In this blog series we’ll look at what are GENERALLY the 3 big hitters. Mashable published a great article with this quote – ‘Not every business needs a presence on every social platform. Certain businesses will flourish on visually rich sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, while others may have more success with Twitter’s 140-character format (though it’s important to note that visuals generally perform better than text-only posts, regardless of the platform on which they’re posted).’ I couldn’t have put it better myself, so I didn’t!
For example, a bakery, fashion or travel company might benefit more from having a highly visual Pinterest account than a company that sells alarm systems just as a legal firm might benefit more from a LinkedIn account than a local pet store (that’s not to say it wouldn’t work – just bear in mind some networks are more suitable than others). So let’s quickly summarise the big 3:
Facebook – ‘The Daddy’ – over a billion active users, sharing, liking, commenting, conversing, posting, opining, bragging, trolling, extolling, complaining, grouping, picture-taking, inane-statusing – it does pretty much everything
Twitter – Limited to 140 characters, it’s a giant newsfeed of what’s happening, instantaneously, everywhere – it’s the pulse, the zeitgeist.
LinkedIn – The professional social network – dealing with professional profiles, industry news, companies, industry groups etc. I would argue that this is more useful in a B2B setting.
For more information, have a look at this infographic I posted in our last blog entry.
A good first step in any social media campaign is just taking a little time to familiarise yourself with the various platforms. That way you can make an informed decision as to what your business needs. After that, we follow basic marketing principles before delving a little deeper into the world of social media:
What’s the problem? Is social media part of the solution? – PROBLEM RECOGNITION
Who are your target market? Where are they? How do you reach them? – TARGETING
What problem do they have that your company looks to solve? What is your purpose? – POSITIONING
Once we understand these things, we can begin to look at the social media strategy a little more in depth. Let’s look at an example I’ve personally experienced – an independent clothing brand. We aren’t going to be looking at a Soaring Worldwide client for privacy and competitive reasons.
We wanted to build a community around the brand that would advocate and generate WOM to drive more sales. There was minimal marketing budget so social media was a good option. The target market was seen as Males aged 16-24 with interests in fashion, extreme sports (snow, ski, surf), music, festivals, design etc and they have a reasonable amount of disposable income– there’s our (as it happened, considerable) niche. (Remember, this guide is for beginners – there are many more things we could find out about our market using tools such as Followerwonk, Topsy, Buzzsumo, Buzzstream etc etc)
The first thing to do is set up your accounts:
You need attractive pictures to populate your pages
Good copy that explains what you do
Your profile names and URLs should be close to (or exactly match) your businesses name.
You need to consider your ‘brand personality’ – social media is just that – ‘social’. Imagine a group of people in a social situation; pretend they’re companies like Coca Cola, IBM, Google, Disney or Wal-Mart. What kind of people are they? This is ‘brand personification’ – consumers now want to interact with companies as if they are people, you need to understand what kind of personality you want your brand to be (have a look at Tesco Mobile on Twitter- this is a great brand personality – irreverent, funny and cheeky but helpful. Soaring WW put together an analysis of their Valentine’s Day multi-brand conversation – http://ow.ly/usAbx)
Once you’ve set up your accounts there are a few things to put in place:
Link your accounts so that your updates in one account go out on the others – you can do this from management tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer but for your purposes it’ll be in the ‘Settings’ section of each social media tool
Add links to your accounts from your website, your email signature and your business cards. Any suitable touchpoint really – anywhere your consumers currently go, make sure your social profiles are visible.
INVITE ALL YOUR CONTACTS – Databases, email lists, personal contacts etc – I can’t stress this enough, though they might not exactly be the high quality customer you’re looking for, you never know how many people they know that ARE the exact person you’re looking for. (An important thing to remember here is that it’s not necessarily about ‘Likes’ or ‘Followers’, what you want is engagement – this is what is ultimately getting people involved in your brand and affecting their interest and ‘Evaluation of Alternatives’. Chances are that your friends like you so they’re more likely to share anything you post to your social media – this will increase your reach and potentially peak someone’ interest.
The thing to remember here is that social media doesn’t exist as a silo. It should compliment and integrate seamlessly with all your marketing communications.
In our next post, we’ll go into engagement, posting and communities.
For the sake of anonymity and respect to our client’ and indeed our own competitive strategy, examples used in this series don’t come from Soaring Worldwide’s clients