One of the biggest changes to business over the last decade has been the introduction of social media. From Twitter to Instagram, Facebook and Periscope, it is now possible to get directly in touch with clients, raise awareness of services, give feedback and correct issues.
It can be a brilliant platform for new businesses for the SME sector. Saving the costs on big marketing campaigns with lots of printing or trade shows, it can put you directly in touch with the social media influencers such as journalists and bloggers and it gives you a chance to give a voice to your company. All from your computer, at home or in the office and even from your handheld devices. We are in the online era. But what happens if you don’t know your tweets from your insta posts or understanding where and when to use a hashtag?
Firstly there are loads of courses across the country which can get you to understand the basics, or for an easier option, there are online courses. Here you can get a very brief understanding of what this new platform is all about. With more and more ways of reaching people popping up every day, it is important you learn how to master the basics. So a good investment is through some good old-fashion learning.
Setting up your accounts will be the next step. It pays to really know your business and understand your consumer. Some companies find the fast paced and instant world of Twitter a brilliant platform to shout their name from, others enjoy the quieter, more relaxed vibe of facebook. If you are a company focused on arts, photography, architecture, food or other creative works then Instagram might be your thing. Get to understand what your followers will want from you. What excites them and makes them passionate. That is the key to keeping your audience engaged. It should be about them as much as it is you.
Finding good IT Services is a must do. Digital marketing, social media and online PR all require computers that won’t let you down, sadly they do at times so make sure you have a company on hand to support your company. It is worth investing in new tech even if you are looking to take your social media to the next level but don’t go crazy if you don’t have to. Think smart.
So, you think you are all set, now what? Ok this isn’t going to be an instant hit. It can take time to build up your followers so start with expectations that aren’t sky high. Get the word out by saying hello to your stakeholders if they are on social media, find local businesses who you could support, charities you want to promote and use all of your friends and family to get you started. Then make your first few messages to the world. You can start with a simple ‘hello’ if you want to delicately dip your toe in. Then build up to a little bit about you and your services. Try not to let your timeline become a constant, obvious promotion of you. Use it instead to raise awareness and your profile by supporting other businesses or offering to help people who may need what you are selling. Talk about the industry and try to spark positive debate on any news. If you are passionate about the environment then talk about it. If you are heading out as a team for lunch and you are in a great restaurant then tweet them and compliment their services. Engagement and an interest in promotion of other people will get you noticed and will reach out to other potential clients who may not know you are in the area.
Another great way to promote yourself is to join forces with a complimenting company and run a competition to win either product or service. This could be something relevant to your industry or could be a dinner for two-type prize. Think about your customer first and get under the skin of what would appeal to them. Entry could be to RT and Follow you or Like your facebook page. This will get you out to the masses and increase your profile.
Once you have a good community on your social media accounts it’s time to start a little more targeted marketing. Since the development of live streaming we have the opportunity to allow our consumers to get into the heart of what we do. From weekly live Vlogs about company activities to showing them your product at work. There are some fantastic ways of using this tech to get people excited about what you do. It can even help boost recruitment if you are looking to employ new staff.
Try not to be too controversial but don’t be afraid to have an opinion. Sometimes it plays in your favour and will make you more approachable
Of course there is the other side of social media, what to do when someone has a complaint. People are often taking to the internet as the first steps to making a complaint or having a pop about your services. This is ok with the odd client but having a collection of people all with the same annoyance can be very damaging to the brand and could even see you go out of business. Deal with any complaints straight away. If there was a mistake, own it and be aware of the emotional or financial impact these mistakes may have created. Mistakes happen, it’s how you deal with them that makes a business and you will often find an angry client is quickly pacified by the right, caring attitude. This can be a great tool for showing off how much your company cares about the consumer. Try to steer the complaint offline as quickly as you can. Sometimes you will come across professional complainers and there is not a lot you can do to avoid them on Twitter or Facebook. Just rise above it, don’t get dragged into an online argument and always keep your business integrity.