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GET DIRECTLY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS, CREATE MESSAGES, TRACK RESPONSES AND ENGAGE SINCERELY WITH YOUR MARKET. ADVERTISE ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES, PROMOTE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE AND SEE YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC GROW.

Social media

Social Media is people talking to other people via a social media network. Rumour has it that the most powerful form of advertising is word-of-mouth. We prefer a service based on a referral from someone we trust, before we will respond to an advertisement. 1,28 Billion people communicate on Facebook (expandedrambling.com). That is almost a quarter of the world population practicing word-of-mouth...

So why should you expose your business on such a communicative channel?

 

Build a bridge...

I always tell clients, there are two kinds of business owners, islanders and adventurers. Social Media builds a bridge between customer and provider. It allows the customer to make direct contact, and forces companies to take accountability for their products. You cannot drive your business in contemporary times from an island. You need to venture, communicate and accept the consumer as part of your marketing team. Digital Media has appointed your client base in several social positions: Quality Control, Service Delivery and lastly but not the least: Marketing by word-of-mouth.

 

Still not convinced?

It sounds volatile doesn't it? All these people talking about you and your product. So let me tell you something you may not know. Want your website to be found on Google without having to spend a cent? Get yourself a business Facebook page with a direct link to your website. Google will show your facebook page first, before your website 90% of the time. So not only do you get invaluable information on your target markets needs and intrigues, you earn additional visibility online.

 

Bridge Building for dummies:

Have you ever seen a bridge under construction? Things kind of start from the bottom up. First the supports so no one gets hurt, then the foundation blocks and slowly, piece by piece a bridge shapes itself before your eyes. Social Media very much works in the same fashion.

First and foremost: Supports so no one gets hurt: Before you get a social media presence, appoint someone inhouse or external that will regularly check your messages and respond in a professional manner. Damage can go both ways on social media and lack of response signifies a shortage in sincerity. Social Media requires commitment. If you don't have the time, don't do it but find someone that does - and that can. Small Business Trends says: "Positive and negative mentions alike deserve a prompt response. If you plan on having a serious social presence, assign a first responder to monitor each channel and give them access to a troubleshooting library that addresses common questions and issues. Establish a brand voice and ensure proper training so your messaging is creative, but consistent across all channels and team members".

Then the foundation: Build a basic Business Page on a relevant Social Media Platform. This is important, if you are a photographer Instagram or Flickr is the route to go. Same for purely business clientele, a Linkedin account will work better. Mixed consumer base? Nothing stops you from targeting more than one market. For instance, stay-at-home-moms on Facebook and the product on Linkedin for retail buyers. Always have a link to your website and never repeat copy from your website as posts (messages). Rather invite social media friends and followers to go and read it on your site or another site.

So how is our bridge looking? By now you have an expert that is ready to communicate, and you have just opened a business page.

Thirdly: Brick laying, piece by piece. Talk to your clientele at least once a week. Be honest, have fun and most all - have a strategy. Start small and anticipate repsonse. Susan Gunelius in her article "10 Laws of Social Media Marketing" says: "Success with social media and content marketing requires more listening and less talking. Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them. Only then can you create content and spark conversations that add value rather than clutter to their lives." Remember that person is getting a notification in their personal space regarding your social status, make sure it counts.

Lastly, advertise. Why not tell a few people about your bridge? Remember the competition is watching. Social Media Advertising boost your presence, gives estimates and demographics and allows you to subtly drive traffic to your website increasing your search engine ranking. It will only show your ad to relevant targets, making for effective ROI.

 

A handy tip:

If you are a small one man business with limited time: Start small. The motto of all digital marketers. Start a social media page and state clearly that things are hectic, but they can be sure to hear from you at a certain date and time. Mark it on your calender. Track the responses and with the next post, give another date. Grow your social media presence subtly, 12 messages a year is better than none!

 

Worthy reading:

Social Media Engagement For Dummies by Aliza Sherman and Daniel Elliot Smith

"From building trust to sparking conversation to using video and other tools, this creative book is a must read if you want to discover all that goes into the most important aspect of today's social marketing".

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The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David meerman Scott

"...leverage Web-based content to get the right information to the right people at the right time for a fraction of the cost of big-budget campaigns. "

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Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks) by Dave Kerpen

"Likeable Social Media helps you harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing to transform your business. Listen to your customers and prospects. Deliver value, excitement, and surprise. And most important, learn how to truly engage your customers and help them spread the word."

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