[Ed: Barnes Class is delighted to publish this helpful article from local expert Kathy Ennis.]
What’s the best way for you to get your social media working so that it becomes a real benefit to your business?
That’s the 64,000 dollar question:
Many small and micro businesses approach their social media from the wrong direction; seeing it purely as a sales funnel. Of course we want all of our marketing to lead to sales, but if we use our social media like a barrow boy at a market – simply shouting out our wares and prices – we’re missing the point. Modern marketing is about engagement; it’s about understanding our target audience’s wants and needs so that we can engage with them on a more individual level. Social media enables us to do that really well.
So here are my 5 top tips for helping you achieving customer engagement and rocking your social media:
1 Know your customers / know yourself
There’s an old saying “People buy from people”, but often the end of that sentence is forgotten, “People buy from people, like themselves”.
Consider yourself as a consumer. How do you like to engage with people online; where do you spend your time; how do you react to businesses / suppliers online; what encourages you to engage or purchase goods online?
If you are using methods to market your business, or engage with customers online, that you don’t personally respond to, do you think your prospective customers will?
2 Understand the difference between broadcast and marketing
Social media gives you a brilliant opportunity to send out messages about yourself, your products and services, your reaction to news stories, brilliant quotes, funny cat videos ….
The problem is, that’s broadcasting, not marketing.
Here’s what I mean:
Broadcast is simply a shout-out message or your reaction to something; it’s not a planned approach to a specific, measurable objective – and it’s certainly not a methodology for true engagement.
It’s not to say broadcast is wrong, it’s just it needs to be part of a broader approach to your social media marketing.
3 Be your brand
It is my firm belief that the brand of every business is the outcome of the personal brand of the business founder. The business will be built on the shared knowledge, experience and core values of the business owner.
So, your social media output needs to be a mirror image of the brand of the business.
The stories you share, the words you write, the views you hold should be shared with your audience.
“People buy from people, like themselves”.
Being true to your brand may turn off some people; that’s fine. We’re all Marmite. Some people will love us; some people will hate use – but there will be enough people out there that love us and will want to buy from us. All the others? Well, they’re just missing out on something great, aren’t they!
4 Be proactive, be collaborative and give credit where it’s due
One of the most common challenges I hear expressed by small and micro business owners who are having difficulties with their social media marketing, is that they don’t know what to say.
Here’s the thing:
Would it surprise you to know that ‘You’ don’t have to be the one who’s saying it.
Let’s consider the 80:20 Rule.
If you’re finding it difficult to come up with lots of new and exciting content; don’t. Share other people’s. You need to give them full credit, of course – but you shouldn’t be spending all your time creating content, you should be spending your time delivering your products or services.
When I work with small and micro business owners, and we develop their social media strategy, I get them to identify 80% of shred content; leaving them with 20% of their own. So much easier to handle, don’t you think?
5 Do Something Daily
Not everything; not everywhere.
You need to be where your customers are (considering what I said above, it’s probably where you are) and you need to provide them with a daily dose of engagement.
Don’t do this social media stuff only when you feel like it. A little activity consistently is far more effective than massive bursts of information at irregular intervals. So, one post a day on Facebook or LinkedIn, maybe two Tweets a day on Twitter – remembering that the posts don’t have to be all your own, original content – can be enough.
So, follow these tips and you’ll soon be rocking your social media.
— Kathy Ennis