Friday 30 November 2012

Social Media - Why You Should Use It, and How

The business world is ever-changing and intensely competitive, so any competitive advantage you can gain is priceless. Successful business strategies can always be boiled down to the fundamentals; catering to your consumer’s needs, wants and demands – basically giving the public what the public wants!

What do most modern consumers want? Accessibility and a brand with personality!

There has been extensive stigma surrounding social media and how it can damage a business’ reputation and that it takes a lot of resources to successfully run a business’ social media page, but if it is done correctly, it can take a little as 15 minutes a day. But why should your brand have a social media outlet? Well the chances are a very high proportion of your target customers are using social media, and getting your brand out there and engaging with consumers is what business is all about. It’s cheap, effective marketing!
If you don’t move with the times, you’ll get left behind. It’s as basic as that.

A few tips and tricks to make sure your social media campaign is effective.

1. Shameless Self-Promotion

No matter how good your content is, how good your promotional campaigns are and no matter how many updates you do, they’re all virtually pointless unless you advertise the fact that you have a social media presence. Too many businesses put effort into their social media campaigns, but don’t inform their customers. Let’s face it, a lot of consumers are lazy and won’t even think to look a business up on Facebook. You have to be proactive, add incentives for liking you on Facebook. It will all be worth it in the end.

2. Show Your Soft Side

One reason why some businesses have been skeptical about joining Facebook, are the negative comments unhappy customers leave, and the damaged these comments can do to a brand image. Ladies and gentlemen, do not fear. If handled in the right way, these negative comments can help build a positive view of your brand.

Ultimately, it’s important to respond to these comments. Not replying makes it seem as though your brand does not care, and does not feel accountable for their actions. It is important to respond in a timely, and empathetic manner in an attempt to solve the problem at hand.

3. Timing is Everything

Ask Stephen Bradbury how he won his miraculous gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in speed skating, and he would probably say “he timed his run to perfection”. Ask Michael Clarke about his record breaking season of cricket with 4 double centuries in a calender year, and he’ll say ‘Timing was the Key’. Ask Felix Baumgartner what the most crucial part of the ‘Red Bull Stratos’ Mission was, and I dare say, that he would answer, “the timing”. The same fundamentals that cultivated in major events in history applies to marketers, and even more potently, to Social Media Marketing.

Understanding your customers will make this process much easier. For example, knowing when the majority of your customers are online, and making sure you post then will maximise your exposure and results. Posting at 3am in the morning when most of your customers are asleep is not recommended… in fact highly frowned upon.  It seems like common sense, but many brands forget to consider such an integral part of the success for their social media campaign.

4. Content is King

Business is about providing your consumers with some sort of benefit, and social media is no different. If you want more people to like your page and engage with your brand, give them something to engage with! Having quality, relevant and evocative content helps build brands, and help position them within a market. Content is vital to your brand’s personality and perceived value. NEVER underestimate the power of content.

5. What’s the Key to Presenting an Effective Image On Social Media?

Just like the cliché answer that almost everyone feels obligated to use when asked; “What do you look for in a partner?” – Personality.

People aren't looking to interact with a corporate, up-tight brand over social media. Consumers go onto social media platforms for light-hearted entertainment and to interact with peers, therefore your brand should be a little less formal. In no way am I saying that a legal firm should be posting about their weekend out, but I’m saying have some personality – whilst staying in line with your business profile.

Don’t be scared to show opinions, use semi-colloquial language, and make jokes (as long as they are tasteful), and make interacting with your customers as fun and enjoyable as possible.