Most businesses are now using Social Media in some shape or form. And it’s the shape and form that matters. To put it in context there are an estimated 50 Million businesses using Facebook. Why?. To generate business.
It’s simple. Social Media is about conversation and engagement. Plus it’s about creating content which ignites the spark – to start the conversation and enhance the engagement. So if it’s that simple Wayne, why do some many businesses still struggle with Social Media?
Well not to put too fine a point on it. Their content sucks.
Yup I said it. Poorly planned, last minute, always in sell mode, poor quality..the list goes on. And guess? It’s got little to no hope of sparking any conversation – let alone engagement.
Now before you go all OMG on me, thinking I’m really harsh on hard working businesses, I want to offer a silver lining – some Top Tips for all those businesses and other organisations who are finding their social media a chore.
Before you do anything you need to get a plan.
So step away from your Smartphone or Laptop, grab an old fashioned pen and paper and start to develop a plan. Questions like
‘Where are we now with our social media?’ (Assessment of current platforms/campaigns)
‘Where would we like to be?’ (Examples of admired bus/orgs)
‘How are are we going to get there?’
..are all good starting points.
Remember the journey is a long term game.
Many make the mistake of thinking of social media as some sort of silver bullet, which will get the phone ringing overnight and the enquiries coming in. That, my friend, takes time.
If you were to rewind – say to even 10 years, you’d know how difficult it would be to carry out research, not to mention how much it would cost. We live in a time where research has become a whole lot easier in relation to identifying and accessing your potential audience locally, nationally or even internationally.
I’m a big fan of ‘Keeping it (really) Simple’. Two things you need to do:
Go to the Google Keyword Planner tool (which is free to use). This can shed a whole lot of light on a potential audience for a business. Best of all it will give you a real good indication of the types of things people are searching for locally and globally which relate to your business. If you see a trend and people are searching for particular words, guess what? You start to create content.
Keywords research is very important. In a nutshell, it’s the process for identifying keywords or phrases which are generating search volume from users each month. The process helps you pinpoint suggested keywords that can help generate traffic to your website or blog. Simply put it will help you target traffic which will be more niche and potentially ‘your market’ .
Using the Facebook Ads tool also helps give you a pretty good indication of your potential audience and reach.
Facebook for the most part for businesses is ‘Pay to Play’. While I recommend you do a mixture of paid and non paid activity, if you’re just starting out it’s a great tool for getting an idea to your potential customer base. It is a tool I use regularly to check the potential audience base for my content ideas.
Spend the time coming up with effective headlines for your content. It’s important. If you have a copywriter to hand – use them. If not take your time on this. Think of how fast social media moves. You have just a small window to capture the attention of your audience. A great little tool I suggest small businesses take a look at is Co Schedule Headline Analyzer. This is your headline assistant. It scores your suggested headlines eg for your blog posts and gives some great suggestions on how to best improve your headline for Maximum Impact. #BOOM
It’s a wasted exercise creating great content for your business or brand, investing time, energy and money into it if you don’t promote it.
When it comes to promotion most businesses go straight to Facebook and Twitter to get their content in front of people. While these may work there are a number of other ways to try getting in front of digital eyeballs.
Outbrain is a content discovery platform that partners with publishers across 55 countries. It offers another way to get content sitting on websites and blogs in front of people. Normally via news websites in a ‘you may also like’ way. You are charged on a cost per click basis as opposed to a impression basis.
When it comes to content via Social Media and your businesses website it helps to educate, inspire and inform. Visitors then turn into customers – it helps conversion. Spend time creating content, with great Headers, about topics your targeted audience wants and promoting it wisely. You’ll see results.
If you’d like to get more hands on with Social Media and improve how it’s working for your Business – Join Wayne on the next ISM Social Media Marketing Workshop to book a place email: [email protected]
Wondering how other businesses seem to have gotten so far ahead with their own social media?
I’ve found one of the key issues and concerns for many businesses who want to improve social media is consistency. As someone who has worked in Digital Marketing and communications for over 18 years with businesses, brands and at consultancy level, I have seen it time and time again. Businesses start their social media, run it for a few weeks – maybe months, then before long it starts to fall down the list of priorities. Eventually activity stops.
Now as someone who is a massive social media evangelist and who has benefited greatly from it, I would urge tenacity – it will pay off. You will reap the rewards if you consistently put in the effort. Don’t lose the opportunity to engage with potential customers on a local or global basis.
Frequently I come across such businesses who have given up – I always ask why and normally get some variation on the responses below:
The above is a sample of some of the thinking still in 2016. There is no doubt in my mind or in the minds of any of the businesses I work with – that social media does work for business. That being said, I do agree that it can be hard work. It takes time, effort and investment – it’s most certainly not free. But if executed correctly can become a core part of your businesses marketing efforts.
So I’ve come up with 5 simple but effective ways for social media to work better for your business.
It’s number one. You need to start here.
Invest in training for those staff within the business or organisation who are key to the daily management of your social media. Training needs to be delivered by the right training provider. At ISM we have a track record of delivering engaging practical social media training for businesses. The key word here is ‘practical’. There are way too many digital marketing events and training which bring in speakers who talk about social media – but don’t actually show the delegates how to do anything. The staff within a business who are responsible for the social media need to be empowered and have the confidence to help build and grow the social media activity for the business or brand. It’s also highly recommended that other key members of the business avail of training even if just a 1 day introduction to social media for business so everyone has at least an understanding of its importance and impact. In my experience social media in many businesses can be a bottom up approach, though in rare occasions it has been top down. Buy-in from senior management to CEO level is important and a recommendation I give many businesses, is to consider a short half or full day introduction to digital marketing and social media for those key members of staff in which buy-in to develop ongoing social media is important.
When it comes to social media no matter what the activity, email marketing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or blogging content is at the heart of everything.
Many businesses struggle with content and end up churning out sales-related content which does not engage anyone. When it comes to starting to think about creating content, the bottom line is that the content you create needs to add value and it needs to be useful. Rather than rush the creation of content, sit down to plan how and what the content might look like, will it solve a problem for your current or future customers?. Remember customers are searching for answers to questions. If you are lucky enough to have them click on a link to a piece of your content, does it answer a question or help solve a problem.
Yes there are many available on the market – some with lots of features that can cost a small fortune each month and end up being poor value for money for a business especially if you are not getting the proper use out of the different features or the tool itself is so complicated that you avoid having anything to do with it and you simply don’t use it. My advice is to start small. Buffer is my tool of choice when it comes to scheduling for social media (even it’s free version) it’s iideal for businesses just starting out and trying to get to grips with managing social media and scheduling content. Getting into the habit of scheduling a core base of content to flow out each and every day across your main platforms, – most likely Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn will increase engagement and help you have more time to focus on developing other areas of your digital marketing.
With my own content I try to get at least 3 months of content in the pipeline. One of the key benefits I have found about having a content plan is that it helps me publish more. The setting up of a schedule forces me to commit time to creating a piece of content along with the actual production of the content it also needs to be researched which helps contribute towards my own learning development. Your content plan for your business will give you an overview of all the key holiday dates or other dates which might be relevant to your business. Remember holidays and events are important to your audience and provide an excellent opportunity for content creation. The content plan gives you the opportunity to plan the type of content which you want to create. There are a number of different types but I would highly recommend a mixture of blog posts, video content and audio based in the form of podcasts and eBooks all have worked very well with clients I have worked with in the past.
Ever try to go on a journey and not look at a map? I have but that may be a man thing :). Relying on my guess work didn’t work.
It’s not easy – you end up most of the time getting lost and keep taking the wrong directions while spending way longer than you needed to.
When it comes to social media many people operate their social media activity by a series of guesses. When it comes to the numbers you need to pay attention to these as they let you know what works and what dosent. All of the major social media platforms offer their own insights or analytics which gives you an idea on how your content is working and also the type of audience which you have. Make sure you set up a Facebook Pixel on your website. Once added, Facebook will start tracking visitors and running in conjunction with Facebook Ad conversation will provide you with indication to the cost of driving traffic across to your website from Facebook. If you are using any third party applications such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Audiense or Social Bakers these will also give you insights and analytics. All of which will help you make better informed decisions on what is working and what is not in terms of your social media efforts. And much of which you have control of o make changes in real time.
I hope by reading this article you are considering reinstating social media for your business. Remember as humans we are social beings. As businesses and brands we need to understand that and humanise content for our audience – start to think like a customer and shape you efforts on social media around that. Remember what I covered in point one about the importance of training – it’s key and will help take social media for your business to the next level.
So my question to you…What are you waiting for?
Enrol for the next social media or digital marketing workshop with ISM and let me help you become empowered to successfully build your businesses social media community.