Where do I get started using social media for my business?
Small businesses don't have online marketing support and that marketing friend to hand. As a result, this special edition inspired by Small Business Week is for all those small businesses who are reluctant to use social media.
Just try the mini social media tasks to ease you in, get you started and you'll be on the right tracks to turning your business into a powerful brand people know and love.
When social media platforms first emerged on the scene l didn't understand what the fuss was about. Just like most of you, l had a personal Facebook account that l hardly used. Then soon after l started a blog showcasing local ethnic businesses and wanted to connect with like-minded people. The first and only solution that sprang to mind were that dreaded, 'social media' yet l knew from research the people l wanted to connect with were actively using social media like it was the latest craze.
Since that day I've never looked back. Within a few months, I'd built momentum, not with a business mind but a helpful friendly attitude trying to share my passion. I'd achieved what l never thought l could do, learning and just doing it! I'd created a brand people knew and loved through my blog but social media was invaluable to the success as it enabled me to reach my target audience. And I'm here to show you, you can do the same, you just need to come with an open mind...
1. CHOOSE THE SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL
To get a low down on the demographics and get an idea of the behaviours of users separated by each of the platforms, I've summed it up in a glance in a previous Business Bites edition, Social Media Stats at a Glance 2016.
2. BRANDING IS KEY
You don't have to be a 'big boy' (FTSE 100 company) to do branding. The branding includes the creation of a business logo, it can also include fonts used, tone-of-voice, your business values and look and feel of images. Once you have identified the design, it should be consistent with your website, business card, flyers (any marketing material) and social media.
The research shows us humans process visual information 60,000 faster than text and 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual. As a result, branding visual aids to differentiate you from your competitors and represent your business are essential.
To give you an idea of what l mean, one of my favourites has to be Mr Porter. The brand envisages the modern day man and represents their ideal customer with a personalised touch, which is a current digital marketing trend. Furthermore, their Twitter account not only talks fashion and cleverly plugs the products they sell in an editorial advisory nature but Mr Porter has created a lifestyle around its target audience with grooming tips and how to look cool in the summer - including witty tweets during its followers favourite movie launches. It's more of a fashion and lifestyle hub anyone would be proud to be a part of. Also, notice how they make designer fashion look affordable rather than unaffordable luxury designer adverts we see in magazines.
Similar to Mr Porter's ensure your branding is consistent through all customer touch points but feel free to be informal on social media, after all, that's how your target market want for you to be human. Not for selling, helping and connecting.
3. WHAT DO THEY VALUE AND LOVE?
Find the emotional connection, what do your target market really care about. The more you truly get to know your audience and what they care about, only then you will be able to help them, create better posts and most importantly build a relationship on strong foundations.
4. WHERE TO GET STARTED: CREATING POSTS
At this point, you want to try coming up with different ideas and themes for posts to see what works on your social accounts. A simple and practical way to start, grab a paper or pen away, get away from your desk (being at a coffee shop with lots of sunlight helps me). Grab a coffee, a comfy seat and think of three posts at first to ease you in. Don't think too much or too hard, it's just to give you some ideas.
For inspiration get your phone and go on the social platform you chose for your business in step 1 and pop in some hashtags around your field e.g. fashion, technology, cars. In Facebook's case, you can type into Google 'Facebook...' followed by the name of an advocate in your industry, competitor name or blogger, bare in mind it needs to be people or companies who do social media well. And take a look and see what they've done for inspiration.
5. LISTEN & HANGOUT WITH YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Find conversations to see what's going on in the industry, l call it competitor stalking and it's critical if you want to be ahead of the game. So begin with your competitors, go to their social accounts and start reading and having a quick glance - see what people have liked, retweeted or commented.
Plus go on to a page or group of people on Facebook talking. You can also find popular hashtags and see what people are talking about.
You need to spend some time looking to see where your target market (friends) hang out and once you do make friends or customers. After five weeks you'll have a social media account that sounds out from the crowd and on your way to creating a powerful brand.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or if you're stuck and need help, you can email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm more than happy to help.