Social Media is here to stay

Written by Kimberley Welman on 22 July 2017

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Social Media is no longer just a ‘social’ networking platform, it’s one of the most effective communication and publicity tools that a business can harness. It’s not a matter of if a business should use social media, it’s a matter of how a business can use social media and use it effectively.

The online realms of the digital world offers consumers a plethora of information anywhere and at anytime and such accessibility boasts tremendous publicity opportunities for businesses, provided it’s handled professionally.

The abundance of additional avenues that organisations and individuals have  to communicate with their audiences is phenomenal, however that doesn’t mean that it makes it easier to promote and market a business. In actual fact, it means organisations must get smarter, more nimble and more strategic than ever before.

Consumers now ‘expect’ businesses to have social media pages as it gives an element of authenticity. And, research shows that more and more consumers are visiting social media pages before websites. First  impressions are more important than ever before.

Here are some points to consider when managing a business page on social media;

  • A social media plan needs a strategy. Awareness is great for increasing your market, but how is that going to translate into increased revenue? Have a clear vision and goal.
  • Make content worthwhile and informative. With consistent posts that offer ‘newsworthy and useful’ information comes a level of trust and brand awareness. This results in the consumer subconsciously keeping your company in mind when it comes to a decision making process in relation to your business. It can also prompt the consumer to speed up that ‘sales’ decision.
  • Consumers don’t want to feel like they are being ‘sold’ something with every post. Aim for 80% value or insight and 20% sales.
  • Ensure your images are in-line with your branding guidelines and refer back to those guidelines regularly. Every image reflects your company.
  • If you are starting from scratch and your launch date is still a few months away, use social media as a pre-branding tool. Post images that represent your brand, service or product, release a logo, give people ‘teasers’ of what is coming and get active on following/liking other like-minded business pages.
  • Make everything as easy as possible. People don’t generally want to wait for links to load, or give up three minutes of their time to watch a slideshow of images. Ensure your links are easily accessible and available then and there. Keep it simple, short and concise.
  • Get involved in collaborations. There has been a tremendous shift towards ‘influencer and partnership marketing’ and for good reason. Consumers want reviews, they want ratings, they want to see what others are saying about you, your service or your product. When the right person endorses your brand, it offers tremendous publicity opportunities.
  • Don’t buy into ‘paid followers’. Consumers can easily decipher a company that has 100,000 followers and only three likes per photo. They’ll instantly see your brand as dishonest.
  • No matter how small your business is, treat yourself like a large corporation. Set up guidelines, a business plan, goals, financial forecasts and have a detailed communications schedule. Mange it accordingly and look at investing in strategic advice from a professional.
  • Aim for a minimum of three social media posts per week and maximum of two per day. Respond to your comments and messages. This is key in ‘engaging’ with your audience. They want to see your company giving them YOUR time. It also shows your level of customer service.
  • Be consistent. When you have a plan, an abundance of posts up your sleeve and a schedule – you’ll find it easier to keep up. If a consumer stumbles across a social media page that hasn’t had a post for three months, they’ll see it as stale.
  • Research your target audience. When are they most likely to be online? Plan your posts around those peak times. If they are interested in your business, you will more than likely have other common interests. Keep them up to date so that they feel like they have their ‘finger on the pulse’ in your playing field.
  • The end goal for most businesses on social media is to build awareness and translate that into revenue. Once a follower lands on your page, you want to get them across to your website. The key is to entice them over there. That’s why a lot of companies are now ‘blogging’ and giving valuable industry information away. It’s indirectly steering followers from their social media pages to their websites and ultimately, a sales funnel.
  • Concentrate on establishing or increasing your database. It’s a key in translating interest to sales. Don’t just ask them to subscribe, offer them something in return. A free market report, the opportunity to see sales and promotions before anyone else etc.
  • Traditional media and PR still has control of the steering wheel in terms of credible press coverage, publicity, reputation management and industry and corporate communications, but when  backed up with the right content as part of an integrated social media campaign, there can be an exponential lift in the  value to  a  business.

 

Promedia Public Relations specialises in publicity and media relations, social + digital campaigns, corporate communications, event management, Government relations, community and stakeholder engagement.