Social Media; raising brand awareness and generating leads.
Marketing has always been at the core of any business, it’s no use having a product or service and customers not knowing it exists. But in the past decade media and marketing have under gone a dramatic shift. Before cash ruled the advertising budget, and only those with enough money to throw at the issue could hope to get exposure.
Then social media marketing arrived on the scene. Suddenly marketing changed form a monologue to a two way conversation. Customers wanted to build a relationship with the brands they followed, and needed those brands to be building that relationship with them. Creativity and content took over from a totally cash based economy, and now anyone with a bit of hard work can give their product or brand enough exposure to give it traction.
Social media marketing has one key advantage, it is so easy to track the analytics, the numbers themselves, and see what’s working, and what’s dead in the water. This means that you can experiment, test out products or ideas and dip a toe in the water to test the temperature before diving right in.
Before looking at any platform there are a few key idea that you need to sort out that are universal across the board.
It may seem like a lot of hard work, but it’s key to put a plan in place for your social media strategy. Start by looking at any events you might be having, or times of the year where sales might peak. Then include any times of the year where things tend to be slack and work to increase awareness then.
Once you have that in place you should have a rough idea what you will be promoting and when. Now you need to look at how you might build that brand consumer relationship. A good rule of thumb is to post 20 interesting and informative posts for each sales related post.
Make sure you integrate your strategies. Hopefully you will be using a blog to establish your credentials as an expert in the subject that your brand focuses on. Make sure this is promoted across your Twitter and Facebook feeds as soon as it’s published, and that you can drive traffic from your blog, to your social media.
It’s not always the most polished posts and images that get traction and are shared widely, it’s the ones that allow the potential customer to identify the real voice in the conversation. You need to be posting interesting and relevant content at regular intervals.
Your logo, the colours you plan to use, the images of your products and or services. These all need to be decided in advance and used to establish a consistent brand across all the platforms you use.
Make sure all your images are clean and tidy. Use a professional photographer if your photography skills are lacking. If that’s out of your budget make sure there’s little or nothing in the background, drape a white sheet behind and under the object if possible and use as much light as possible.
There is a reason Facebook is known as the father of all social media, with almost 1.4 billion active users if Facebook was a country it would be a superpower.
The first stage is to set up a page. Add as much of your branding as possible and fill out all the information. Then start adding status updates, these need to be interesting enough to grab people’s attention. Share top tips, use photos, add jokes, and inspirational quotes, populate your page before you start sharing.
Now comes the time to start marketing your page. Firstly share it amongst your friends and family, make sure you add it to any real world media you have. A mention on invoices can do wonders for your page numbers. Maybe you can offer an incentive, ‘Head on over to our page to get 10% off your next order’ or similar. Join relevant groups and share your page.
There are numerous ads and schemes to increase the number of followers, but remember that you need those followers to be interested in your product and interact with your page, or Facebook will reduce the number of people it shows your updates to. Fake likes will backfire in a spectacular way.
Twitter is strictly a microblogging site. All the updates have to be 140 characters or less, and there is a wonderful immediacy to these Tweets. The idea is to capture a user, or brands, thoughts and feelings at that moment.
For marketing these short and simple updates are golden. We can blast out a quick note to followers letting them know about an important piece of news, a great idea we wanted to share, or an offer we’re having. If it’s interesting enough they too will share the tweet and brand awareness will grow. Don’t forget you can add images, infographics and photos to really expand on those 140 characters and carry your message that bit further.
It’s still important to remember the 20 to 1 rule so that your followers are getting more information than sales pitches.
Want to know a secret. People on Instagram are far more likely to be shopping than any other platform. Yeap they are on there to look for pretty things to spend their money on. So being on there with good quality images that allow customers to find and more importantly purchase your product is key.
Instagram’s secret lies in the use of hashtags in the same way as Twitter to organise things into topics and allow people to search for certain things and products. You can use this to your advantage. Have you ever thought of running a hashtag campaign? Take inspiration from #ownthewinter and similar campaigns that have got great traction. What hashtag would your brand represent? Use that to start a conversation that can convert browsers into customers, and carry on that conversation to keep them loyal.
Social media is now the buzz word of the marketing industry, from the huge corporations to the tiny firms we’re all there joining in and trying to call people to our brand. You can to with a bit of work, a bit of imagination and the use of your own voice to start talking to your future customers.