Should my business have a social media strategy?
Despite social media often being discussed as if it's a homogenous, one-sided tool, the different platforms actually have very different features. The pros and cons of each can be difficult to determine at first glance, and to a large extent it will also depend on how you use them. What they offer is the chance to continuously promote your business and give your customers or clients updates as they happen, and relevant promotions or news. The potential downside is of course that it's not a one-way street and you won't always have control over how your accounts are used by others. You could, however argue, that this is a great opportunity to engage with skeptics or unhappy customers and win them over to your side rather than let yourself become overwhelmed.
The key is to start your account and commit to it, so perhaps one or two platforms is ideal to begin with. There's an overwhelming number of social media accounts that are set up and then quickly left to wither - which is clearly a squandered opportunity. The two most popular platforms are Twitter and Facebook and they are probably also the most user-friendly for those who have little to no experience, but that doesn't mean they don't have a lot of potential. They are widely used and quick, both in terms of responses and feedback.
So what is the difference between social media marketing and traditional marketing? Social media marketing is really not a separate component to other kinds of 'traditional' marketing anymore, even the large multi-national enterprises now are on social media. Social media marketing complements other marketing instead of being a less thought through add-on to boost. It also has the benefit of being free which is a wonderful thing for cash-strapped SMEs and sole traders.
Which platforms should I use?
Twitter: you can send quick messages, and the word count limit is not really much of a limitation because the point is that it's instantaneous and people expect your updates to be current and daily at the very least. This is probably not a great platform if you don't want to invest a lot of time as user will quickly go elsewhere if the account doesn't seem active or interesting enough.
Facebook: here you can control your content much more, you have the ability to really curate your content and really build your brand in the eyes of your customers or clients. You can also engage in a variety of ways, either through quick posts or messages to engage in a more personal, targeted way or to resolve queries and disputes.
Instagram: the visual aspect of Instagram is not limited to business who have products to promote, it’s a great way to promote yourself and your business - in a sense a little mini-blog in which you can let people get you know you. The downside is that you can block users but not disable comments, so if anyone has something to say about you it will be posted no matter how you feel about it, although this is of course the case for all social media.
Pinterest: an online scrapbook in which you can collect bits of information relating to your company and engage with other users who have similar interests.
Tumblr: gives you an opportunity to engage with a younger audience (but not exclusively of course) and promote varying contents as well as engage with other users.
What different strategies are out there?
1. Do not become pre-occupied with one group of people at the expense of everyone else. Sure you may be engaging and lovely to this one group, but if you ignore the others, then the party will quickly fizzle. Social media is about growing your presence and connecting with all sorts of people/customers/prospective customers. You are there to grow your awareness after all
2. Work out what you want from the ‘party’. What way will you measure the returns?
3. You do not need to partake in every aspect of a conversation, but similarly, you do not want to ignore what is happening around you. In the same way that if you spent all your time away from the party – perhaps taking a corner to a close group of friends – and the party raged around you, people may not remember you as part of that positive experience. Facilitate and partake, do not just observe
4. Remember, you can shape the flow of conversation, but never try to control it. Same as you may want to lower the volume to stop things getting out of hand, you may need to control the conversation at times, just do so in a respectful way and in a way which adds value
5. Take on criticism and use it as a platform to make the next engagement that much better. Turn the tide through action, not through words. Similarly, learn from what people say. In your conversations, listen to others, make notes and do everything you can to make sure they get a positive outcome from their conversation.
Source: Why your business social media should be organised like the party of the year by Hamish Anderson
First step to building your social media marketing strategy
Building your social media strategy is much the same as any other type of strategy, you want to begin by clearly identifying your goals, and if possible the user groups you hope to connect with.
Additionally there are a few simple steps you can take to get started:
Pay attention to the dialogue that’s already taking place in the space you’re interested in. You want to make sure you tone is consistent with what you’re observing but add something new and relevant to the conversation. It’s a good idea to remember some users are turned off by blatant advertising in what they might consider a strictly social space.
You should also make sure you actually take the time to engage. Nothing is worse than a poorly managed page that seems to have been left unattended. You’ll quickly gain a lot of negative feedback, when you could’ve instead dealt with the situation head on.
When you do promote yourself try to be smart about it - you don’t want to be the equivalent of a social media pop-up ad. Tailor your content to the forum and your followers.
Online Marketing Crossroads
You can start to recognise that everything you see is almost some form of Content Marketing, but inevitably the question of how is Content Marketing not Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) enters left stage. They are different fields within online marketing, and they both heavily rely on the other, however, they cannot be mistaken for the same thing. SEO is arguably far more technical; from onsite optimisation like ALT tags and correct URLS, SEO methods are the unseen components of a successful Content Marketing campaign. Content Marketing is much broader in the sense that it is created for the intent of acquiring and keeping an audience. It is also the front-house aspect of a successful SEO campaign.
Full article by Lauren O'Connor here: https://www.savvysme.com.au/article/2336-online-marketing-crossroads
What Should You Include in Your Social Media Policy?
No matter if your business is on social media or not, your employees and partners most probably are. That’s why a company shouldn’t wait for its first social media account to create a policy. Even more, if you are going to get on with the social media journey as a company, you need to create a social media policy first.
Your social media policy cannot be just a list of do's and dont's for your employees.
It needs to be a guide to netiquette that leaves little to interpretation.
Value of social media to your business
Encouraging your employees, partners, suppliers and customers to use social media, and communicate through it, opens up new opportunities for business. A company should never be afraid of the publicity of social media. Rather, it should learn to use it in an open and transparent way.
Here are a few suggestions as to what your social media policy might cover:
- Blog policy
- Social media netiquette
- Personal social media policy
- LinkedIn policy
- Company password policy
- Corporate Twitter policy
It is okay to have one overall policy and sub-policies concerning different social media platforms and communication channels.
Full article by Katherine Hawes here:
Using Social Media
Using social media is a fantastic way to advertise and promote your business directly to prospective clients. It is your responsibility to ensure that any content published on your social media page is accurate, irrespective of whether you were the author of it. The best way to minimise the risk of using social media to advertise and promote is to avoid making any statement online, that you would not make in any of your other advertisements (such as in print). You should prohibit others from commenting on your page with misleading claims. You have the power to remove and reply to comments on your social media pages and should do so if someone is posting misleading statements. You should bear in mind that social media is a 24/7 operation and that it is your responsibility to monitor your pages.
A good way of advertising and promoting a new online business is by sending ‘cold’ messages to potential clients. You do need to be careful that these messages are not considered spam. Spamming occurs when you send people spontaneous messages without their consent. This is an illegal act in Australia. You should only email potential clients who have expressly or impliedly given consent to be contacted. If the client’s email address or contact details are publicly available online and there is no attached statement that commercial messages are not wanted, then this is a form of inferred consent. You should also bear in mind that the subject matter of the message you are sending needs to be relevant to their business.
Read the full article by Katherine Hawes here; Advertising and promotion for your new online business
What tools are out there?
Hootsuite: a social media dashboard that lets you manage various accounts, and collaborate with your team across them. You can also access analytics and add several team members in so you can collaborate. It's one of the most affordable tools out there but it still has many of the functionalities you would expect from a higher priced businesses of any size. As a manager you can assign tasks to your team and follow their progression.
Post Planner: an app that allows you to schedule your Facebook posts, which is a great time saving option. It also has other features, like letting you see popular content relevant to your industry to help get a better grasp of what your customers might want to see. If Facebook is your main source of social media marketing and you want the convenience of an app. It's perfect if a lot of your social media marketing happens on the go, but you still want the ability to strategise and plan.
Mention: it works just like google alerts except you can track certain words or phrases across social media. Excellent for keeping track of what content users find engaging, although not all plans will allow you to export your data, which can be frustrating. It's also on the pricier side but they let you try for 30 days without having to give credit card details, so you can test its compatibility with your business.
Bundlepost: let’s you schedule posts across several platforms, so you don't have too seek out a tool that's specific to certain social media accounts. You can also schedule in bulk so you can keep your social media sleek rather than scattered. Perfect if you manage several accounts and want to ensure you're keeping track of what your business is putting out.
Who can help me?
SponsoredLinX - Australia's leading online marketing agency, boasting specialist teams dedicated to the areas of AdWords, SEO, Web Design, Social Media Marketing and App Marketing. - See more at: https://www.savvysme.com.au/business/sponsoredlinx/marketing-and-communications/Fortitude-Valley#sthash.uE2osBYq.dpuf
Smarthinking - Smarthinking works with service-based businesses that are stuck talking about what they DO (the process), instead of what prospects GET (the results) - See more at: https://www.savvysme.com.au/business/smarthinking/marketing-and-communications/australia#sthash.sskY4Weo.dpuf
Straight Talk Group - a team of business specialists – coaches, consultants, and South Australian business veterans – who strive to give “straight up” business advice, coaching and mentoring. - See more at: https://www.savvysme.com.au/business/straight-talk-group/consulting-and-strategy/West-Lakes#sthash.x9qsIdjQ.dpuf
Pay on Performance - Pay on Performance is a boutique Melbourne digital marketing agency. Our primary passion is helping people build their business.
- See more at: https://www.savvysme.com.au/business/pay-on-performance/marketing-and-communications/Melbourne#sthash.dP0Tun8a.dpuf
Neil is the CEO of Wardour Capital Partners, leading startup, emerging growth and mid tier advisors and mentors. He is also a Non Executive Director of Family Planning Australia. Neil acts a a corporate mentor providing broad ranging advice and assistance on business development, strategic planning, revenue and profit growth, equity/funding and corporate governance. His objective is to work closely with clients to help develop lasting solutions leading to growth in revenues & profit.
The founder of New Age Legal Solutions and Aquarius Education. This is a different type of law firm as we believe everyone should have access to quality legal services with no hidden costs or expensive 'charging by the minute' for a reassuring chat. Small Business Owner? Find out more about our Small Business Packages to gain access to legal expertise on a routine basis for a fixed affordable rate.
Lauren possesses a multidisciplinary set of skills and as such has experience in a vast array of Industries. After completing a Creative Writing degree, she has written for various glossy magazines and industry blogs, and is now the Digital & Content Writer at SponsoredLinX.
Q&A on social media marketing
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