Larger companies now often have their social media run inhouse…by an entire team. Small businesses such as ours don’t have that luxury. So how do you decide which platform/s to use and how on earth do you get started?
The below themes are taken from Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, although he is based in the US, the principles he explains are universally applicable:
- On Instagram – create art
- On Pinterest – glam it up
- On Twitter – listen well
- On Facebook – tell a story
- On Google+ – be active
Based on the above, small businesses can decide which platforms to use – there’s limited point being on a platform that your target audience isn’t on. But how do we use them?
Don’t use social media to sell
Ironic isn’t it? Accounts that try to sell do not do well; social media is for building relationships. Although many people are more than aware of the world of consumerism, they are inundated with offers of products to buy, companies to trust and deals to be had. Being sold to is a constant part of everyday life and many see social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as a release from the monotonous tone of advertisers and a chance to build connections with real people. Using this knowledge, businesses can change their appearance from a faceless conglomerate and create a more personable profile.
Do interact in real time
Due to today’s technology, customers expect an almost immediate response to their queries which means interacting with people in real time is a must. It can be hard to respond to a great number of emails so do your best and if you can’t be online 24/7, setting up an auto-response feature saying that you’ll respond properly soon is imperative to making sure customers know they are being dealt with and not ignored. Quality customer service must exist as effectively online as it does in person.
Do give it a go
The above mentioned book is a great place to start. Social media is here, whether we like it or not. You can’t hide from it so get out and give it a go; a quick internet search will yield thousands of how-to guides for free. Traditionalists may believe that nothing beats the old-fashioned customer service routes, however businesses must adapt with changing customer needs and if the world is turning to social networking as a means of communicating with businesses then it is important to keep up with online trends.
Don’t post blindly
Whilst regular updating is recommended, it is important to make your posts convenient for your customers and this is achieved by research into when and where to post. For instance, if your clients are in the US, don’t post something that will show up on their feed in the middle of the night. If you’re posting to LinkedIn mornings are the ideal times to post whereas Facebook has most online users in the evening, at lunchtime and on weekends.
We spoke to Alwyn D’Souza of LFS, an NHS facial surgeon that has made the transition to a private practice alongside his ongoing NHS work.
“We’ve had to learn about social media and just how it can benefit out business. It’s totally unique and something that’s tricky to apply traditional marketing principles to but we’re getting the hang of it…I even know what a hashtag is now!”
It may not be immediately obvious which social networking techniques can be of benefit to your business but, regardless of your products or services, gaining knowledge of innovative online trends is a must.Signup to Business Plan Template