The Entrepreneur: Social Media - The Basics
It is undeniable that social media is rapidly becoming an unavoidable channel when a company considers engaging with its market. The key question most new and growing businesses ask themselves is usually identical no matter what the sector, location, or product – "What can I do to make social media work for my business?"
Whilst I have been tasked with testing and developing the social media channels within The RM2 Partnership, I have seen companies struggle with how best to utilise this powerful tool, not to mention having to work through the process myself. Below I have listed some general tips on undertaking the basics correctly, or at least advice to help you prevent damaging your brand.
Dismiss Social Media at Your Peril
Social media has done nothing but grow and grow. With it now being a widely recognised route to market, can you realistically afford to let your competitors develop their brand and their pipeline whilst you remain static? It is now common place for companies take on employees with the sole responsibility of handling their social media affairs. If your competition isn't engaging with the media, take the initiative, seize the opportunity and put yourself ahead of the curve - there's potentially a whole audience you could be reaching first!
Social Media - Under Construction...
Nothing looks lonelier than a half completed company LinkedIn page, or a Twitter account with a sole follower and just a few tweets. This will have the same impact on your company as overlooking social media all together, or having a website still 'under construction', in some cases, it's actually much worse. Poorly completed profiles leave a poor impression of your company as they are a reflection of you and how you conduct business. Put time and effort into making every area of your campaign a true representation of your company, it is not a 5 minute job. There is a fantastic range of in-depth blogs and books that offer advice on how to grow your network without spending a small fortune, in most cases the only cost is time.
Avoid Limiting Your Horizons
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are undoubtedly the major players when it comes to social media, with Google+ not too far behind, but they might not be the best platforms for your business. Yes, for brand awareness these are great places to start, but many industry specific versions are emerging and it may be of great benefit for you to find out if there are any of these operating in your sector. This can help further establish your company's position within your target market (and even offer some assistance when recruiting!).
Set Clear (and Correct!) Aims
I have seen some businesses create a company LinkedIn page or set up a YouTube channel seemingly for no reason at all. Are you looking to build brand awareness? Do you want to increase website traffic? Does your approach have a PR focus – are you offering your clients the proverbial Bat Phone? Knowing what you want to achieve is paramount to any successful campaign. If this is multi-faceted, or even just initially difficult for your company to decipher, try starting with the result and work backwards constantly asking yourself "Am I leading my prospect to the right place?".
Measure the Results
If you've set clear objectives, this should be a formality. One fantastic perk of social media revolves around the fact most of the data is instantaneously recorded and easily accessible. Knowing exactly how your campaign is operating within the market place allows you to constantly develop it in order to compliment your business strategy. Ultimately, you need to find out and optimise what works for you.
Converting Connections into Leads and Clients
Social media is fantastic for building brand awareness and it is all well and good taking the advice presented in this article and investing the time required, but it needs to show its worth. When considering how to turn leads into clients, do not be reluctant about entering them into your sales process. They engaged with your campaign and your company, it is a natural progression and often, there is an acceptance regarding it.
At this point, it is worth commenting that during your monitored campaign, most leads that visit your website, follow you on Twitter, etc. will not end up becoming clients overnight. In reality, that notion is only likely to carry truth for a small minority, but that does not mean it has all been a total failure and they will never look to buy. On the contrary, it is just indicative they are not looking to buy at that particular time, they still engaged with you for a reason. Keep them in your pipeline and keep your company on their radar, if there comes a time when they are ready to buy, they will know who to visit!
For more information on any of the content covered in this article, please email Chris.Pipe@rm2.co.uk.