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Has your company or business embraced the social media world and used it to its full advantage? Do you really understand what is meant by social media? Has your business ever implemented a social media strategy? Have you got a Facebook profile and done nothing with it? Do the words ‘ social media’ scare you?
Has your company or business embraced the social media world and used it to its full advantage?
Do you really understand what is meant by social media?
Has your business ever implemented a social media strategy?
Have you got a Facebook profile and done nothing with it?
Do the words ‘ social media’ scare you?
The following article will help unravel some of the mysteries and myths about social media and help you implement strategies that will increase sales, brand awareness and loyalty.
Most businesses are a little bit unsure about social media and how they can can use it to their benefit. More often than not they hear words like Facebook and they associate it with their children or teenage daughters who are on it 24/7. Or they hear words like blogging or Twitter and they all think its just too hard and relegate it to the ‘in tray’ to be done at a later stage by someone else in the company who will be delegated the task with a bit more experience. This is a very dangerous attitude to have especially for companies looking to expand their client base and capture a new, wider audience. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest are now part of most peoples online world. They spend hours and hours on it each day interacting and sharing information with friends, colleagues and family members.Having a social media strategy targeting the online community means that your business is interacting with a whole new range of people that they would have never thought of in the past. Traditional forms of marketing such as print adverts, radio and TV spots as well as some online search engine optimisation were considered the norm and enough to get by on. Today, with the emergence of the social media space, companies have a new and extremely powerful platform with which they can engage new consumers on. Following are a few of these platforms with some helpful strategic advice.
Probably the biggest and most well know social media platform is Facebook. It is the most popular with over 10 million Australians using it each month for an average of 8 hours, with over 75% of users returning to the site daily. With statistics like this it is the place to be seen, especially for your brand or product.
Most people understand the basic fundamentals of Facebook, such as getting people to become friends with you and you becoming friends with them. You can see what they have been up to and even post photos of your weekend or holiday for all to see. At a basic level this is what Facebook is all about. Its about getting as many online friends as possible ( in some cases people you do not know very well) and building upon this. Bragging rights are known where people compete with each other about who has the most friends. Getting friends is not all that hard. Most people are quite happy to accept the friendship even if you are a very long distance acquaintance or a friend of a friend. Its simple, easy and you can get over 100 friends in no time at all. Now think of this in terms of your business and you can see the enormity of what is possible. To illustrate this its best done point by point to make the picture a lot clearer.
Register a Facebook page dedicated to your business or product. The registration process is easy and its the same as registering a personal page. Have it designed properly so that when someone lands on this page they will know immediately that they have landed on your company page. Have a design studio like www.hoppingmad.com.au design this page so it not only looks professionally designed but also reflects your company image and branding. Perhaps even have an important message on the banner or some kind of ‘call to action’. The whole look and feel of your Facebook company page is paramount to the success of your social media campaign. Ideally you want the consumer once landed on the page to engage with it positively. They need to read your message and take action. If you have a sale on a certain product, make sure this leaps out off the page and makes the user want to buy. Offer a discount, perhaps a 2 for 1 offer, but make them want to engage with the site. People are visual and will only respond if what they see attracts them or if the offer is too good to refuse. Keep graphics stylish, clean and uncluttered and never confuse people with mixed messages. Cut through all the online noise with clear information and this will ensure that the user is aware of what you are trying to say or sell. Throwing tour logo on the page with some information is not going to make the grade these days. Internet savvy users have become desensitised so you message must be very visual and hard hitting.
Make the user ‘like’ or forward your page onto a friend by offering them something. Perhaps have a competition where the first 20 people that register get a free sample or product. Its up to you and only limited by your imagination. Remember that the aim is to get as many people as possible to your page and the way to do this is through the ‘viral effect’. That is, if one person likes what you have to say then they will pass it onto their friend etc etc. This is the beauty and power of Facebook. You can have your product seen by literally millions of people much more quickly than other forms of marketing. Plus its dynamic. You can get the user involved by making them actually do something and reward them for this. One other fabulous feature of Facebook is that any amendment or new posting that you make to your company page will be immediately posted to all that are connected with your social network on Facebook. For example if you are a restaurant and you have a new dinner menu for Saturday night, posting this news on your Facebook page will let all connected with you know about this.
You may ask why post it on Facebook and not my website. The answer is do both, but there are heaps more people are on Facebook daily who will get this message than will go to your website. If they are connected with you they will get your update whether they want to or not. It may only be current for a couple of minutes but at least the message is out there for all your connections to see.
Keep on building this online community that will be loyal to your brand. It might start off small but over time build it up with interesting bits of information or give aways. If what you have is perceived as trendy, cool or current then you will build your community fast. This is especially true of the younger market where fabs tend to happen quickly. If you have what they want, like new clothes, cares, sporting equipment then marketing to them through Facebook will be a lot easier. The trick here is to keep your Facebook page fresh with new updated content and information. Stale out of date content will only serve to drive people away. Vibrant graphics with interesting copy and news will keep people coming back daily just to check out what you have to say or offer. Remember, your business can never get enough following people your page nor can your page never have enough new content.
Encourage people to engage with the page by writing something that they like. Facebook offers this facility and people can comment or write things in response to your postings. A cool new photos will get people commenting away. If for example you have an opening night at a bra or restaurant, photos are sure to attract much comment. Or if you have a new range of shirts, why not post images of them and get people to make comments or even post photos of themselves. Its all about getting them involved and interacting with your product or service. The online community is forever looking at new and exciting offers so make sure that your site is one of them.Yes, sometimes comments are bad but we at hopping mad designs have the resources to reverse these when indexed by Google. Also know as online reputation management or ORM this gives you peace of mind knowing that negative comments are able to be buried.
Proactivity on this platform is essential to the success of gaining new followers. Make sure that you are on your Facebook page regularly and in some cases daily. As soon as something happens or you have some new product or special, let people know about this. Never take a wait n see approach. Facebook makes it so easy for you to be in control and add content quickly. Just remember the quicker you post it, the faster it will be made public and the more chance you have of making the sale. Be generous with information you provide and let the public disseminate what they want/don’t want.
As a business owner, product manager, or someone involved in the marketing department of a company, Facebook should now be considered as part of the marketing mix. Yes it might look like a hard task and something that seems like an extra burden but once you start using it and seeing how easy it is to use, you will find that you will be looking at ways to add content. You will be looking at your company and marketing from a whole new perspective and be looking at fun, new, creative ways to market your business and once you start seeing the results you will only want to do this more and more.
This is also one of the heavy weights when it comes to social media. As a platform its not as extensive or detailed as Facebook but still packs a heavy punch when it comes to getting your product or service to market instantly. Twitter is all about having followers and releasing snippets of information or Tweets to them in less than 140 characters. It might not seem like much, but if you have a large following you can get your offering to them quickly. Twitter is a lot less formal than Facebook and it is easier to get a larger following.
Tweeting to followers is so easy and fast that you really have to be spending a fair amount of time on there getting your message out. A great example is if you are a retailer and have a special on television sets. A simple tweet telling your followers about this will be sure to get some response from people in the market for a a TV set. Because Twitter has a set template that you must work within its not as dynamic or interactive as Facebook.
Whether you are a Facebook user or A Twitter user the advantages are obvious and immediately apparent. Prudent and internet savvy companies have been on the social media platform for years building up a loyal client base and showering them with gifts, information, and product offerings. They have not only used these mediums to cater to their new audience but since the Panda/Penguin updates by Google it is these companies who have profited well by search engines looking favourably upon businesses using social media rather than link building as a way of building profiles. Google views online recommendations and social chatter as more organic results than businesses using spammy SEO tactics to fool the engines. If your business has a good social following then this will be reflected in the search results. If you think all this sounds too hard and that its too late to give your business a social media profile then think again. There are companies out there that are able to assist with your social media strategy and can implement a campaign very quickly. All the big name brands and some lesser known ones have already been on Facebook and Twitter for years and are now reaping huge benefits and financial rewards.
Writing on your company blog is not your typical social media platform. You are not following people or not inviting friends but you are however providing useful content for people who can submit comments thereby interacting with the blog.Its a bit more time consuming and takes more effort but its a great way to keep people updated with company information, gossip, news, events, what ever you feel it is that people looking for your product or service want. A blog is an extension of your website so be sure to make the blog titles relevant to what people are looking for For example if you are a building company and are looking to get into the social media space by blogging you may like to write a blog about; handy hints for renovators. With enough well written content, Google will index this page and throw it up when people are searching for home renovation tips.
The social media aspects comes into it when readers are allowed to post comments after reading the blog, like it, or recommend it to their friends. It is extremely important to note that in order for the blog to rank well the content must be unique and well written. Ideally it should be more than 500 words and be written for the consumer and not the search engine. Never copy and paste content as the blog will get ranked and if it is to get some kind of traction then the content must have something to say. Boring, rehashed old content on outdated topics will just result in users exiting your blog and going elsewhere. Unlike Other social media platforms once a blog gets a good online ranking it should stay there for quite a while for all to read. Its is not as quick as other platforms but it has the advantage of longevity.
Blogging has also become a little bit more sophisticated. You can add graphics, tables, charts, photographs, images and videos making it almost like a mini website. The more creative and interesting the blog the more chance you will have of users reading it and in turn going to your site. You blog should reflect the look and feel of your website, keeping branding and corporate styling the same. There are heaps of free open source blogs out there, but to have an impact and make a statement you should really use a graphic design studio like Hopping Mad Designs Saving a few dollars on a DIY blog may seem like a smart move now but remember, people online expect to be blown away so you have to ask yourself the question: what makes my blog look different and does it have that ‘wow factor’. Its a relatively inexpensive solution and after you see the results of users commenting on your blog you will be glad you made the decision to have it professionally designed. If you use blogging as part of your search engine strategy you will find that the more you blog the more your pages get indexed and the more content you have online. This way you can basically dominate your field of expertise when people are searching online for anything to do with your industry. This is becoming more and more common as Google becomes the only place where consumers look for products or services.
This is Google’s answer to Facebook. Its philosophy is similar but the difference being that rather than creating friends, you create what is termed ‘circles’ and these circles can be broken down into different categories such as friends, colleagues, family etc. So the information you send out can be sent to certain groups of people rather than everyone. Its a great idea but has not had the impact that Facebook has had. It is popular, but has not had anywhere near the market penetration as Facebook or even Twitter has had. Most businesses and people within Australia have not really cottoned on to Google + and in my experience only a few die hard internet users are engaging with it. Saying this Google is placing some emphasis on this platform when it comes to ranking websites. By this I mean that the more you are using Google + and the more your website is being mentioned the better your ranking. I see Google + at the moment as really a SEO tool until it gains further traction amongst the public and businesses as a social media platform. With the power and marketing might of Google I am confident that this platform will surely have to one day soon be as popular as Facebook.
We are a creative bunch on designers and thinkers that can look at your social media strategy from a different angle. We are able to dream up very creative and unique marketing campaigns that cur through all the social media noise. We can follow this up with the graphic design expertise that will ensure all your social media marketing is world class and way ahead of your competition. We push the design boundaries with everything we do and this goes for the social media environment as well. Never settling for a near enough is good enough approach, we always look at ways that push your product offering that gives you the edge needed to stand out.
To find out more about whats possible for your business in the social media landscape please call us on 02 9360 8514 or contact us here.