I’m going to make a grand assertion here: Social media can work for pretty much any business… if it’s used in the right way.
Some people think it’s a waste of time, however, and that’s fine; it’s not for everyone. But I’d like to at least offer you five tips that will help get social media working for your business, if you want and need it to.
Footprint’s top 5 tips for making social media work for your business
- Understand what you want out of it…
Never, ever, do social media just for the sake of it. Therein lies the path to wasted time, frustration, and disappointment. Be very clear in your mind what the purpose of engaging with your audience is, and hold onto that thought every time you log in. Is it to gain sales directly? Is it to build your brand? Is it to extend your mailing list? Is it to stay ahead of your competitors?
If you have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve – and don’t forget you can have more than one goal – it will make it far easier to craft your posts and responses.
You then need to track your performance, understand where you need to make tweaks, and assess your performance regularly.
- Understand your audience…
The questions you need to ask yourself are twofold:
- Where does my audience ‘hang out’? In other words, what platforms do those people use? There’s no point spending time on LinkedIn if the people you’re trying to engage with are on Facebook.
- What types of posts are going to get their attention? How do I want them to engage?
So let’s have a quick look at some current social media demographics for the UK.
Facebook is still the biggie, and interestingly the user base is split pretty evenly between men and women. It also still has a broader reach across the generations, though probably leaning more towards the over thirties. If your market is the youngsters of the day, another platform may ensure your time is better spent.
Twitter is very actively used by people under 35 and the media, but not so much teenagers… The gender split is fairly even.
LinkedIn is very much business oriented. Users tend to be older rather than younger, and we’re talking over 35. A B2B based business will find LinkedIn of greater benefit than B2C.
There are lots of other platforms to investigate too, such as Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. Your audience is out there somewhere.
- Converse, don’t transmit…
The buzz word for getting the most out of social media is ‘engagement’. Be human. Don’t talk AT your audience, converse WITH them. Interaction is the name of the game. Get the interactions going, and they’ll start talking about you elsewhere and sharing your posts. Sounds time-consuming? It needn’t be. Limit your choice of platforms to a manageable amount and don’t spread yourself too thinly.
- Be prepared to put your hand up…
If your company makes a mistake see this as an opportunity to admit it and turn it around. Apologise. Thank the person for taking the time to point it out. Explain how you’ve taken the experience on board and changed how you operate. That individual will feel their view matters, they’ve been listened to, and you care. That will make them feel very differently towards your business, and the issue won’t just be left to fester. There will be times, of course, when the best outcome you can hope for is simply about damage limitation… but take the opportunity to limit that damage ASAP, and move on.
- Be committed and consistent…
Out of sight is out of mind, as they say, and never was an idiom truer than in the world of social media. You need to be active, though you mustn’t overdo it, and you need to be consistent. Put a human voice to your messages, and let your company values, commitment, and consistency sit behind those messages. This will enable your brand to connect with your audience in a powerful way.
I’m hoping that’s given you food for thought. And if you need a little help with your social media, either through some training or an extra pair of hands to actually do some of it for you, give me a ring. I’d love to chat through what you’re trying to achieve and see if Footprint can help move things forward for your business.