Social media for business
When it comes to buying a product or service, most people like to do their research online before making a final decision, and today, we want to know what everybody else thinks or feels about the quality of the offering and the company, before we feel comfortable doing business with them or giving them our cash.
75% of online purchases start with the search engine and as a business, the more of a presence you have over the internet, the more chance you have of firstly showing up in searches and secondly converting leads to customers or clients. Having a good online presence is therefore important for any business and social media is a big contributor to that.
Social media is an innovation that is about selling your credibility before selling your product or service. If people trust in you, they will buy from you. Rather than a cold hard sell, social media is platform where you are able to share the human personality and brain behind the brand or company. It is a place where you can interact and engage with influencers and leads, show off your expertise, and add credibility to your offering, which in turn can lead to more sales. It’s a platform you can utilise for your business for free and once you start using it, it should become a part of your daily or weekly working life.
To build a reputation online takes time and commitment. You should try to put a small plan in place as part of your overall marketing strategy that includes which platform you are going to use, what your personality is, what content you will share and how you are going to reach your existing customers / clients and also generate new leads. The bottom line is to gain long-term followers that will ultimately buy from and endorse your business.
Here is a checklist with tips to help you start utilising social media for your business:
1. Choose the right platform
Consider your target audience and which platforms they are actually using. Don’t go to Facebook just because it is the largest social networking site – it won’t work for you unless your target audience are actually there. Facebook works well for B2C whereas for B2B, LinkedIn remains the most successful social media platform.
2. Brand your channels
Most social media platforms allow for personal profiles as well as business pages. Have your own personal profile, but create a business page for your company. Where there are opportunities to customise your business page with graphics, utilise this to apply your branding to achieve a look that is consistent with your website. Facebook allows for cover photos and profile avatar whereas Twitter allows for that and also a background image. YouTube allows for a background image and avatar whereas LinkedIn allows for a cover graphic. Get your graphics created to the correct sizes and put your contact details in visible areas. If you run campaigns regularly, change your header photos in line with those to reflect the campaign.
3. Market your presence
Import your contacts or database into your social media platform to find existing people to follow and make aware of your presence on the platform. Most of them should follow you and if not send out more subtle messages to let them know you are online.
Add the icons to your website, email footer and any email marketing. For print material, you could add a QR code to a social media site if you think its really successful platform for you, but if not save the QR code to open to your website or contact card. Ensure you are using your channels and putting up posts no matter how small to start with.
4. Create valuable content
Create content to express your expertise around what your target audience would be interested in when doing business with you. Don’t give it all away, but do give initial guidance and advice with a call to action to speak to you or sign up to something. A blog is a good place to create content which can be short articles written in a informal way. Share each piece of content across all your social platforms and perhaps over email marketing to your live database so that your existing customers or clients are sure to get it. (Add follow buttons on your email to ensure that people know to follow your channels to get live updates).
When you create content for your website or a blog remember to add social share buttons so people have an easy opportunity to share your content themselves.
5. Get involved and interact
Don’t just share your own content, read other people’s content and like, comment or discuss it with them. Search keywords and join discussions for example if on LinkedIn, join industry groups and comment on discussion threads or answer open questions. When you are confident you can also start your own discussions to gain information you need. Social networking is an open platform that wants you to be interacting with each other.
If you get customers or potential leads trying to interact with you, get back to them ASAP. Even negative feedback if handled efficiently and politely will be a credit to your reputation. Start building a database of contacts that you have had interactions with or have followed you. LinkedIn especially lets you export your contacts out into a spreadsheet. If you have someone you are looking to contact to do business with, search for them online and see what they are talking about on their own social media channels.
These are our first five tips on the checklist to utilising social media to your online presence.
For more information and guidance to utilising social media within your business, contact Reach Digital