Kristin Hodgkinson, Digital Marketing Manager at Direct365, writes about how companies in less glamorous industries can use social media to good effect.
There is no argument on whether social media is beneficial to your business or not. That ship has sailed. All of the facts point you towards social media: 54% of all marketers have acquired a customer through Facebook in 2013, Facebook has 1.15bn users and there are 2 new LinkedIn members every second. Internet Advertising Bureau UK found that nearly 80% of consumers would be more inclined to buy more often in the future because of a brand’s presence on social media. The list goes on.
What there are ongoing discussions about is how to best utilise the online phenomenon to your company’s advantage. Customers are now expecting to find brands on social media, but what about the companies in less attractive industries. Companies who do not have a luxury product to sell; companies who sell necessities like electrical parts or washroom facilities. How do they entice likes, followers and +1’s?
Social media can be an effective part of your marketing arsenal, whether you goal is increased website traffic, conversions or brand awareness. Creating a brand identity and positive brand association is an important part of business, as is communication and interaction with key audiences and stakeholders – all of which can be enhanced through social media.
Creating a brand voice is important because it allows people to relate to you and a more humane level. If people feel that they can connect with your company they are far more likely to follow you on social media, regardless of whether they are involved in your industry or not.
When embarking upon a social media campaign the first, and most imperative, thing to do is create a strategy. Planning is essential in order to map out content ideas, target audiences and generate success indicators. For businesses in less glamorous industries it is important to target a wider audience because your niche market is probably very small and specific.
When creating content, as a company in a less attractive industry, you must not simply become a commentator on your own industry because this will only entice a limited amount of people. Instead, address currents affairs and common issues, create human interest and motivational business content.
Let’s take a look at what is available to us and how best to use them. The most popular social media platforms for businesses are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+.
Twitter is a social media tool based on keeping followers updated with the businesses day to day activities. News updates, quirky tweets, discounts and promotions can all be posted on Twitter, whilst marketing revolves around communicating with your audience. Be sure to retweet when customers having something nice to say. Twitter can be a great way to introduce yourself to people whom you want to notice you, just make sure you are not spamming them.
Facebook is a place people go to relax and chat so keeping a friendly informal tone is a good idea. Social media marketing here revolves around conversation with audiences, posting articles, videos and images. Some people run competitions and offer webinars for even further audience interaction.
LinkedIn is great for connecting with fellow professionals, although it is more of a personal social media platform than one or your business. Encourage employees to create an account and encourage customers or clients to give your business a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations makes your business appear more credible and reliable for new customers.
Google+ is the new Facebook competitor and it promotes the same fun, casual atmosphere. Take advantage of Google+ circles, which allow you to segment your followers into smaller groups, enabling you to share information with some followers while barring others. For example, you might try creating a “super-fan” circle, and share special discounts and exclusive offers only with that group. You can also try hosting video conferences with Hangouts and experiment using the Hangout feature in some fun, creative ways.
Social media makes your company more visible and being visible gives you transparency, which in turn will encourage people to interact with you online whether they are relevant to your industry or not.
Do you know of any innovative ways of utilizing social media to enhance businesses? If so, leave a comment below and share it with us.