Tips for Businesses Using Social Media as a Marketing Tool
There is no question that social media has become a popular avenue for businesses to connect to prospective clients – even for those operating on a B2B basis.
Almost everyone has a Facebook account and more and more businesses are putting a social media strategy in place. In no particular order, here are some of the benefits of utilising social media.
- Generates traffic for your website.
- Builds product awareness.
- Can lead to possible sales
- Can be used to handle queries and complaints.
- Can be used to hold competitions which serve to promote your product.
- Can build a community around your product.
If you are considering engaging with social media there are several things you must bear in mind.
- Treat your posts as a way of building a community of like-minded people who like or are interested in your product .Avoid one-sided promotional posts. As in real life conversations people like to be listened to – make it a two-way conversation.
- Answers questions and complaints from customers, unresolved complaints do not simply generate negativity regarding your company, they fester.
- Employees that write posts should not have their job title, such as admin or accounts in their title. Remember this is SOCIAL media and stuffy job titles turn people off, as does corporate speak. People need to see you as a fun bunch of people who like to ‘chew the fat’ with their customers about a variety of topics. Keep things light, but always bring everything back to the product or service.
- Be careful which employees you choose to involve in your campaign. Try to select employees you can trust to have the requisite level of savvy or tact when answering confrontational or difficult comments. A carefully orchestrated and executed social media campaign can be brought to its knees by just one snarky remark or ill-judged comment. For employees it is important to remember at all times, you are representing your company, so think twice before confronting that troll. Don’t be a ‘keyboard warrior.’
Pages and Groups on Facebook
A few points to remember for Facebook – Pages are for businesses. Profiles are for individual people. Pages have added functionality that enables you to engage with your audience. There is no limit on the number of followers you can have. You can have as many pages as you want. Groups are for people who share a common interest.
There are three privacy settings for groups – open, closed or secret. Groups can be a great avenue for posting articles or blog posts. If the group is related to your product or service you are almost guaranteed an instant audience of enthusiasts and potential customers. Some groups will discourage the posting of blog posts on their page but most are fine with this. Pay attention to the culture of the group before posting anything.
Comments and complaints and how to handle them.
Only 30% of businesses respond to comments on their Facebook page. (Socialbakers.com)This is alarmingly low. Always reply to comments, questions and complaints. Engage with your audience. It reflects well on you and your company. When your followers see you choosing to ignore a complaint or grievance it creates a dreadful image for your company. The ill-will generated will snowball and other customers may get on the bandwagon.
ALWAYS deal with complaints in the most transparent and visible manner. People are fallible and we are a lot more forgiving of mistakes than we think. It looks great when you take the time to solve a problem or do the best you can to rectify an issue one of your customers may have with your product or service. Other customers or followers believe that you will help them in the same considerate manner.
A note about content.
Keep promotional material to about 20% of the content on your facebook page. Make sure the content on the page is of value and is informative. Don’t merely use the page to sell your product. Content is still king. Provide quality informative articles that almost ensure a like and a return visit. Troubleshoot customer issues, this reflects well on you and engenders customer loyalty.
You will experience trouble building your facebook presence if all your posts consist of pictures of frowning cats and humorous memes. While this approach will generate likes and give your page visibility. It is a short-term high and does nothing to promote your page in the long-term. There is no problem posting on something topical now and again, generally keep your posts relevant to your business. To read more about generating quality content follow this link.
Study what works.
Monitor what get the most likes and shares and tailor your content accordingly. Use different methods of presenting content including videos, infographics etc. Monitor how your audience reacts to these posts. Repeat the successful tactics. Posts that generate interest need to be watched and other posts in a similar style need to be produced.
Twitter and LinkedIn.
Most companies also use Twitter and LinkedIn. Twitter allows you to release short status updates relating to your business. Ensure that your Twitter profile has enough information. Try to use a profile name that is near enough to your actual business name. Make sure to use your allowance of 160 characters to flesh out your profile so people can learn who you are and make sure to inject a little individuality here. It is important that people know where to find you so include your website address.
LinkedIn is more suited for posts about employment or advice articles for businesses. If you run a recruitment company or are a training specialist, for example, LinkedIn should be firmly on your radar.
Use Twitter as a means to share your business blog or any other articles you feel may be of benefit to the connected community in your market.
Finally – make use of tools like Hootsuite. This is an extremely handy app that allows the dissemination of information through every social media channel at once, saving you the hassle of having to update each one individually. It is very easy to use. Making use of social media and having a solid social media marketing strategy is an important weapon to have in any businesses’ arsenal.