Doing this 30 day blogging challenge has made me think about what questions clients and potential clients ask me. And the one question that potential clients always ask is ‘why use social media?’. A lot of businesses may have accounts they’ve set up and don’t use, have tweeted a few times and seen no response, or are not getting direct sales leads through Facebook so don’t know why they should bother.
I always put up a good defence of social media. You can’t always get through to some businesses (sometimes you just can’t change someone’s mind, or actually you know that what they want from marketing can not be achieved through social media networks). However, if you come into social media marketing knowing what sort of things you can achieve, and the amount of effort you need to put in, great things can happen.
What can you achieve using social media?
The aims of using networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instragram, Google+, YouTube, etc, differ slightly, but generally businesses can:
As mentioned before, you must strike a balance between the needs of the business and the needs of the user. Your updates must provide something of value to the people you are reaching out to.
You need to have some aims in mind. Are you promoting services or product? Are you interacting with current and potential customers? Increasing brand awareness is just as important as selling. Social media is a marketing channel as much as anything else and they all have different roles to play.
Using social media gives you a unique opportunity to start public conversations with customers, peers, competitors, and anyone else who is listening. It doesn’t have to just be about pushing out sales messages.
So, make sure you have some aims, and that they are realistic.
The amount of effort you need to put in
As in the case of those businesses who throw out a few tweets and expect followers to build up in their thousands… it’s not going to happen. You need to put in the effort to get a relationship going with your followers and provide that valuable content to be of use to them.
Look at what others are posting and tweeting and react to it. Unless you are an incredibly professional business and don’t want to be seen interacting with anyone, users will be more receptive to an account that is having a little bit of fun, showing a personable side and is recognising good content from others. Everyone loves a retweet, a like, a share, or a comment.
Find a personality or tone that suits your business, and make sure you’re watching your feed as well as your profile page.
You need to be on the ball too - social media accounts must be monitored frequently as users expect responses quickly. Posts can easily get out of hand (everyone has seen a complaint letter or two on shared by thousands of others with their angry emojis on Facebook) so you need to react quickly to be seen to be sorting out problems.
So, that’s why you should use social media – get out there and talk to your customers, have a few aims, and hopefully a lot of fun.
Freelance Marketing Consultant, especially that Social Media stuff.