Social media and customer reviews are fast becoming one of the most important elements within the marketing mix and one you cannot afford to ignore if you have a business to promote. Whether you have just one main social media account or mix your social media across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest doesn’t seem to matter so long as you have a clear marketing communications strategy and are consistent in your approach.
The key to social media marketing is to decide which social media platform is right for your business and then to define how to you will use it. Your social media strategy should also align with your general marketing strategy both in the digital and traditional media.
One of the best ways to assess which social media platform is right for your business is to look at what your competitors and industry associations are doing. This is not as perverse as it sounds. Competitor analysis and tracking should be something you do and very often you can learn from the leading businesses and organisations in your industry. Once you have assessed which social media platforms are being used and how, it is time to pick the most relevant for your organisation.
This next step involves looking at exactly what you are truing to promote and what you are looking for in engagement with your social media audience. As with any marketing it comes down the message, contact, offer and audience demographics. At Redbows we are in the promotions products industry and as the saying goes ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. Clients want to see product images and descriptions of how we have applied imprints and how our clients have used our products to promote their own organisations and achieve their marketing communications objectives.
When it comes to your social media platform try to pick consistent account names that relate either directly or indirectly to your company and website name. Then it’s time to sign up and set up your social media platforms. This will take some time and it’s important again to be consistent here. Use the same graphics for your platform as your website and complete all the details requested in the set-up boxes including a clear description (SEO optimised) of what you do, your website address and contact details.
You will need an official or semi-official social media manager. Don’t think that social media is a passing whim. It is here to stay and will become more and more important in the promotion of your business and organisation. If you can appoint someone as your official social-media manager and allow them to build this into their working day and job description.
Managing social media content including publishing, tracking keywords and reviewing competitor activities is a time consuming job. If you do go down the route of appointing a manager for your social media platforms, agree clear objectives with them in terms of what you want to achieve. This could be simply to drive a certain number of visitors to your website or to increase the number of followers or get responses to a particular product or service promotion.
Whatever you decide, you can use various systems to analyse response and track statistics including Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Ping and SproutSocial.com. Some are free and some software platforms charge a monthly or annual fee.
Once you have set up your social platforms you then have to consider the content and how regularly to post. Up to three times a day is the recommended norm for most social media platforms but this is not always possible. For Instagram and Twitter it may be possible but for YouTube you may only have the resources for a weekly or monthly Vlog (Video blog). Just be consistent and timely. Using media / news tracking services like Google Alerts can give you industry related content as can monitoring website RSS feeds. Also talk to your teams and explain to them the importance of social media and the need for content from them including interesting new accounts and customer orders. Reviews can also play a part here in building your on-line brand presence. Post to your social media positive reviews and provide a link back to your main review service partner.
As you look to build your social media presence you can use some of the standard features within each social media platform. Some like Twitter allow you to search for keywords. Here you can make a list of your industry specific keywords and search for relevant accounts to follow. Remember there will be limits on some social media platforms on how many you can follow and it is also worth culling those not following you back on a regular basis to keep within any limits. Where your employees and client have their own professional (rather than private) accounts, ask them to engage and share company content.
Social media and review services have such an important role to play in new customer engagement and client retention and repeat orders. Many online retailers now include a reviews service that allows clients to rate and comment on their online shopping experience. In addition, Google offers the chance to review a businesses and organisations through their local services.
Other platforms have built-in review services as part of their platforms to help inform visitors such as TripAdviser, Booking.com and AirBnB. An important aspect here is to consider how you respond to a negative review. The golden rule is not to over react and to try to find out exactly why you received a negative review and what you can do to put things right. If possible you can always as a client or reviewer to re-rate or add a further comment. At the other end of the spectrum remember to thank people for positive reviews and for taking the time to comment. A positive review is like gold dust. Use a positive reviews in your social media to generate more interest in your company, follows and visitors to your website.
Social media marketing is here to stay. Most people now have at least one or more social media accounts that they open and review at least 2-3 times a day if not more when alerted to do so. Building social media into your marketing mix is now a key success factor in many businesses.
So at Redbows which are our favorite social media. We’ve been using social media marketing for around 5 years now and started with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. More recently we have been reviewing Instagram and Pinterest as a way to show more about what we do and engage with our audiences. We also keep an eye on what could be happening in the future and believe that virtual reality marketing will become more important as technologies develop. What we would ideally like to see is a hologram-type platform whereby a client can see one of our products on their own desktop with their logo superimposed onto it. That would take virtual samples to a whole new level and could revolutionise how our industry interacts with clients.