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10 social media tips for your business

August 8, 2013 | Published by George Pappas
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Everybody knows their business needs to be on social media. The issue however, is that many businesses don’t know how to most effectively utilise this marketing channel. So, we’ve given you 10 tips to keep in mind when managing your social media to ensure you see the best results.

1. Social media isn’t going to get customers through the door overnight

Social media requires patience, and plenty of it. Don’t expect the phones to be ringing off the hook because you just set up your Twitter account. You’d be lucky to substantiate any results via social media within the first three to six months. However, if done correctly, social media can do wonders for your bottom line in the long run.

The main purpose of social media is brand awareness. You’re getting your business’ logo in front of thousands of consumers for a fraction of the cost of using any other channel. For a restaurant for example, those people might have seen your logo while on their way to dinner at another restaurant, or at home after dinner, or even while overseas. However, by reinforcing your brand and allowing those potential customers to recognise your logo, next time they’re in the mood for Italian food it’s your logo they’ll remember.

2. Run plenty of promotions and giveaways

If you want to engage users via social media (which should be your primary goal), the best way to do so is by running promotions and giveaways. Promotions and giveaways are most effective through Facebook, as the platform allows for the development of custom applications. These applications can be developed using third-party software, or can be custom built. Third-party software is obviously much cheaper, but may not fulfil your needs if you want to follow your branding guidelines or build a substantial database of potential customers.

Promotions and giveaways get your customers talking, encourages them to share your page, and brings new people to your page. All-in-all, they give you a solid foundation to build your audience at what can turn out to be a fraction of the cost of Facebook advertising. Prizes can be brand-specific or you can source them elsewhere. The most successful promotions we’ve run have exclusive prizes, and encourage public interaction from fans. You need to also keep in mind Facebook’s guidelines when running a promotion, and Australian laws surrounding randomly selecting a winner.

3. Consider social media as a customer service channel

Most of our clients want us to delete negative comments on a Facebook Page. This isn’t always the best way to go about dealing with disgruntled customers. In fact, it’s one of the worst. The last thing you want is unhappy customers posting on your page telling everyone that you’ve been deleting their comments. When facing this issue, deal with it in much the same way you would in person. Apologise to the customer (everybody makes mistakes!), and offer them something to compensate for their unfortunate experience. More often than not, they’ll accept your offering, thank you, and continue to do business with you. And, through this entire process, other potential customers will be exposed to your high level of customer service and your regard for your customers.

After a while, you’ll notice people heading to your Facebook Page to ask questions about products, services, to share good experiences, and to generally interact with your brand.

4. Find out which social media outlets your customers are using, and target those

If your business is in the wedding industry, you should consider jumping on Pinterest. If you are in the fashion industry, Instagram would be a good pick. For thought leaders, hop on Twitter. B2B? Tackle LinkedIn. There are hundreds of social media outlets out there, and your business shouldn’t rely on just one. A Google search for your business will usually display your social media listings on various different sites all on the first page, so ensure they’re all kept up-to-date, and there isn’t a back-log of customers asking questions to no avail. If your business is in a niche, there’s still a social media outlet for you. Research the various social media websites out there, and think about who’s really purchasing your products. Chances are they use the internet, and chances are they’re using at least one social media channel.

5. It isn’t about how many Likes you get, but about getting the ‘right’ Likes

If your business is selling costume jewellery targeted towards young women, there’s not much point in having 1,000 60-year-old males following you on Twitter. Use Facebook giveaways, in-store promotions, Facebook advertising, email marketing and anything else you can think of to get the right people on your Page. Chances are that they’ll purchase off you at one stage or another, so it’s important to get as many quality fans as possible. And the golden rule, NEVER, EVER, EVER purchase Likes. This will give you no interaction on your posts, which means Facebook will see your page as posting useless content. Then, when it comes time to gain new Likes, they won’t see your updates on their News Feeds. To get yourself back on track after purchasing fans can take months, even years, and won’t be cheap. Be careful!

6. Monitor your social media outlets as regularly as possible

As people start to catch on to the fact that you’re active on social media, they’ll use it to enquire about products, post compliments, make reservations and much more. As such, it’s vital that you remain active on these outlets to be able to respond to these enquiries quickly. Enquiries should be responded to within three hours (during your business’ opening hours). If someone posts a complaint, you want to be on your social media outlets to ensure it is dealt with in a timely manner, and doesn’t deter potential customers. For some business owners, managing social media all day, every day just isn’t possible – so it may be worth while outsourcing this. We provide a variety of social media management services for SMEs. For more information on this, please give us a call on 02 9216 4600.

7. Keep an eye on your competitors

On social media (or the internet in general), your competitors are just a click away. As such, you need to track their movements on social media. If they’re running promotions, you should be doing the same. If they’re posting content which isn’t working, learn from their mistakes. Just like you always know which specials your competitors are running, and what they’re doing to get customers through the door, you should know what they’re doing on social media. Naturally, some of your competitors will be more active on social media, while others will be less active. Learn from the ones that are more active, and we’re sure you’ll see some correlation between the businesses which are active on social media, and those which are not, and how popular they each are.

8. Once your Likes, fans & followers increase, drive them to your website

Don’t try and drive people to your website from the day you set up your social media accounts. Your primary goal should be in building your audience, and tailoring the right content to do so. Once your audience has grown and you have gained trust from your customers, then post links to your website. These links should be quite specific, like a link to a specific product or promotion, rather than a generic ‘check out our website’ post. Also, use shortened URLs to easily track who clicks the link, and what platform they’re using. This will give you good insights on your customers and prove to you just how prominent mobile is!

9. Content is king, more than ever before

It is vital that the content you post through social media is relevant to that medium. Content needs to be shareable, and relevant to your target market. You need to ensure the content encourages people to engage with it through likes, shares, comments, clicks, views, and anything else. The golden rule for content through social media outlets is not finding content relative to your business, but finding content which will appeal to your target market. These cultural posts should be a combination of things such as inspirational or funny quotes, ecards, memes, and photos. Next, use content which gives people an insight into your company, such as photos from inside the office. The other side of the spectrum is brand-speific posts (which were mentioned above) which encourage people to purchase your products, drive people to your website, or advertise new product or service releases etc.

Most importantly, make sure your content splits up the abovementioned categories evenly – don’t overload on any of the above three content types. If you do, people will either not take your brand seriously (with too much cultural posting) or get bored of your updates (with too many brand-specific posts).

10. Facebook ads, if done correctly, can give you excellent results

Facebook advertising is the best way to build up an audience via social media. It allows you to target your ads to your demographic to ensure you are receiving quality likes and followers. Furthermore, it is cost effective and gives you CPC or CPM options. Facebook advertising should be made up of adverts, sponsored stories and promoted posts. An effective combination of these three means you will reach a very low cost per like, and gain great value for your investment. It is important that you keep track of your Facebook ads using their advert manager. This will allow you to continually tailor your content, creative, and ad configuration to engage as many users as possible. This can become quite complex, especially if you have dozens of ads running, so if you feel yourself falling behind, your cost per like is too high, or something just doesn’t seem right, then give us a call on 02 9252 6181 and one of our social media gurus will throw you a couple of pointers!

Thanks for reading and we hope you’ve gained some useful knowledge out of this article!

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