Business Social Media

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What Has Social Media Done?

Social media is all around us, it’s become second nature. So what’s made social media so popular a platform the masses have embraced? How can you use this platform and ensure your business is where the masses meet.

Social media is accessible, and by it’s very nature, a communication medium that does not exclude.

By definition and design, social media is all about conversation, it’s what we’ve always done. A conversation where you product, brand or service is looked at from every angle, and in most cases without your knowledge.

All this is changing, now people are having this conversation online and the best part is you have their blessing to “listen in.” What an opportunity to build on everything that is good with your product, brand or service. The chance to implement changes to your business and grow its footprint for success.

When business social media is implemented correctly, it can mean business progress and not only business conversation. Social media is a valuable marketing tool.

The decision making process that prospective clients go through is changing. They are looking for a different form of reassurance that they’re making the correct decision. Social media has provided just this requirement in the form of personal endorsements, testimonials and reviews. Now more and more consumers are sharing their experiences with your product, brand or service with hundreds, thousands and even millions of people.

How To Use Social Media To Promote Your Small Business

You have a small business and you haven’t bought into business social media? Silence is no longer an option. People are online talking about your company as you read this, whether you like or not.  If you don’t engage in the conversation, you risk losing your customers.

The first action you should take before engaging in online marketing or social media marketing and engagement is to look at what you’re trying to promote. What are your assets? Who are your target customers?

Sign-up with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Facebook allows you to create a business page. Make sure you read the rules for businesses first. You can even ‘create a page’ through your personal account, if your business allows you to do so. That makes it easy for small business owners to manage it.

Managing multiple social networks can become hectic, so, before you start posting content, requesting friends and adding followers, sign-up for a social media manager such as HootSuite. It allows you to manage all of your accounts on one site and schedule your messages to deploy so you don’t have to sit over it all day. It also allows you to review the success of the tweets real-time with click-through statistics. And you can gather all the mentions of your brand, industry or search terms on Twitter through it as well. That’s for the free version.

It’s important to have content on your social media pages before you start adding friends and followers. When you try to find friends, they’re going to look at the page to see if they want to follow you. So you need to give them a reason to follow you first. Provide valuable information about the industry. Post pictures of your business or people enjoying your business. On YouTube, post videos of your business, customer experiences, and encourage customers to make their own. You can also ‘favorite’ other YouTube users’ videos and they will end up on your page. 

May 8

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING vs. TRADITIONAL MARKETING

Today’s business world is alive with the buzzword social media. There are however many who don’t understand how social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube can contribute to the bottom line of any company’s sales goals. Lets look at social media marketing and how it impacts on any business competing in a very crowded marketplace.

Traditional marketing in print media, TV and radio are for most part, a force type advertising. Users of these mediums are reading the latest news or articles of interest, listening to music or talk shows and watching their favourite TV show. The object of the advert is to get people to visit the website or store, order a product or service or phone in. These adverts are forced upon people and interrupt their focus. This being the most traditional form of advertising, an estimated 1-2% of people act upon this.

Compare this to a social media marketing strategy, one developed by SA Business Media that includes social media training. The idea is to develop a stream of compelling content on the company’s business media page that promotes comment and or interaction.



May 7

Explain Social Media with analogies.

Imagine Thomas Eddison trying to explain the light bulb at a convention of oil-lamp manufacturers, sometimes trying to explain social media to businesses can feel a bit like this.

 Analogies can be very useful communication and explanation tools, especially when trying to explain something that is new and different. They allow you to borrow from familiar experiences and export them into the unknown.  A good example of this is the motorcars,  they were first presented as an analogy; a horseless carriage, combining two things which were familiar to explain something that was new.  American Indians described the train as an iron horse.

 For this reason analogies are very useful in helping people understand social media.  Analogies also have an advantage in that they are very easy to illustrate and thus ideal for PowerPoint presentations.  We are slowly realizing PowerPoint is a visual medium, and putting only words into it a visual medium is a bit like leaving out the cherries in a cherry & ginger cake.  The best analogies also have the potential to raise a smile, occasionally even a laugh, which is always a good thing.

 Traditional marketing and communication is about fireworks, single messages or campaigns designed to be seen by many people but which are expensive to launch and last for a very short time.  Social media is about bonfires, creating spaces that draw smaller numbers of people to them at any one time – but which can be kept alight almost indefinitely and help create conversation and engagement.

 If traditional media is the land, then social media is the sea.  You can travel very easily across both provided you understand the difference.

 Numerous companies approach social media in the same way that a motorist might approach the sea when they encounter it for the first time.  Their first instinct is to work out how to make their car drive across the water.  And when someone shows them a boat, their reaction will be “where’s the wheels?”

Attempts by some companies at social media are like floating cars – i.e. traditional campaigns and approaches with crude adjustments to try and make them float.

 Doing social media is a bit like being a stand-up comedian.  Understanding your audience and getting engagement is critical.  To do this you need to know if the audience is laughing at your jokes and you need to know that in real time. If they laugh, build on it.  If they don’t, drop it and move on.

 A question that often pops up is, should we have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or a blog?  The answer, does a carpenter ever ask “should I have a hammer?”   These things are simply tools, and you first need to work out what you want to build.  And even once you have done that, simply having the tools isn’t going to get it built.

Carpentry is a very good analogy to help get a perspective on almost all the new stuff in social media.  A carpenter may have many tools but they all fall into one of only three categories; hitting, chiselling and sawing things.  Even a non-carpenter will be able to go into a carpenter’s workshop and get a reasonable idea as to what all of his tools do.  However, knowing about all the tools doesn’t make you a carpenter.  Likewise within social media there are only three types of tools – publishing tools, sharing or distribution tools and community building tools.  And simply using them, or even understanding them, doesn’t make you an effective social media marketer. It’s a bit like someone thinking that because they can hit a nail with a hammer, it makes them a carpenter.

 In the past content was all about shop windows – a representative or illustrative display designed to attract passing traffic.  You spent quite a lot of money crafting your display, but you didn’t try to put all your stuff in it because of the space cost.

In the future, content is going to be about stocking and managing a virtual content warehouse.  This warehouse will contain lots of stuff: information on everything you are doing, information that illustrates your brand story and information that answers all of the questions a potential customer or stakeholder might have.  You won’t drive people to this warehouse to find the content – instead you will pluck it off the shelves when required and insert it as links into all the relevant conversations and let it then spread of its own accord.

 

Sorry, we’re closed…

Ever made your way someplace, only to be met with a sign on the door like the one above? “Closed”.  If you have a presence on social media, but don’t take the time to actively participate it in, you are effectively hanging the same sign out for all.  It’s really important that if you have a presence on social media, that you show up and participate.

Do you know what is being said about you?

You may have decided that you don’t want to (or just haven’t yet) enhance your marketing with social media.  Even if you don’t have a social media presence, it’s really important that you take the time to listen to what people are saying on-line about your company or brand and to respond accordingly.  Install one or more listening platforms to know what’s being said about your company, brand, products, executives and competitors in order to listen and respond where appropriate.  Google Alerts is a very simple listening tool, but there are plenty of other out there too.

(Source: google.co.za)

Apr 5

Pay it Forward

Pay it Forward

It’s so great when we get to see examples of people talking about their community on social media and providing recommendations of other businesses around them.  Social media isn’t a “go-it-alone” endeavor.  It’s about the community and “paying-it-forward.”  As you get to witness it working, it makes you want to jump on board and join in…

Apr 4
You don’t have to be a big business to have great customer service and a personality. The better your personality is, the bigger profits will be.
"People are craving that human connection. They just want to be on the receiving end of a random act of kindness."  ~Mari Smith~


You don’t have to be a big business to have great customer service and a personality. The better your personality is, the bigger profits will be.

"People are craving that human connection. They just want to be on the receiving end of a random act of kindness."  ~Mari Smith~

Apr 2

So you think your business doesn’t need social media guidelines?

Think again! Your business may not even use social media, but if you employ one or more staff, the reality is that your employees use social media.  They may be representing your business without your knowledge.  Therefore, it is good practice to consider creating a set of social media guidelines to protect both your business and your employees.  

Heidi Cohen has a great article and advice on how to structure  social media guidelines for your business….