I was honoured to be invited back to the NEC’s Spring Fair for the Meet The Experts sessions. Over the five days of the show, I saw lots of businesses who were looking for help with their social media marketing. Here is a round-up of the most frequently asked questions:
When businesses first start out on social media it can be very tempting to open up an account on every available platform but this plan is flawed from the start. If the account is free, why not open one on all of them? In reality, you should select your social media platforms carefully. Research them first to make sure that they are where your audience are and that when they are using it they are in the right mindset to be a potential customer. If your audience are on LinkedIn why would you want to spend (or waste) your time on Facebook? Equally, if you attempt every platform all at the same time you are unlikely to do any of them well. Choose the one which is most popular with your audience, really work it and devote time to it rather than scatter your time across many platforms.
When Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s “major change” on the 12th January it created quite a lot of uncertainty for businesses. His post was very specific that it would affect “some measures of engagement” and that users would see less from businesses and brands. The changes are being rolled out now but until they are complete it is unlikely that anyone can predict the outcome. It isn’t necessarily all doom and gloom though. Any public content should still “encourage meaningful interactions” or engagement and if your customers engage with you more people are still more likely to see it. And if you haven’t got one already, consider setting up a customer group that is linked to your page. When talking about the changes to a user’s newsfeed Mark Zuckerberg’s post says “you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups” so a customer group could help you to still connect with your audience. Even if you don’t have huge numbers join, the majority of those who do should be engaged and relevant.
With ‘social selling’ businesses focus on the selling part, rather than the social part, and this is where it can go wrong. If a customer came into your store you wouldn’t walk up to them with a product and tell them how great it is and that they have to buy it so why do that on social media? In real life, you would talk to them, ask them questions, look at their behaviour to determine if they are ready to buy or just looking and then you would consider which product was best for them. Selling on social media should have a similar approach. Use it as a tool to establish your expertise, to talk to and engage with your customers, and to answer their questions and queries. If you only shout about your products your followers will soon tire of you and will be less likely to engage. Get to know your audience and your customers and they are much more likely to come back to you when they want to buy.
By far the greatest advantage of digital marketing over traditional marketing is the tools available to measure your progress. Use the analytics and insights available on each platform to monitor your activity and see what and what isn’t working for you. Google Analytics will also help you to monitor the traffic and sales that you are driving from your social media activity. Use trackable links as well so that you can be very specific about where the traffic and sales are coming from.
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