Part 1 of 2
In this Locally mini-series, we will be looking at which social media platforms could be the best fit for small businesses, based on their industry and ‘type’. In Part 2, we then suggest looking at how you can not only create goals for social media marketing but how to make them stick, so that your business gets the best exposure from social media that it can.
We have talked about social media and its impact on your online business many times before. But, if you are still resisting Facebook and/or Twitter, then experts suggest you are resisting an evolution of social media.
Many customers use either of these social media platforms as a reference point for many companies and, with a new regime for businesses advertising on Facebook, these points could become more driven and focused than ever before.
And companies, realising this, are tidying up their act but, there has been an additional step in this process; many businesses here in the UK, as well as across the globe are using these platforms as a way of not just advertising their business to consumers, but hiring new employees too.
But Facebook and Twitter are not the only two social media platforms.
But, we think there is a problem looming on the horizon and it follows a pattern we have seen before, in other aspects of business – the state of trying to do too much, and not doing anything properly.
Social media could be the Achilles heel in your business; joining all these social media sites is one thing, keeping up with comments, likes, tweets, posts, pins etc. could not only send you into a deep space state of frazzleness, but also earn you black marks from the very people you are trying to impress – your customers.
Not responding to a social media comments, is the equivalent of ignoring the phone when it rings, or not bothering to post out the goods your customers have ordered.
Making the most of the right social media platforms your business
Rather than taking a scatter gun approach and signing up to everything, take some time to consider what it is you want your social media presence to do for your business, and then take some time to review which of the many sites suits your business.
To help you out, we have looked at social media sites and how they fit with sectors of business, making suggestions as to which social media vehicle could be best fit, but the final decision is YOURS!
Regardless of what you are selling, from scarves to jewellery, designer footwear, furniture, cushions or door stops, the photo is your friend.
Product photos are essential; the wordy description and catchy captions are great but if your consumer cannot see the type of shape or colour it actually is, then you have lost a sale.
Likewise, one of the many photographs you use per product can also be about suggesting to the consumer how your product can be used or what it’ll look when teamed with something else…
Instagram could be the way forward for you. Incredibly popular with retailers large and small, you will find that in terms of fighting for recognition, the smaller retailer will not face such an uphill battle against the ‘giants’.
Commentators have pointed out that Instagram users are a far more relaxed and tolerant lot; your photos do not have been a professional shoot each and every time, and so a shot taken on a mobile phone camera is just as acceptable. In fact, a little wonkiness and fuzziness can work in your favour…
Instagram have plans for 2015 too, that could benefit the smaller business; the site could become a lot more interactive, with all kinds of tools opening up allowing customers to tap on photos and lead themselves straight to you, as well as using video.
Not so much a public face business, many companies and business to manufacture or create things tend to stay away from social media platforms as such, but there is still a need for you to making contacts and networking out there.
And we feel that networking is the key, which is why business-to-business social media platforms are the ones you should be looking at. We suggest LinkedIn may be the one where you can create the most contacts, depending on what you want to do.
However, don’t ignore your consumers entirely, even if there is another layer of business between you are them. Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and informed when it comes to where their products come from and so, as you make your next product why not consider filming the process and starting your own YouTube channel?
Think no one will be interested? The popular TV show, How It’s Made is very popular, exploding common myths about how some things are created.
We like to think of our clients as a diverse bunch and so we struggled slightly with this heading, but we needed to include the awesome power of video, and real time video ‘snippets’.
Regardless of where you stand on pirate music sites, there is a silent but steady revolution within the media and entertainment sector; rather than fighting the fact that people have not only increasing access to media, but also to sharing it, we suggest you start to embrace it.
We are no experts of Snapchat but, it seems that every teenager and young person across the UK is ‘snapchatting’, as opposed to texting. And, some companies (although not too many yet) have taken up this mantel and have started to update fans and customers using this platform.
But, before you think this is just for those in the entertainment business, there has been successful examples of sports clubs and the like creating a following using Snapchat as well as other companies using small trailers as a means of advertising.
However, there are some clients who are far more restricted in how they interact with customers and clients; companies and businesses within healthcare, financial sectors and the like are all industries that are regulated or governed by various rules or codes of conduct.
For those companies seeing to use social media, you will need to be aware of any restrictions that prevent you from using them to their full capacity but there are ways and means. Clearly, anonymising any information and not sharing photos without specific prior permission is a must but there are forums out there; we came across Connected Living, a website and social media platform that connects the ‘aging population’ with one another and other forums too, with the overall objective being to prevent isolation.
For those customers within the technology field, there is no fixed or one-platform-is-better-than-the-other argument, simply because technological businesses tend to lead the field by starting the whole social media platform off to a flying start…
And so, the bitesize lessons from part 1 of social media and business are thus:
Many people consider Facebook and Twitter as a ‘point of reference’ for many people and that joining these networks is essential; you can differ from this opinion
There are many other social platforms out there, some well-known some not-so-well-known
Some platforms are geared specifically towards certain kinds of businesses or industries, with specific objectives as to why they exist
Joining everything can lead to disaster, so do your research and choose the right platform for your business (and where your customers are at)