Wednesday 26 March 2014

Social Media Success Part 1 - Grab a drink and enjoy the party

Have you ever thought to yourself - how sociable is my business? 

Is he the life of the party, working the room with a drink in hand, igniting eruptions of laughter in every group he joins. Or is she the conversationalist, giving undivided attention to a few people making them feel heard and appreciated. Is my business the quirky one with the bizarre facts and left field anecdotes? Or does he hide in the kitchen, washing up and helping backstage?

Do you remember the Mac versus PC ad from a while ago? Two men, dressed very differently, introducing themselves as "Hi, I'm a Mac" and "I'm a PC". The idea for this ad was to represent their brand as a person - how would this brand dress, act, speak etc. Obviously, it was done to promote one brand over the other, but it stands as a good example of brand personification. 

In the past, some companies - usually with a marketing team and ample resources - would work hard at defining their brand's personality and ensuring everything worked in line with this. It's good practice, but for many people who are busting their gut running their own small business, spending time doing this sort of task would seem pointless. Especially, when you're already working 12 hour days to ensure you can put food on the table and keep afloat. 

But times have changed - we are told by everyone around us that we need to have a Facebook page, a blog, a twitter account, hang out in Pinterest, post to Instagram and update our Linked In profile. This is the new normal! I was looking at a food's label the other day to get recipe information, and of course, I see the 'Like us on Facebook' link. They are everywhere! 

So the question about your company's social life and personality is actually more relevant now than ever before because when you start a Facebook page or a Twitter account under the guise of your brand, you are essentially giving your business a voice. So it's a really important question to ask - who is my business? What sort of conversations will I be having in this social media world?

It's important that you don't end up being a salesperson who crashes a birthday party. All the guests have come to let their hair down, have fun, relax and take their mind off things. You really don't want to be the one that brings up the topic of 'work', or tries to sell them something. Grab a drink, change into your party clothes and join in on the conversations that are happening around you. 

Practically, this means that when you set up a business page on Facebook or open an Instagram account under your company's brand, you need to consider who you'll be and therefore what sort of posts will work well for you.

If you want to provide people with entertainment, post funny images, memes, quotes and jokes. 
If you want to inform, find relevant articles, give away free tips, offer to answer people's questions. 
If you want to help others, share from other people's pages, profile your clients, promote good causes. 

To decide on who you'll be, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What does my business already do?
- Who are my clients and typically, why would they be on social media? If you can answer this, WHAT social media are my clients and potential clients on?
- Who am I - what sort of posts do I like, share, re-tweet and re-gram naturally?
- Other than more sales, why would/should I use social media for my business?        

From here you should be able to get an idea of the 'person' your business is and therefore, how you'll socialise online. Use this then as the framework to decide which social media platforms you'll use, how frequently you'll post, what you'll post and how you will engage with people. 

Grab a drink and enjoy the party!