Welcome to the second instalment of my thoughts on how to crack Social Media Marketing for your business. You can read part one here. As I have mentioned previously, I don’t have any definitive answers for you, but I hope I can raise some interesting questions that lead you on your way to developing a Social strategy that works for your business. So on to business:

1. Experiment – What works for you? (And a word on Advertising using Facebook and Twitter)

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to what works in Social Media, that can mean in the kinds of platform you use and how you use them. You need to look at your audience, and where they are and tailor your content to appeal to them. Test and learn. I learn something new about Social every single day, with such a new medium there are always new ways of doing things.

At this point I want to say a brief word about advertising using Social Media. This of course entirely depends on the budgets you have at your disposal: Before you do make sure that your content is good and engaging, because if its not, no amount of advertising you do is going to help you build a relevant audience for your content. Advertising, particularly on Facebook and Twitter can be a fantastic tool for pushing your message out there, indeed on Facebook it’s almost becoming a requirement:

Social Media Business Strategy

You may have found ‘Boost Post’ on your Facebook page posts.

You may have seen this appearing at the bottom of your posts on Facebook. I will go into the vagaries of edge-rank for Facebook in another post, but the intent is clear. Facebook want companies to pay to get there message out there, and your posts may be hindered if you don’t. Again, this won’t be a good solution for everyone, but if you can find a little cash to give your most important and compelling posts a push it can be hugely beneficial. You can target against very specific categories of people and even upload your database to include / exclude them from your activity.

Similarly for Twitter, it can be an expensive business if you go down the advertising route, and I would only recommend it if you have a significant budget to create a campaign, as it works best with sustained activity.

2. Create content with impact – Tell stories

I have found that the best way to engage with an audience and make a lasting impression is to tell your brands story. And by that I don’t necessarily mean the year you where founded right up to moving into new premises, I mean talk about what is unique to you. Let’s say your a bar, your story could be your killer cocktails you produce. You could give your followers a taste of how they are put together with a short video, or an info-graphic of how you put them together. (You can do this with free tools like Vine and http://piktochart.com/ ). What happened in your bar last night? Why not up load some pictures of people having fun, maybe give them a discount code if they tag themselves in it on Facebook… the possibilities are endless.

If you imagine your brands story / narrative as an arch, you should treat each piece of content you put out there as a pillar; holding up the whole story and part of the structure.

3. Remember you’re engaging in a conversation

It seems sometimes that in our preoccupation with the technical and fiddly bits concerning social media, we forget it’s most important principles. It’s about people. We should always remember that. What does that mean to me and my business? Well it means that as you’re speaking to human beings they tend to talk back. And, unfortunately  it’s not always positive what people say. This can be one of the major reasons why people are hesitatant about committing to Social Media. The fact is, these conversations happen whether your involved in them or not. Isn’t it better to be involved in that discussion? Here are some tips for customer service on Social Media.

  • Be Proactive – Don’t wait for problems to come to you. Get out there, and ask people to give you feed back.
  • Show your listening – People need to know that you hear what they are saying. It’s the same as any form of customer service.
  • Be personal – With Customer Service, the personal touch can be everything. Sign off Tweets / Posts with the authors name. People are nicer to humans than faceless corporations!
  • You can’t help all the people all the time – You are never going to make everyone happy all the time. This doesn’t mean you can’t try and understand their point of view. People on the whole are reasonable if they think you’re hearing them, even if you can’t give people what they want, you can demonstrate that you’re doing everything you can for them.
  • Frame the conversation (and expectations) – IF your using a particular channel for customer service, lay down the ground rules. Let people know when they can expect a prompt answer, if that’s office hours then let them know. This makes using Social Media a more manageable, (better than having your phone beeping at you at all hours!)

That’s it! AS you can see this is by no means comprehensive, but I hope it gives you a sense of what you can do for your business!

Any questions? Drop a comment here, or come and say hello on Twitter. @itsdanprice