A study by the European commission found that 61% of European SMEs use social media (pdf) and those that do appear to be better off financially than those that don’t. Another survey by Hiscox reported that 27% of SMEs using social media to support marketing efforts said they did so to increase brand awareness and a further 15% use social media to boost sales.
There’s no denying that in order to reach your audience on a more personal level and to stay competitive in the market, social media is key for most small firms. Here’s how to master social media in just seven days:
Day 1: choose a channel
Research where your audience hangs out online. It is a common mistake, and extremely time consuming, for brands to set up accounts on an array of platforms – deciding where your brand will perform best can save time and resources. Colour expert Pantone, for example, performs really well on Pinterest by carefully considering its visual nature and the types of people and creative industries that would follow it.
Day 2: know your audience
Awareness of what your audience wants to talk about, what interests them and what will encourage them to share will form the basis for your online conversation. Find out who they are, what they expect from brands across channels and speak to them on their level. Your consumers may be more engaged with competitions over Facebook rather than Twitter, for example, so adjust your strategy accordingly.
Day 3: start a two-way conversation
The beauty of social media is that it makes brands appear human by the way they can interact online. But like any human conversation, it can’t all be about one party. Responding to comments, answering questions and joining in the conversation will give people a more personalised experience of your brand.
Innocent drinks’ Facebook page is a great example of a brand that knows its audience, and what this audience wants to see. The brand doesn’t take itself too seriously, using humour in its social media posts and even sometimes its customers’ comments.
Day 4: draw up guidelines
The teams in charge of your social media, whether it is managed in-house or outsourced, should be given guidelines on the tone and content of conversations online. Guidelines will differ between brands. Some will allow their social media team to adapt to the most natural style of conversation, while some will define and enforce a more specific voice. The way you want your brand to be portrayed – friendly and chatty or assertive, informative and persuasive – should determine how you approach the development of these guidelines.
Day 5: match your brand
As well as adhering to your followers’ personalities, it’s also important to keep in-line with your brand’s personality. Our business toxicfox.co.uk sells thousands of gifts under the categories ‘LOL’, ‘OMG’ and ‘WTF’ and so content online is built to match this, often including humour and shock tactics which resonate with both the company and its consumers
Day 6: find some influencers
People with an influential presence on social media and that hold importance with your target market can be a golden ticket for your brand. Identify people online with a contextual fit, quality content and a high reach, and form a strategy of how to work with them.
For instance, this may be a celebrity you can send products to, or someone you can form an ongoing brand ambassador relationship with.
Day 7: testing
When your social media strategy is up and running, analysing how things are working can help develop your plan. Observe what time of day your posts get the most engagement – this will vary between industries and between B2B and B2C companies, so it’s important to see what works for you. Consider the types of posts that are encouraging the most engagement. You may find you’re losing or gaining followers after certain types of posts. Gathering all of this information and adjusting your strategy will bolster your performance online and will help you gain some valuable insight.
[By Matthew Rogers] [Read More]