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Social media means social business in 2015

14th January 2015 By Tim Grant in Small Business News

Has your small business used social media to reach a wider audience? If not, I hope to influence your decision to do so in 2015.

 

Thinking about social media for business can be at the very least, daunting... It needn't be. If you think about social media platforms as 'simply' a tool kit to accompany and compliment what you are already doing, you are half way there. So what next?

Initial thinking process:

  • I am excited about the use and integration of social media for my business.
  • What am I looking to achieve by having a social media presence?
  • Which social media platforms are going to enable me to do this best?
  • Where are my existing and potential customer base communicating online already?
  • Can we, as a company, manage this with an in-house resource or do we need and have the budget to outsource?
  • How is the business going to measure the success of our efforts?

Secondary thinking process:

  • Having identified which social media platforms your target audience are communicating on - How are you best going to use those platforms to their full advantage?
  • Who is going to be responsible for this activity?
  • If you are going to go down the 'in-house' route, how much training will be involved and how much knowledge do you have in-house already?
  • How much budget can we allocate to paid-for advertising on these channels?
  • How can our social media activity be collaborated on and therefore consistent across all departments?
  • Have we listened to our audience?

Action:

  • Having thought and decided on the above, you now need to communicate your intentions to the company.
  • Discuss and keep discussing how best to utilise your social media channels - in line with your current efforts, successes and even weaknesses.
  • Initialise your social presence on our social media channels
  • Make sure any profile images are fully optimised for the allocated space/size - poorly optimised images give a bad first impression
  • Grow and build your audience carefully.
  • Listen - Social media happens in 'real time' - be there or discuss how often you are going to be there to listen and engage.
  • Remember your social media posts are not 'all about you' and that you should aim to be an online authority in your chosen area, as well as sharing your own news... it is not all about you.

Useful tools for managing your social media:

Hootsuite:

This allows you to schedule and publish social media posts as well as set up 'real time' streams of what you may be interested in.

Google Alerts: As I mentioned earlier, social media isn't all about you and you should look to become an authority on your subject. This is a great tool that provides you with daily news content around that chosen subject, as well as keeping track of your own company mentions online.

Tweetdeck:

Great tool for publishing and monitoring news you are interested in and there is no additional fee

SproutSocial:

SproutSocial allows you to both post to your social networks from one platform, but it also produces comprehensive reporting at an affordable price.

JustUnfollow:

This application simply and easily allows you to manage your Twitter followers and is a tool I use on a daily basis.  

Google Analytics:

You should already have Google Analytics integrated with your company website. If you don't, pick up the phone and speak to your web developer. Not only does this tool measure traffic to your website, you can also set up goals/targets to help you measure your social efforts.

Google Alerts:

A great tool by Google for keeping up-to-date with a specified topic and great for generating social media content.

Common social media mistakes:

  • Thinking that because you now have a Twitter account or Facebook Page for your business - that you are 'doing' social. Your accounts need to be managed daily.
  • Not checking direct messages, responding to them (despite the automated ones) and therefore missing opportunities.
  • Setting up a Facebook Page for your business is completely different from a personal profile and many businesses set up a business page 'like a person' - Be careful about this.
  • Not getting a negative online conversation/complaint offline, as soon as possible.
  • Leaving an advertising campaign market as 'continuous' - 'expensive mistake'.
  • Not measuring your success and trying new things when something hasn't worked.
  • Not collaborating with other team members and departments.
  • Not including links to your social media channels on your website.
  • Not integrating your social media with other marketing efforts.

Social media is a huge subject and I can't possibly cover all aspects in a blog - particularly as each business will need different social ingredients. However, don't underestimate the potential of social media and social business.

If you have any specific questions you would like to ask me - please contact me.

 

 

Tim Grant
About the Author

Tim Grant

Head of Social Media at Trading for Good

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