Social media is the new marketing and business development frontier and the simple fact is....it ain't going to be going away anytime soon.
By definition, social media is a web, tablet or smartphone function that allows you to share ideas and content with other people. The benefits are enormous as it opens the door for your business to find people that you never could before. And.....your customers can do the marketing for you as they like or share your posts, or share their own experiences on your pages or feeds.
But if you are a time poor small business owner how do you integrate social media into your marketing without spending hours a day trying to do it?
The list of options is huge! Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, blogs...so where to start?
In Australia, we have the 3rd highest social media penetration by country, behind Singapore and the UAE. Just under 90% of Australians use social media and around 80% have a Facebook account. Twitter, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn all rank in the top 5 used social media platforms in the country.
The question of what social media platform to use totally depends on the nature of your business. Based on the fact that Facebook has the largest percentage of usage in Australia of any of the social media options, this would be a great place to start. It is important to think about how you will use it though. It's no good simply developing a page and then leaving it static. It is important to have a plan - even if it is a basic one - as to what you are going to use it for and how you are going to interact with your customers.
Retailers would interact very differently to professional services firms in this space so it is important to step outside your business and put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What would you want to hear from your business? What information would you find useful/important/entertaining? Simply 'selling' to your audience is not going to fly on social media....it is all about engagement and conversation. Social media is 'word of mouth'.
Starting a blog that is connected to your website is also valuable. 'Content Marketing' is the latest, greatest buzz in marketing and put simply, this is all about sharing information and stories that provide benefit and value to your customers without any expectation of anything in return. Your blogs don't have to be long and detailed, simply telling your story or sharing information in a couple of paragraphs is enough.
Platforms such as Youtube and Instagram are fantastic for 'visual' storytelling, opening your business up to opportunities that may have once only been available though the old traditional means of television or catalogs.
Whatever platform you choose, use your own voice. You don't have to be a 'corporate character', just talk to your audience as you would if they walked into your store. In this digital space, it is important to be human. Authenticity is key.
So as you start out on your businesses social media journey, remember it doesn't have to be complex or time consuming. Put your toes in the water and go from there. Once established there are many ways in which your social presence can be shouted to the world.....but that's another whole blog!
As always, feel free to call if you don't know where to start