3 Key Tips to help you exploit social networks!
On stepping out of life in large corporations a few years back to launch my first business, I firmly believed that business marketing and social networks should be kept well apart.
Realising 1 in 7 people alive today are Facebook users meant I’ve had to reconsider. Below I give three big lessons I’ve learnt in doing my about turn on social media marketing.
To find out more please do read on.
Last time I gave you two key steps I’d learnt that help you attract and engage visitors using smartphones in our ‘Mobile Marketing UK‘ blog.
Now we unpack the three tips to help you harness social networks – another key component of the digital marketing revolution.
So the first question, what’s the big fuss about social media networks and marketing?
Some Big Social Network Numbers!!!
In 2012 Facebook passed the 1 billion user milestone – yep, one in seven human beings on the planet Earth is a Facebook user. At its initial public offer (IPO) in May 2012 Facebook was valued at $90 billion.
Between 2006 and 2013 Twitter, the short text sharing network, has grown to over 500 million users. Linked In, the professionals network, passed the 200 million user milestone in early January 2013.
The new boy on the block, Pinterest, the picture sharing network launched in 2011, reached 48.7 million users in early 2013 out-pacing the growth rate of both Facebook and Twitter.
It’s Not Just About Engaging Users Either!!
In many cases the end result of attracting and engaging people via social media is that they will buy products or services. Occasionally Melanie Duncan runs a great introductory webinar on ‘Pinning for Business’.
She shows the following comparison of average ‘sales value’ for products bought via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. As you’ll see Pinterest has edged significantly ahead of Twitter and Facebook on this metric as well as growth rate.
So where do I start??
After realising I had to reconsider my views of marketing via social media, my first big challenge was knowing where to start – running a social media marketing campaign can demand a lot of your time and energy?
TiP1: Plan Social Media Marketing Against Your Business Needs
So for my business we tuned into some useful material on Facebook and Twitter from the likes of Amy Porterfield, who helped us see what was needed in our plan:
- what we’re trying to achieve through the different social networks,
- our guidelines for how we communicate and
- set out our schedule of how, who and when we will use each network
We brought in help from a friend and intern who helped us build and relaunch our pages. In case you’re wondering, a Facebook business page is like your personal profile which gives the company profile but lacks some of the profile’s functionality.
Our business is about helping clients understand and apply the most appropriate internet techniques to address their key challenges. Facebook & Twitter has given a natural entry point for us.
So our next challenge was overcoming my natural ‘product engineering and marketing’ tendencies! My career trained me to write thorough, logical text where being brief was not the priority. For social media though, brevity is key and is enshrined in Twitter’s ‘140 character limit’.
Tip 2: Short On Text, Engaging Pictures & Videos where possible !
Minimising words and keeping language natural and relaxed wasn’t deemed professional in my ‘corporate life’, but for the ‘social networking’ generation this is the order of the day.
Using fun and intriguing pictures or video is key, and the great thing is it let’s you put the fun back into your professional life. One of the largest responses we had was a picture of our pet cat, Goochops, casually typing into a laptop. She was quickly elected our Chief Furry Officer (CFO), and her picture posted.
At the end of the day you need to give people a real, visual reason to hook your message out of their newsfeed and blocks of text are not the way.
On a much grander scale, Oreo won the advertising war at the 2013 Superbowl by tweeting the following image within 2 minutes of disaster striking when half the stadium lights went out.
The aim with all of this is to get the multiplying effect of friends sharing your newsfeed item with their friends, and their friends’ friends and so on.
A great example of this ‘viral effect’ was the huge response to the 2012 Kony Video which went viral within days of being released, currently registering over 97 million views.
So onward to my third big tip.
Step 3: Keep Communications Regular
In some ways this can be the hardest step as it needs daily attention, difficult when you are busy, busy, busy with the business challenges. Our aim is to produce a daily post to Facebook and to flag posts via Twitter.
One thing that really helps is to tune into the expert groups who are focusing on areas close to your business, but do make sure that this will be of use to your fans or followers, and flag it up.
For us, we’re interested in the movers and shakers in internet or digital marketing and helping our customers understand areas such as social media. Sources such as the Social Media Examiner, Amy Porterfield, Melanie Duncan are therefore good places to find valuable insights.
Always look to engage with your posts, ask people’s opinions – get their views.
…but it’s a two edged sword!!
Social Media has a history of being a two edged sword. When MacDonalds launched a 2011 Twitter campaign, they unleashed a tirade of complaints from frustrated customers, not the flood of happy experience under the Golden Arches they hoped to get.
Check out the following article to see more of the ‘social media’ horror stories.
A quick recap.
TiP 1: Set Social Media Plan for your business
- Set out what you’re trying to do
- Identify which social network(s) most relevant to your customers and lead with it / them
- Set out how, when and who will run the communications
Tip 2: Short and Simple Messages, With Pictures and Videos
- Minimise words
- Keep it short and relaxed
- Use engaging pictures or video where possible
Tip 3: Keep Communications Flowing
- Set a target of daily communications
- Use material from experts in your field to give value
- Remember – engage readers and ask questions
In our next Internet Marketing Unpacked Blog, we explain two key lessons on measuring how effective your attraction and engagement efforts have been, and how this can be done easily .
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