Doing this has been one of the toughest assignments we've had in a long time.
That's because it's complex and always changing. There's no one-size-fits-all solution, but with good strategy and planning social media (marketing) for your business can be an effective tool for growing your brand.
A social media profile for your business is the closest thing you have to your brand being an actual person. With social media your business has a voice, a personality and an emotive connection with people that they will either like, or loathe.
Once you get the above mix right - it's about being SOCIAL. All the time. This isn't a stop-start programme. It's only works if you do and like a tree, the more you put into it the more you get out of it.
It's about driving brand, personality, word of mouth, and creating positive customer experiences (big or little). Ten years ago there was no such thing as an "Online Marketing Manager or a Digital Marketing Assistant". Nowadays, they're everywhere. Large businesses who know social marketing is the way of the future have (in more recent) years seen this trend, caught the train and now have online and digital marketing overtaking traditional marketing as their strongest form of brand representation and promotion.
Competition makes people do crazy things, but it's what drives business forward. Innovation is needed to beat the competitor, and if you're now not online chances are your competitors will be. The more they're doing, the more attention they're getting and the less notice your brand is getting unfortunately.
Why? Because the internet is everywhere and it's here to stay. Everyone has now adopted it, and it's (like it or not) the way of the future. We go online for everything - so online is where marketing needs to be if it's going to do it's job of getting in front of you. All the time, all day, every day. It's important that we get our businesses there now, so we're not stuck playing catch up once we 'get around' to doing something about it.
It's a pretty tricky landscape, some would say overwhelming and it's always changing. That's why it's a) imperative to do your homework, all the time or b) get someone to to the homework for you - the choice is always yours.
The main platforms Kiwi's have adopted in the social media space are sometimes different to ones off shore - so if you operate in a NZ only market - then look at what Kiwi's use. If you're operating in a multi-country or global market - then you need to look at what all of your customers are using. Here's a very brief run down of the common Kiwi social media platforms:
- Google +
Likewise, some of these platforms (because of the nature of what drives them, or what makes people drive them) are suited better to some businesses than others. What might be great for one business on Instagram might not be so good for another, we believe. so you do need to choose wisely.
If you're not sure where to start or which social media platform is right for you it's best to ask for help. You will find everything you need to determine which social media platform is right for you online - it's just a matter of whether you have the time, and patience to do this work yourself; or whether you feel more comfortable using the help of an expert.
Before you dive head first into social media (marketing) it's super important to understand some of the misconceptions around social media for your business. Below are some of the most common misconceptions that people have or make when managing social media themselves. This might help you to understand if managing social media yourself if something you're ready for and capable of, or whether having an expert manage social media for you on an ongoing basis is the best way to go:
- More isn't more. Just because you've seen that a piece of content is popular somewhere else, doesn't mean it's right or relevant for your consumers. It's not just as easy as 'sharing' what's already out there, your content needs to be unique to your audience. Developing your own original content is the best way to go, and nowadays our social media platforms are SMART. If they don't think your content is good, it won't appear in front of your audience.
- Just because you have your own 'personal' platform for social media doesn't mean you're automatically an expert at managing your business social media presence. These are two very, very different worlds and you need to think about them in very, very different ways.
- TIME! Doing social media well, and doing it right takes lots of strategy, lots of planning, and lots of content generation -TIME. If time is not what you have, then getting help with social marketing from an expert is the way to go if you want a) your business to be social and b) you want your business to be great at it. Anything less, and you are just wasting that really important thing of yours, time.
- Everything your brand does online needs to be authentic. Why? Because if it's not people will be able to see through that straight away. Remember you might be operating on a machine but you're still always talking to real people. And because you're talking to them in a space where they have the opportunity to engage with; or ditch something straight away, chances are if you're not being authentic your audience will browse straight past you.
- Ad's don't work. Sorry to burst your bubble naysayers, but if you're doing it right they do. Well planned and executed online advertising is a perfect form of marketing to your target audience because you can do exactly that - target. Because social media captures so much information about it's users we're able to choose specifically who we want to put our ad in front of. The best part of targeting, is we're only paying to put our ad in front of perfectly potential customers. Unlike traditional forms of marketing like radio or TV or print, there's no 'guessing' at hit rates or hoping for viewership miracles. What's important to add here, is because it's a complex part of social media to get your head around be prepared to a) spend your time working out how to advertise properly and keeping up to date with ongoing constant changes or b) have an expert take care of the hard work for you.
To wrap it all up for you here's 5 things we feel you need to know about social media (marketing) for business:
- Content is King. Don't go into this thinking all you have to do is post 'something' each day and you'll be right.
- Strategy and planning is required. Lots of it.
- It's always evolving, be prepared for the homework. Can we note here that the above three points also equal lots of TIME.
- Public relations are critical. Don't let your personal emotions get in the way of a good opportunity to convert someone. Always be available to your customers online. Be a good online citizen, at all times.
- GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA WORKS! Whether you're doing it yourself or having an expert take care of it for you, done well you will see positive results. Remember t's like a tree - the more you put into it the more you will get out of it. And to round it all out with an fantastic quote - the secret to getting ahead is to get started!
Scratching your head? If you have any questions about social media marketing for your business, whether it's about how you can get started or how you can do it better we're here to help
. Any time, in person or online :)