Part three of our series on “must-haves” for your small business will focus on social media presence.
Once you have your branding sorted out and you’re looking at the next step to increase awareness of who you are and what you do. A staggering 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media channels.
Whatever your business, whether you are a small restaurant focusing on specific people from a specific area, or a large multinational looking to serve a worldwide customer base, social media is a great way to reach out to and connect with your customers.
You need customers for your business and social media seems like a great way to go.
Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.
– Susan Cooper, @buzzedition
- Having loads of accounts doesn’t guarantee customers
- Social media traffic is a very different beast, but not impossible to handle
- How to make a solid social strategy
What is a social media presence?
Social media is a great way to connect with your current and future customers. This is done by creating engaging, shareable and useful content and posting it through one or more of your social media pages.
The best thing about social media is that it is a direct line of communication with your customer base. The shareable nature of social media posts also means that if you produce top quality content, your customers will pass this content on to their friends and family which can result in… more customers!
Why is your social media presence important?
Firstly, check out the following statistics:
- In 2015 82% of the world’s population (excluding China where it is banned) had a Facebook account.
- The average person spends an hour and forty minutes on social media.
- The average person spends 28 percent of their time online on social media.
Simply put, people are spending a whole lot of their time on social media.
As a business, it is therefore crucial that you have a social media presence as it is an easy way to get you product, service or brand in front of as many of your customers as possible.
Having social accounts doesn’t guarantee customers
When social first came on the scene, loads of businesses jumped on the bandwagon and started setting up accounts all over the place. There was a wave of “social media is a great way to find customers”. It’ was like you were guaranteed to go viral and see hundreds or thousands of customers appear out of no where just because you had a Facebook page.
Obviously this idea of finding infinite customers didn’t take off. Recuse frankly it was based on hope and assumptions. There was no strategy behind the transition from “Facebook like” to “sale”. The truth is that social media hasn’t changed WHY people buy, it’s just added to the number of ways for HOW they buy.
Social media does allow us to find more potential customers and have people discover us. It’s a great place to post news and content out and allow people to see what we have to offer.
As we move more and more mobile, faster posting with shorter lifespans are becoming more popular. Kind of like sending a text to a friend rather than having a long conversation with them. But again, this is not about getting CUSTOMERS but getting people to notice us and follow what we have to say. According to Statistica, the number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018.
On top of all that, you’re bombarded with stuff about scheduling times, posting ratios and curated content. It can make social media seem like a bit of a minefield.
Here’s the undeniable truth. Treat social media as a method to find interested people and get traffic to your website. Then, convert them to customers on the site. With customers, ask them to join another social area to manage what they see and change what you send them.
A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.
– Scott Cook, Founder, Intuit
What usually goes wrong?
Not the right audience
Think of social media and customers like email lists and customers. If you attract a list of email subscribers that doesn’t mean that they’re ready to be customers.
Some might be customers and some might be interested. Others may never buy at all.
Rather than trying to find customers, find a group of people willing to listen to your voice and what you have to say. Match the right platform to your audience and make sure you’re going after the right people. For example, Snapchat is a great method to reach the Generation Y demographic.
Social media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide you.
– Matt Goulart
Not the right content
If you’ve found your audience and your platform, you need to make sure you’re posting the right content. This just means understanding what your audience wants help with or wants to see and showing them that content.
For example, if your customers are looking for chiropractic care, then are they going to be more interested in solving their back pain or the top 10 ways to pick your desk chair.
Make sure that you’ve got a content plan that has 3 – 5 topics and ideas that your audience really wants to read about. We know from experience that keeping things simple and posting the same great, useful article is way more effective than just posting anything for the sake of it.
Why use social media? Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but the stories you tell.
– Seth Godin
People don’t trust you
So once you’ve started to generate traffic to your website, what happens if no one is buying? The short answer is probably that they don’t trust you.
For example, here at SMP Studios, we absolutely LOVE new Apple gadgets. If they recommend a new product, we’ll probably buy it based on trust alone. It doesn’t really need to be sold to us.
Trust can’t be bought or sped up. It’s earned through consistency, communication and time. Understand what people want and over-deliver on their expectations. If you’re finding that you can drive traffic to your site from social, you need to ensure that visitors trust you enough to buy. The first step towards trust is capturing their email address and starting with email marketing.
Top tips for your social media presence
Of course, when thinking about your social media strategy there are certain things you must take into consideration.
Who are your target customers?
This is perhaps the most crucial thing to think about as it will completely define your social media strategy. Thinking about who your target customers are will allow you to decide on many of the most important aspects of your social media strategy, including:
- Which social network or networks do your customers use?
If your target customers are 30-50 year-old mid-career professionals, perhaps start out your social media strategy on Linkedin. On the other hand, if it is teenagers you could perhaps look at Snapchat or Youtube.
- When should you post on social media?
Your target customer will also dictate when you post. If you run a business that targets people throughout the world, you should probably plan numerous posts during all 24 hours of the day. If you are just targeting 18-30 year-old women in a certain city, you would need to find out what times these people are likely to be online and fit your posts around their schedule.
Make your social channels work with your web presence
Remember that the overall goal of your social media presence is to drive customers to your website, where you can convert these visitors to customers.
Because of this, your posts should focus on giving people the information they want, while subtly pushing them towards your website.
Unify social media strategy with your brand
After spending all that time defining your brand you should make sure that this comes through on all your social media posts. Each post should be made to be consistent with your brand’s core identity and your brand’s design elements.
Things to avoid
Of course, as with all things in life, there are certain mistakes that you should try to avoid. Remember people don’t use social media to be advertised to, they use it to catch up with the people and things that they love. With this in mind you should avoid the following things:
Publishing a lot of posts at the same time
I know it can seem tempting to get as much content out as possible when you have time, but doing this can make your brand seem spammy. If you only have thirty minutes or an hour a day for your social media strategy, there are plenty of tools you can use that allow you to schedule your posts to spread them out evenly throughout the day.
Not offering value through your posts
When posting you should make sure you aren’t simply advertising, but that you are instead offering value to the lives of your customers. This will keep your customers happy as well as making them more likely to share your content.
Doing too much at once
Unless you have a specific social media strategy manager, social media can be a time-consuming activity. Because of this you should choose just one or two social media platforms that you think are effective and work on them. And remember, if one of them isn’t working, you can always switch to a different platform. Start slow and build content once you get into a routine.
So, how do we convert social to customers?
Use a private group
No one expects this as an answer, but we recommend setting up a private group on Facebook for your customers or leads. Make it somewhere they can ask questions and share content.
Keep it private and work on the community there. Traffic from closed groups that know you are higher and you’re not having to find new audiences every time you’ve got content.
You could use the group for support, customer services or accountability. Or all three. Post useful content that your customers want to consume and that’s a great method to check that other people will want it too.
Mix up your posting
With our pages and Twitter account, we recommend a 2:2:2 posting ratio. This just means that we don’t just post our own stuff out every day every week. We’ll find other useful content and older posts of ours too and make sure they all get an equal share.
This is way more powerful for driving traffic and from people that aren’t leads or customers yet. Try the below ratio for your business.
- 2 curated posts – these are posts and found content from other sources that suit your audience.
- 2 older posts – older content that’s yours but still useful.
- 2 current posts – new stuff that’s yours.
When do you post? Well that’s up to you really. The ratio is a guideline that means if you’re posting 6 posts a day, 2 should be older content, 2 should be curated and so on. If you’re only posting once a day, then it roughly works our to 2 new posts over 2 days and 2 curated posts the next two days etc.
Don’t over post as it looks spammy. But a good way to mitigate the look of spam is to post older and curated stuff.
Follow the rules
These are the golden rules for posting on social. They’ll help drive traffic and lower your workload.
- ALWAYS post with a link
- Mix up your titles
- Measure your clicks – use UTM links
- Don’t go nuts with #hashtags
- Schedule your posts
In summary, we really love the 2:2:2 ratio. It means we can fill out a CSV sheet with loads of content and load it into our social tool. We have a strategy where every post is first sent to a customer private group, but then posted out on our other channels too.
Some businesses might not like the idea of a private group, saying it’s too much work. But if you’re not willing to own the support and customer service side of your business then you don’t deserve more sales.
Make a plan, write it on your calendar, determine what you are going to stay, and do to it! It’s that easy!
If you haven’t checked out our article about content creation and the importance of providing value for your audience, be sure to jump to it now! Then, stay tuned for our next post in the business must-haves series explaining the ins and outs of email marketing.