social media plan in your brand/business strategy and action plan.
To optimize your investment and allocate the right resources, you first need to get your brand priorities right. If you don’t have a solid and up-to-date brand strategy and action plan, start with this! Not sure how to do it? Or you don’t have the time? Your business advisor can help you.
10 Base rules For Social Media For Business
- Start small, review often, update and expand step by step
- Be selective! Use fewer platforms, but use each very well
- Associate your brand with people and brands whose image you can leverage
- Help your audience find you, understand and remember you: Facilitate searches; be consistent across media and over time
- Optimise your content:
ensure it fits what people want to see and adds value.
Make it shareable to extend its life and reach
- Plan your content so you can stretch/repurpose it, keeping it original
- Focus on listening to and speaking with your audience. Be active, be visible.
- Respond to their comments in a timely appropriate manner. Share information important to them; And follow-up!
- Direct your visitors to what you want them to do through your website.
- Measure engagement; regularly review what works and what does not; update and adapt to the constant evolution of the social media scene.
All You Need Is A Sound Plan And Good Content
Remember: Your website is your real traffic hub. It is where it starts and returns. Your social media reaches out to your audience and must bring them to your website. And trust me, it is not as hard as you may think. There are no real excuses for doing nothing.
Use easy-to get information to get started, collect material as you go. Proven checklists help you optimize that content for Google, and there are many tools that help publish, and then measure impact. Zero-cost royalty-free images can complement your own images. And astutely leveraging other people’s posts is fine.
Next Steps Made Easy
So your next step is a good realistic plan that ensures your social media campaign has a genuine purpose and proper priorities, articulated with your other marketing activities: your website, emails, advertising, special event…
Your business advisor can help you set a simple 1-page brand plan and a 1-page social media plan. Include a social media review in your monthly or quarterly business review.
Recognise that it has its place in your business, commit to it and stick to a routine.
To discuss this further, please feel free to contact me. Let’s chat