Think before you post!

Do not approach your social media strategy without serious thought! Yes, the accessibility of most social media networks makes entering the world of social media easy and quick. However, just because the likes of Twitter are free to configure, it doesn’t mean it is the right platform for you to use!

So how do you know which social media platform to use? Well, my answer when posed this question is always “what is it you want to accomplish with social media?” Are you looking to generate more leads? Do you plan to use social media for customer outreach? Or maybe you plan to use it to increase brand awareness?

Whatever you want to achieve, you need to set aside time to truly figure out exactly what it is that your business needs and how social media can help fill that need.
One of the best things you can do before getting started is to sit down and really map it out. It is incredibly easy to get lost in the number of social platforms and you want to be sure you use your time and efforts wisely.

So, by defining your audience and truly understanding who you are creating your content for, it will help determine where you should be promoting your business and on which platform.
Some of the questions you might want to ask yourself about your ideal customer include:

How old are they?
Where do they work? What do they do?
What social media platforms do they use?
What kinds of interests do they have? Personal and business?
What are some of their struggles or pain points?
What kinds of obstacles or objections might they have?
What are their habits, likes, and dislikes?
What motivates them?

The clearer you can be with the answers, the more you will be able to fine-tune a social media marketing strategy that perfectly suits their (and your) needs.

Be careful though committing to a social media platform and then not updating it. I have lost count of the number of organisations we see who have a Twitter or Facebook page which hasn’t been updated for 6 months! Digital or online marketing is immediate so Tweets about an event you attended 3 weeks ago won’t get the exposure or interaction you’re after!

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Social Media

While social media may seem overwhelming, there are now many experienced people who can get your accounts set up quickly for very little money. At a minimum, you should decide on a username that you can use consistently across all social networks. Check to ensure the username you are considering is available on all the major sites before you get started. You can check them all at once for free using Knowem.com Social Media

You do not have to be active on every social network, but you do want to claim your username, upload an image, enter a short bio and link it to your site. These are valuable links easily obtained, so do not neglect them.  If you aren’t going to be active on a site now, include where you can be found in your bios.

There is a lot to doing social media well. Consider paying someone else to set up your accounts and teach you to use them. It doesn’t have to be costly and it will save you a ton of time and frustration.

The main thing to remember is not to always be selling or broadcasting about yourself on social media. What you want to do is identify where your target audience is already active and then socialize with them.

As you create relationships they will lead to business!

Rugby and Tweeting; an interesting mix!

Last weekend I had a weekend pass for my belated 40th birthday present from my wife and children which took the form of tickets for both days of Twickenham World 7s Rugby.

As an ex player and an avid rugby fan, I was very much looking forward to the weekend and, combine this with spending 3 nights at my Dad’s away from the interrupted sleep I get at home from my young family, the weekends appeal was even higher!

What I wasn’t expecting was an email the night before from the RFU promoting the use of Social Media over the weekend along with asking me to get involved with the key sponsors of the weekend – O2, HSBC and Marriott Hotels. Unsure of what to expect from the proposed hashtag (#7stakeover) and the Twitter account to follow (@Official_RFU), I set off to Twickenham.

Arriving at Twickenham early on Saturday morning to a carnival atmosphere, I decided to shoot a quick video on Social Cam of the drummers before I entered the actual Stadium which I then posted to my Facebook page and my Twitter account.

I then added the hashtag feed to my Tweet Deck account just to see what was trending (LMFAO was requested a lot!). Little did I know that Twickenham would boast over 103,000 people over the weekend and the social networks of Twitter and Facebook along with Social Cam etc were going wild. Thousands of people were Tweeting song requests which were broadcasted over the speaker system with the account holder credited. In addition, The Marriott Hotel were asking the crowd to “like” their Facebook page for the chance to win weekend breaks. The crowd could also “Tweet” pictures taken which, if selected, were posted onto the large screens at either end of the stadium.

Having “followed” the RFU Twitter account, I was also able to view scores in real time when I was in the car park having lunch so I didn’t miss a thing!

The final swansong was HSBC doing a 360 real time “Fan Cam” of the whole stadium and then allowing people to go in and tag themselves in the crowd, which I did – very impressive.

To me, the use of Social Media really impacted positively on the weekend and shows how, if embraced by organisations large or small, the likes of Twitter and Facebook can really play a huge part in enhancing customer experiences and promoting brands positively. By the end of the weekend, even my father who is 67 and a social media dinosaur, really understood how effective social media can be!

Social Media – do it now!

Following on from Bath Marketing Consultancy‘s last post on social media and effective SEO, I thought it would be helpful to elaborate on certain key points to try and demonstrate how effective these 2 initiatives can be for an organisation, especially those who operate as small to medium businesses.

One area I think is key is that social media is not a generation initiative. I have lost count of the number of clients I speak to who dismiss Twitter, Blogging and Facebook as things that “teenagers do.” Yes, teenagers do use Facebook and Twitter, but the fastest growing group of social media users are adults in their 40’s. Twitter has only been around for 6 years, but is already used by 200million people and over 1billion “Tweets” are posted each week. Similarly, Facebook is nearly at 1billion users so platforms like these cannot simply be ignored or dismissed.

The big question a business should ask itself is whether its target market are using Twitter etc. If so, and it is very likely that they are, why would you not want to interact with your target market on a free platform?!

Social media doesn’t have any geographic boundaries to it and allows organisations to create trust with their brand. It allows people within an organisation to develop relationships, share knowledge, interact and above all, meet new people.

Even the major brands and companies across the globe use Twitter. If you want to test this, put something negative about BT or Eon on Twitter and watch how quickly someone replies to your comment! Why do they do this? Well, the users of a product or service are who control marketing to a certain extent. Would you base your decision on where to go on holiday on the glossy brochure? Unlikely. More likely is a visit to Trip Advisor to see what other people thought about the hotel or the beach. People trust other people and if you came across a review from someone you know from a social media platform, you are even more likely yo believe them!

A very famous quote from E Qualman, Socialnomics, a while ago was “we dont have a choice of whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”

Social Media and effective SEO

For the first time in ages, I finally took myself out of the office yesterday and attended a workshop in Ilminster entitled “Master class for business: Social Media & Effective SEO.” Despite the weather conditions and the early drive, Bath Marketing Consultancy, along with 139 other people, arrived ready to spend the day soaking up (!) information about SEO and Social Media.

What was my objective for the day?
Networking – to a certain extent, but more importantly, I wanted to further my knowledge in 2 key areas of marketing so that my business can continue to advise and add value to its clients’ marketing activity.
Was this achieved?
Well, in a word, yes. The speakers were all experts in their fields and, although time was limited, they all presented well and were very informative. In particular the workshops delivered by Garry Ennis of NS Design and Jim Hardcastle of Viper Marketing were not only thought provoking but really well delivered.

One of the key areas for me to research was confirming the potential value of the work I do for my clients by hearing the views of other people within the “marketing” industry. Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media are very complex marketing initiatives and are key influencers in raising brand awareness, establishing the credibility and authority of a brand and for developing online relationships. Not only that but, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook really do make a difference to search engine results. Yes, social media is a wide topic and can be daunting to the layman, but, if embraced and planned strategically, it can become a key driver in the area of new client acquisition.

I do recall one question from the audience yesterday which went something along the lines of “when do you know that you have done enough social media.” When answered, I certainly agreed with what was said, namely that you shouldn’t ever really just stop. One of the speakers admitted that direct, paying work as a result of the activity they do on Twitter has only just materialized after nearly 2 years. Is this a good ROI? Well, on paper, probably not. After all a business shouldn’t continue with something like advertising if it takes 2 years to yield, but I feel that direct business shouldn’t necessarily be the only objective of SEO and Social Media. Bath Marketing has made over 1250 connections through Twitter, found new suppliers and (hopefully!) established itself as a key player in what is a very populated field – that of online marketing.

As a result of the work BMC does, if anyone is using Google to source a marketing consultancy, BMC now appears top of the organic positions out of over 8 million search results and top or second for the term marketing consultant out of 114 million. Not bad for a business that is not 3 years old yet!

Bath Marketing would also like to say a special hello to some new Twitter followers. So welcome to you all!

The hardest marketing?

I have been asked this recently, “what is the hardest marketing to use.” When I questioned as to what this particular prospect meant, he elaborated by saying that he meant that he had real trouble in using Social Media and “was it easy?”

I have written a similar post as a result of being asked about the “best marketing platform to use” but, when looking at Social Media, I think using it as part of your marketing strategy is essential. Not necessarily because it is a sure fast track to early retirement. No. It is because, when used properly, it really can allow you to network incredibly effectively without incurring the costs usually associated with networking. Don’t get me wrong, interacting with human beings around a fry up is a great way to meet new people, but platforms like Twitter allow even the shyest person to network.

If there are any problems with Social Media, they are usually down to small businesses jumping straight in with both feet without any real strategy as to their objectives. For example, apart from the networking side of Social Media, what else does it do? Well, for me, it has allowed me to demonstrate my knowledge of the sector I work in, find new associates to work with, make friends and……….really build my brand to a global audience. Not bad for a platform which is pretty much “free” to use!

Another platform which can be hard to justify using is advertising. Again, I have written a post dedicated to what I feel are the best ways to get the best from advertising which will help you, but the key thing is to decided what type of advertising you want to run – brand awareness or direct response. For either campaign type, provide enough information to the customer so that he/she can make a decision rather than trying to be clever with words and pretty pictures.

In sum. When it comes to marketing and what platforms/initiatives work best, it is all about doing what works for your business. Test everything and speak to people rather than just diving in! If need be, give me a shout and we can have a talk.

Social Media for SEO

Social media was not originally a part of SEO, but that is changing. Google is now sending out its bots to crawl for “tweets” and “posts” and also developing other ways to determine whether a site is strong in social media and then using this information as a factor in determining the overall quality of the site.

Just as links are a sign of popularity among websites, social bookmarks are sometimes signs of whether people approve the content or not.

The important factors in considering using social media for SEO is relevance and quality. I feel that the importance of social media is growing and in order to maintain search quality, search engines will need to pay attention to the social side of the Web so having a large social reach will likely reflect positively on SEO results.

If you need help in this area, get in touch with me! Email: paul@bathmarketingconsultancy.co.uk