Savvy Social Media

New to social media for small business? Need to brush up on the basics?

We’ve created this 10-step journey to help you get the most out of creating a social experience for you and your customers, likers, followers etc.

Offering tips and how-to’s once a week, we’re sure that this small guided trip through the digital jungle will help you with your world wide web trek.

STEP 1 - Audit

Collate – Before you can rule in the social media world of broking, you’ll need to finish some basic housekeeping.  Locate all of your social media and digital profiles. The big ones may be obvious to newer businesses (facebook, twitter, linkedin etc) but if you’ve been established for a while you may have some older/ defunct/ forgotten profiles you’ll need to action (msn spaces/ windows live spaces/ myspace for business/ yahoo 360 etc etc). Googling your business name will also help find any that you haven’t thought of.

Once you’ve located all of them, the next thing is to log them and all their details. We’ve made a sample log to use – feel free to download it.

Cull & Consolidate – Decide on which ones you want to keep and which ones need to be closed down. Remember, less is more. Keep a concise group of social media that you’ll keep active often, rather than lots of social media places that don’t receive enough updates or posts. Also in your search, you may have come across duplicate or unauthorized pages. Where you can, merge or close these duplicates. Send a message to the creator, as this may help, otherwise there will be a help section/ FAQ page for the site hosting any unauthorized pages to have them closed down.

Consistency – Once you have your list compiled, run a fine tooth comb over all of them and make sure they are consistent with your brand and message and are fully completed. Do they all have your phone number/ email address/ postal/ business address/ filled out? Are your business logos the same on all of them? Are your vision, mission and values statements all the same for each site?

All of these sites have many fields that you can fill out – the more info you provide, the better for your customers and you!

STEP 2 - Find your voice(s)

This week we’ll guide you and help you decide on exactly which social media platform to utilise – as there are MANY. You’ll need to determine WHY you post, HOW you post and most importantly, how often you post.

The most important thing you need to decide, is whether or not you actually need to be on any social media. Easy answer – of course you do! On average, a person will spend at least TWO HOURS on social media every day (whether passively or actively). Having your business in someone’s social media mix can only be good for your business. It’s tempting to sign up for a lot of platforms when you start a small business because you’re keen, eager and initially have time to invest into numerous platforms, until you get busy.

Choose the ones you do well, enjoy and can post to often

A great measure of a platform that you’ll excel in is one that you enjoy and utilise often, but don’t use to avoid doing mundane work. If you’re enjoying a particular platform, it will show in your posts and the engagement of your audience.

Be picky and appropriate for your industry (Here’s 3 to get you started)

As a broker, your time is valuable, so making sure you’re getting the best reach with customers on the other end of your platforms is crucial.

(1) Photo based platforms like Instagram or snapchat have a user demographic of 15-28 years old, who aren’t most likely to require your services.

(2) Facebook is a definite advantage socially. With more than 2 Billion active users, you can target your posts and advertising to reach your ideal audience. Whether it’s their age, job title, location etc, Facebook can point your message in the right direction. Theirs.

(3) Linkedin is also a great platform for business. While your business might not necessarily need to be on linkedin, you certainly do.  You’re the face of your company, so put yourself out there. Think of it as online networking. You’ll build credibility, but also have the potential to connect with future customers and possible business partnerships.

Here’s some more platform pros & cons for you to consider:

Pro’s and Con’s

Platform PROS CONS
Twitter Large potential audience. Provides ability for instant customer service. Brandable. Free. Time required vs time sensitive message. Allows negative criticism forum. Character limitations.
Google+/ Google Places Ease of use. Makes your business more google friendly. Simple to setup. Yet another social platform. Smaller audience. Cant use systems like hootsuite to manage.
Youtube Free to use and setup. Easy to share content. You can make your own brandable channel. Capital outlay for equipment to make videos look professional. More competitor voices with their own channels also. Takes time to shoot edit and post videos where the outcome isn’t guaranteed.

Creating a social media presence isn’t hard, but can seem daunting especially if you rush into it! So before you start remember your audience and ask yourself, would they be on this platform? Is this the best place for my message?

STEP 3 - Make a content strategy

So you’ve decided what the best social platforms for you are and you’ve created and completed their setup. But rather than being overwhelmed by these blank platforms staring back at you, take a few minutes and create a simple content strategy. You’ll thank yourself later! Here’s how ->

(1) Decide what you wish to do, and what success will look like. By creating a mission statement for each platform you’ll be able to easily regroup and refocus if you get side tracked.

An example mission statement might look like this: “We will use Snapchat to share the lighter side of our company and connect with younger prospective customers.”

Credits/ Sources:

(2) If you were one of your potential customers, what would you sound like on each platform? The easiest way to do this is by defining your tone of voice: What’s your brands’ personality? Describe your social media voice with adjectives. Make a note of this with your mission statement.

(3) Knowing what to say and how often, will be a big part of your success. Your posts, while being conversational, will also need to mirror the nuts and bolts of your business. (We’ll go into this next week).  Before posting, think about what makes you different to THE REST of your competitors. What do you do better?  Why?

(4) Create a post calendar. An excel spreadsheet is fine, as this doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. If you already have a business marketing plan, this can be used to help build your social media calendar.

We hope the above has given you some ideas to turn your social platforms into engaging pages for your current and potential customers. Below are some links to more detailed “How to’s” from industry leaders.

Next week we’ll discuss how to talk to your audience to keep them engaged and interested in your content.

Credits/ Sources:

Hootsuite example calendar download ->

STEP 4 - Communicate with your crowd

By this stage, you should now have a well thought out and appropriate social media pages for your business, as well as a social media plan that aligns with your overall marketing plan. With all of these tools in place, you now need to tell the world (remembering your brand tone of voice) your story and about your business!

(1) Keep it conversational. There’s nothing worse than being spoken at, so avoid doing that to your audience, and instead talk with. Instead of “You should buy product X because of …“;
Try “We think our product X is sensational because of …. Why don’t you try this out?”.

(2) Be engaging. Social media is about more than reading, so ensure you post more images and videos than pure text. It will get more attention and likely cause more engaging interactions between your audience and you.

(3) Ask questions and get your audience involved. Audiences really enjoy giving opinions and offering advice, so give them a platform. Start a quick facebook poll, or ‘tell us about blah in the comments sections’ to let them voice an opinion. You’d be surprised how much information about your target market you’ll be able to gain from taking the time to read the comments sections.

(4) Monitor and analyse. Regularly monitor your platform’s engagement and analytics. You’ll be able to see trends and from that you’ll be able to modify and improve your speech and tone. This will help overall in fine tuning what you’re saying to your audience by understanding what they want to hear.

(5) Finally, compare. Have a look at a few of your favourite company’s social media platforms. What do they do that you really like? How do they remain true to their brands’ voice and tone? What can you learn from them to improve your platforms?

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