A fantastic website is no longer enough to ensure the success of a business in today’s global and technologically savvy marketplace. Customers have become more like audiences than ever before, and providing them with a means to digest product information, perhaps get a glimpse of the process behind creating a product or service and asking their opinions are all key to developing and maintaining their interest in what you have on offer which in turn will improve your lead generation. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through using social media and this article gives you some helpful dos and don’ts on the subject.
Which social media, and why?
The simple answer is, use all available social media to connect with your audience. Facebook is still the most used social media platform and allows for a whole multitude of means to connect with customers, via host of media, video, text and photography, where Twitter represents a move towards instant information and opinion sharing that goes beyond Facebook, and has made headlines through its potency as a tool to fight for causes or put forward controversial stances. LinkedIn allows a business to increase its profile amongst other businesses, and can receive endorsements from customers, and perhaps manufacturers and other companies. But the ‘big three’ are only the tip of the iceberg. These will almost certainly receive the most traffic, but for many companies, the other types of social media are just as effective.
For example, Instagram or Pinterest both use pictures as the main focus. For a company that offers an aesthetic service, flower arranging or jewellery design, may find these lesser-used and more targeted social media sites invaluable in showing their wares. This is not exclusive to companies whose products are based on the visual. These picture-focused sites can be used to mark an event, such as a trade fair or store opening, and links can take the customer to specific sites, blogs, or link to other social media.
Customers want facts, not pitches
When preparing content, whether it is a video, blog or tip sheet, it is important that you do not force a company brand on to your customers. This is the realm of the website, and not social media. Customers use social media to connect with a brand on a more personal level, and often use it to find out information, opinion or to give their opinion or review. If all social media is centred on a brand, and does not give any other information, it is unlikely to attract the customers who are not visiting a website, but instead are seeking information and reviews.
Keep content informative and concise, and do not be afraid to use other opinions or information to highlight what you are trying to represent, and as far as possible, include details of where this information comes from, this can add to your profile on social media, as it connects you with other organisations. For example, an electrician or plumbing company can use social media to show the process by which safe and legal works can be carried out, and link customers to national bodies such as the Electricians Union, who provide information on best practice, to show that they are responsible and professional, without having to mention a company name or oversell themselves as a company.
A well put together video presentation on a manufacturing process, regularly updated blogs and use of public and professional opinion are all proven to increase traffic and therefore prospective customers to the social media outlets for a company. This also helps establish a company as being experts in a particular field, the more useful the content, the more professional and desirable a company will be perceived.
Keep it fresh
Blogs are one of the best ways to keep consumer interest, and should be regularly updated and also informed by what has gone before. Keep all social media content uniform, that is present one theme at a time across all outlets, and thereby create a dialogue or narrative for the consumer, it could be the means of production, leading to use and then finally choice and consumption of a product.
Taking the consumer on a journey will help engage with a customer base, and following popular trends on social media that may be related to your particular business can be very useful. Seasonality, popular pastimes and technological advances can all play a role in presenting your company on social media. For example, a blog on the effects of UV rays in the summer months, and their health implications could be utilised by a sunglasses firm, without the necessity of mentioning the actual brand name, or purely relating to vision.
One of the main purposes of social media is to generate and share opinion. This can be positive and negative, but should always be acknowledged and, where possible utilised, as the saying goes, ‘there is no such thing as bad press.’ The main use of social media is engaging within a global community that perhaps would otherwise remain unconnected. As a business it is important to take note of these trends, but if information on popular opinion is not available, this is the perfect way to find out what that opinion is.
Analyses of comments from consumers are invaluable for any business at any stage, and this extends to social media. Asking if a particular blog or video was useful will help establish if what you are presenting is worthwhile, and whether it needs adapting or if you can continue with your existing strategy. It also allows a company to identify potential continuation for content or hitherto untapped markets that may be interested in a particular product on offer.