I have a love hate relationship with social media when it comes to marketing.
I love the opportunity it provides to engage with clients and I love, how when effectively utilised, it doesn’t take a huge effort to share content and build relationships.
However, I’ve grown to hate the get rich quick artists out there who have somehow managed to pressure businesses into believing they’re missing out on this magical road paved with gold. Everyone has experienced this because every second day you receive the standard junk email selling you a 3 hour course on how to become a master. Showing you how, with a few easy steps, you too can grab 10,000 likes, no doubt reinforced by the obligatory example where Bob started his campaign on Monday and by Wednesday had quoted over $1m worth of projects. Not sure I’m breaking news here, but this all sounds a bit too good to be true, which in my experience means it’s too good to be true *
(* results may vary from business to business. You only get out what you put in. We can show you the way but it’s up to you to drive the results – sorry couldn’t help myself I love a good cliche which implies that any failure is your fault not the course or programme.)
Now that’s not to say that all those courses are bad. I happen to know people that run them that I would have no problem recommending for those who really want to dive deep into social media. Those who have a clear goal on what they want to achieve and the necessary budget and time to get the results. My advice would be to Google the people running the course. When I did this recently I found out the host of one that was peppering my inbox for a few weeks, was the owner of one of the first Australian businesses prosecuted in court for spamming, that was all I needed to know.
So where does that leave the majority of B2B’s and professional service firms in regards to social media? In a zone that I like to call “social media for the anti-social”. You know you need to get involved, but don’t know how to, have minimal resources, lack time to focus on it, or worry about having to create endless amounts of news and content. I’ve dealt with a number of clients who fall into this zone and the majority just needed a few tactics to get them on track.
Tactic 1 – Be Selective
Don’t make the mistake of coming out of the gates blazing and creating accounts on every social media network. Be selective and start small. Do some research. Find out what social networks your customers are active on. Check what the competition are doing and how they promote their business. Eliminate the unnecessary and focus on where you see the most benefit.
Review your own business and see what information you currently have that could merit sharing. For instance if you have a collection of videos it’s a good idea to create a channel on YouTube where you can share them. Remember, for most social tools you’re going to need to create an individual account and a company page. Also, when setting up an account make sure you take advantage of all the options each of them provide, include logos, web addresses, company description, list of products/services etc.
Don’t ignore Google+. It’s not the most popular, but it’s the social network of the company that accounts for 96% of all search engine traffic in Australia. It might be a good idea to support their products and ensure you have created a company page, listed your business on google maps and link your Google author code to your website.
Tactic 2 – Make a simple plan
Work out how you intend to use social media. It could be as simple as posting links to articles you found interesting where very little work is involved. You may already be actively updating a news section on your website or creating a newsletter. Social media provides a great way to share this information. Remember a goal of social media should always be to draw people back to your website. Don’t make the mistake of creating the news on your social accounts while neglecting your website. You should focus on creating the content on your website and draw the reader to it via your social accounts.
Plan ahead, create a schedule and most importantly be realistic. Scale your efforts so your plan works within the time you are willing to dedicate. Consistency is the key here, so set a goal to create x number of posts per month and stick to it.
Tactic 3 – Be Professional
You may love videos of dancing cats, but it’s probably the sort of thing you need to keep private from your clients. Set the tone for your accounts from the offset. They’re either professional or social, don’t mix the two.
Tactic 4 – Promote it
Tell your clients that you’re on social media and active, and ask them to connect with you. Make sure you include links to the accounts on your website and email signature. Maximise your efforts. If for instance you’ve decided to be active on LinkedIn get the whole team on there and make sure they follow the company page. Make it a rule that they share all news from your company page or any posts from other colleagues, which in turn will promote it to their own network.
Tactic 5 – Measure
The great thing about all digital tools is you can measure and monitor results. Always take the time to review and see how successful your posts were. It will give you some great insight into what information gets the most engagement, who’s actively engaged with the business. As mentioned before social media should be used to drive visits to your website. When adding links to social accounts it’s often good practice to shorten the URL, a tool such as bitly.com provides a great free service which enables you to do this and monitor the results.
By following these 5 tactics you’ll be able to get yourself and your business up and active on social media in no time at all. Of the five I always recommend you focus most of your efforts on the first two. Get this right and the other steps are very easy to implement.
For those of you that love the idea of this approach, but would like to have us review your business and make the right recommendations. Shoot me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be more than happy to help you.