Five steps to kick-start your social media presence and drive engagement - Contributed article by Sharon Williams
The great thing about being the CEO of one’s own company is that every year you get new tools and ideas to play with. Social media tools in themselves are not necessarily new, but statistics show that SME business owners, the vast majority without marketing departments, are still not sure how best to maximise them with the time and money available. In fact, only 24 percent of SME’s have begun social media marketing.
It is worth using them because they are one of the cheapest forms of marketing and connecting with the audience you want to interact with. It will save you money!
These quick tips should help.
#1 Integrate your social media into your business day
Make social media your friend and let it become part of everything you do – this takes a conscious mind shift! This could be as simple as adding your Twitter handle, blog link, LinkedIn profile to your business cards and to your marketing material. That in itself will put you ahead of most of your competition.
But book a time each day or week to post and review your social media presence. As for the competition check them out. If your business is the only one in your industry interacting on social networks, congrats, you’re ahead of the curve. But more likely than not, your competitors are experimenting on social networks too. Observe what they are doing to grow their base. Try to decipher which tactics are working and which are not. This is exactly what you’d do in a competitive assessment offline, looking for ways to improve your process by evaluating your competitors, those in your industry and outside it so you have a good base to start with.
#2 Remember the 3 C’s
When you post or ask an employee to post on your social media sites, remember the 3 C’s – be consistent, make the content relevant and timely and demonstrate clarity about why and what you are posting. Nothing is more likely to reduce the effectiveness of small business social media outreach than inconsistency on any of those 3 C’s! Naked Pizza, based in New Orleans, started messaging its followers on Twitter 1 to 15 times per day. It is now receiving a significant increase in total revenue citing their success as a direct reaction from Twitter interaction.
#3: Make your profiles about more than just your industry
While it’s OK to demonstrate on your sites what you do, you can also add a wider context to the information because each time you comment on a wider topic, you reach new audiences. It is much easier and cheaper to do this using social media than using print or advert campaigns to create new market awareness.
#4: Offer value and pay it forward
Just as in interactions offline – it is rewarding to give and pay it forward on this planet of ours by offering value-adds and education to those you want to interact with. In fact, almost 60% of posts are re-posts and passing information on – there is no problem with doing this if it is content relevant to your world and resonates with you.
#5: Diversify and connect
It takes some investment on the front end, but reaching out on multiple social platforms—then connecting the different presences with the same themes and message e.g. back to your business via the website or to a landing page – helps you reach the widest possible networks. It also grounds your efforts in ROI and allows you to measure return on investment by watching the activity you generate. Try not to replicate the same message on every platform either. Services like ping.fm are great for simplifying content posting but try to add something unique, or with personality to each social media presence you maintain.
Sharon Williams is the founder CEO of Taurus Marketing, an integrated marketing, PR, social media agency. She is a Fellow of the PRIA, international speaker, personal brand expert, entrepreneur, mentor, marketer, media commentator and frequent mainstream editorial contributor.