As part of my role with LivingSocial I am lucky enough to get to travel around the country talking to different business owners about Social Media; trying to dispel some myths and get people excited about it being part of how they work. An awful lot of small business owners find it very intimidating getting started, or working out how best to use it. (And this goes for large businesses as well!).

There are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there, that for a  ‘small fee’ will try and take advantage of this fact. Social media isn’t some monolith of technology that only teenagers and hipsters understand, its about people. So is all business. As a business owner you probably know exactly who your customers are.  I personally believe that if you understand your business, your half way there to understanding how to use Social Media as part of that.

I’m going to give you some of my thoughts about how to develop a Social strategy that is all about helping your business and not being a hindrance to it.  I most certainly don’t have all the answers but I hope I can give you some food for thought. ( I’ve included a presentation I gave in Dublin in June 2013 that covers the same areas.)

Here is part one, give me your thoughts in the comments.

1. Work out your Strategy.
Getting more likes is not a business strategy! Work out some key aims for what you want your companies participation to do for your business. Ask your self questions like:

  • Who are your customers?
  • Where are they based?
  • What do your customers do?
  • Why should they follow you?

This should lead you to some achievable goals for your activity. Here at LivingSocial we aim to:

  • Acquire Customers – through fan growth
  • Portray our Brand Personality (And be front of mind)
  • Engage our existing customers
  • Deliver fast Customer Service (with personal(ity))
  • Partner with best businesses – Help them market themselves online

2. Get people engaged

Social Media is not a numbers game, it’s an engagement game. The size of your audience doesn’t matter so much as how engaged in your content they are.

This means that you need to understand your audience, and make sure your content is relevant to them. If people are interested in what you have to say they will be reactive – this will help you reach your goals.

3. Measure

What does success look like for your business? If you’ve set yourself some goals to achieve when using Social Media, you need to work out before hand how you can tell if you’ve reached your objectives. You can get a whole world of data from your Social Media activity (I recommend you use a management tool such as Hootsuite).

Quality, not quantity is the key, both in the number of followers you have and the data you use to measure your goals. Use the right data, not just the number of likes. Use the data you gather to tailor your strategy and the content you deliver EG if your audience is male and middle aged – they may not respond well to content around lipstick choice. Follow the data.

The kind of info you could look at might be:

  • Audience’s Age and Gender
  • Where in the world are they based (if you only sell in the UK and most of your audience is from Nicaragua you have a problem)
  • Keep an eye on what the competiton is doing and benchmark against them
  • What kinds of content are people engaging in? Video? Is a picture getting more comments than a like?
  • When are they engaging in it? When do your customers use Social Media?  I’m willing to bet it’s not at 10:30 when you send out your first post. I’ve found that evenings and weekends generate a lot more interaction (though this changes for different companies)
  • Is your content getting people talking? Are they engaging with it?
  • How influtential are you? Check out your Klout score (also check peerindex.com and Kred.com)

Okay so that’s all for now, coming up in the next installment – Advertising with Social, Creating impact, Consequences and some practical tips for getting your business out there!

Phew, lots to think about!

 

This presentation is included for you to use if you want, if you fancy copying it that’s fine, maybe just pop a link to this blog!