Social media in modern day business, is it actually worth the hype? Should you even bother?
I’ve seen a lot of debate online regarding the topic of “is social media is a benefit or a hindrance to a business” (depending on what the companies industry is and what their target market is). I’ve seen lots of comments, particularly from smaller businesses testifying to the latter, often with remarks like:
“I own a shop, having an online presence isn’t really our top priority”
“My industry is very niche, due to this people would likely find us with or without our social profiles via our website and or yellow pages”
“Who really has the time to actively run a social media page?”
It should probably not come as much of a surprise to you, but for me to say that I strongly disagree is an understatement and that I feel the route of this consensus is due to general ignorance that most non-tech savvy business owners have (to put things lightly). I’ve never met anyone well versed on the fundamentals of social media marketing claim “I can’t really apply this to my industry” or “This isn’t really worthwhile”, in fact most people who say social media isn’t great for business often have gathered about 40 followers in 2 years, which frankly says it all.
So why exactly is setting up a vibrant social media presence an asset for your company?
Without going into the specific intimacies of social media marketing across different platforms, you need to understand what social media marketing boils down to. Surprisingly successful social media marketing comes down to a very few key principles, these consist of:
- Understanding basic human herd mentality and how that ties into marketing
- Understanding that continuous engagement with a customer promotes follow through in behaviour
- Understanding that building a rapport with your customers on a personal level, stimulates customer loyalty
Sounds rather logical right? Let’s delve into each of this with a little more detail to see how this can apply to your company.
What exactly do you mean by this, I hear you ask? At a fundamental level it’s always important to remember human beings, no matter how advanced, are animals. This means that social behaviour can be (and largely is) predictable. For example, if you follow a football team on social media, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination for me to conclude that you enjoy football and you support this particular team, right?.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at this example from a business perspective; let’s say I operate a healthy juice bar. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to conclude that people who are vegetarian or take part in a healthy life-style would enjoy the products I sell. Therefore, If I searched businesses, swap shops, profiles and activity within a 15 mile radius of my shop, targeting people who engage in these activities, lifestyle choices etc, it’s likely pushing marketing material to these people would result in brand awareness and ultimately the likelihood of more customers.
I would hope that the concept of continuous engagement is self-explanatory and common sense. However, the reality is, most people don’t hold onto the established audiences they’ve gained until they want something. Very often do i see random posts from business pages trying to sell a new product, that haven’t posted in 6/7 months.
Continuing our example of me owning a juice bar, let’s imagine that I have 500 followers on my Facebook page for this company. The point of continuous engagement is so that, through posting several times a week, I can appear in the social feeds of all my fans (whilst subtlety reminding them of my businesses existence) and prompting these people to engage with my company.
For example: I could post an image of my wholemeal cookies or healthy snack alternative, strategically set the post public around 10:30 to get in my customers social feeds for lunch-time and include promotional material like“Everyone that quotes ‘pass me a cookie’ gets a FREE drink TODAY ONLY!”.
It’s incredibly simple to keep an audience engaged; this isn’t rocket science, so why miss out?
Building a rapport with customers:
If nothing else, never miss an opportunity to make a personal connection with your customers. When people feel a personal connection with a company, product or service, they will continuously use/visit/buy from the vendor without the thought of change.
Using my juice shop example again, it’s obvious I can build a rapport with customers by being warm, vibrant and conversational with customers in store, right? So why is this side of face to face marketing neglected online? After all it’s the same basic principle of setting aside time to make someone feel engaged, special even, right?
As I originally stated, I won’t be teaching you the intimacies of social media marketing, but with these core things in your mind, think about what you can do:
- Create original content for your brand
- Schedule posts once or twice a day
- Search for groups within a 10-20 mile radius to engage people about your service/product
- Invite anyone to follow/join your page, even if they’ve only engaged once
- Always keep your niche market in mind
- Pay attention to what WORKS and replicate
- Hold competitions on social media for loyal customers
- Engage with customers to make them feel personally connected to your brand
- Set aside 2-3 hours a week to set this up for your company
- Actually spend a few hours learning how to social media market from Google / YouTube (DO NOT PAY, YOU DON’T NEED TO PAY ANYONE TO LEARN HOW TO DO IT!)