Today’s average consumer is always connected. In fact, there are currently an estimated 3.725 billion active social media users, according to Brandwatch. That same report reveals that the average person has over 7 social media accounts, and spends over 2 hours a day on those accounts. Social media is no longer the elephant in the room...it IS the room. If you’re a business that has avoided social media, or that has stepped timidly into the online arena, you’re missing the boat. Done properly, social media allows your business to build relationships with targeted consumers based on trust and authenticity.
Know Your Customer
A basic tenant of business growth is to:
1. Know who your customers are.
2. Be where your customers are.
Even with billions of people interacting with social media daily, not every platform is the right fit for every business. Facebook, for example, attracts a different audience than Snapchat. People go to YouTube for different reasons than they go to Instagram. Which platform you use and how you use it varies from business to business. There isn’t a formula to follow...even within similar industries, as different businesses may develop different “personalities” - online brands - with their customers, or may wish to build a relationship with a niche customer group.
Have a Plan
So, it’s not enough to just have a Facebook page. Many businesses do have one and complain that they aren’t getting results. That begs the question: what results are you hoping to achieve, with whom, over what time frame, and what’s your plan for achieving those goals? Marketing without a plan is like a grocery shopping when you’re hungry...without a list. You’ll fill your cart with whatever you can just so you have something, but chances are it won’t be what you need...and may or may not support your goals.
Choose Your Voice
It is important early on to also decide the voice and tone you want to set on social. This is your opportunity to introduce the world to your brand. What do you want them to think or feel after having seen your online presence? Do you want to be seen as serious and professional? Or perhaps creative? Edgy? Funny? Social Media Manager, Hannah Downs, says, “I think it is important to have a good mixture on social between business and fun. You want to be able to get your messages out there while getting creative with it!” Remember, this gives you a real opportunity to reach out to your customers and build a connection.
Finally, be consistent. Whichever platform you choose, and regardless of your goals, make the commitment. You need someone who can monitor customer engagement, respond to questions or feedback, post consistently, note what’s working and what isn’t, update photos and generally keep your presence fresh. The fact is, the only thing worse than not having social media accounts for your business, is having them and not using them properly. Sloppy management of social media, to the nearly 4 billion social media users out there, makes your business look outdated, unappealing, and careless. Consumers are using your social media accounts as much or more than your website...and deciding, from what they see - or don’t see - whether or not they want to do business with you.
Lastly, believe it or not, there IS such a thing as a professional social media manager. And ours has seen it all. In the coming weeks, we’re releasing blogs with recommended do’s and don’ts for each platform. Watch for that information. In the meantime, talk with your marketing partner about your social media presence. Be ready to receive honest feedback. Social media is a powerful marketing tool, one you can’t afford to ignore.