Which, What and How or Social Media for Business

I recently posted an article regarding the finer points of using Twitter. In the past I have written on how to get leads from Facebook and how to generate B2B sales from LinkedIn. But until now I have only posted on how to use Twitter and not why…

At CR4L we have a variety of clients with a range of businesses. Our specialty is building social media marketing plans. And there are a few things that seem to crop up time and again and I wanted to share them with you. Hopefully so that you can get more from your social media efforts.

The main questions I get seem to be:

  1. Which sites are for what?
  2. What should I do?
  3. How do I get business?

Which sites are for what?

Well we would mostly in the UK so I will speak to that audience and to be honest Pinterest and Google+ have yet to really catch on here. They are lovely and shiny and Google+ has many “users” but how many are really engaged with it?

It’s new and it has some great features like hangouts. But people are happy enough with Facebook and most will stay there. And that is why 90% of the time I recommend that businesses do the same.

In broad terms for the social media newbie I recommend Facebook.

  • It has the biggest audience
  • It has great targeting tools
  • Multiple ways to promote and advertise
  • Lots of add-ons from third parties
  • Most audiences are well represented there

Twitter is a great platform for certain types of business but in the main I recommend twitter as a customer service channel. Get your clients to communicate with you there for quick responses and problem solving. This is a great and affordable way to offer fantastic service and stay ahead of your competitors.

A word of warning though: you have to commit. Don’t start a twitter channel and then neglect it. Especially for customer service. Have a plan, make sure that your account is checked at least every 6 or 12 hours; preferably more. And always have someone on watch over the weekends. There are many horror stories of companies posting an update or advert on a Friday and then not looking again until the following Monday; by which time something has gone wrong and people are up in arms: as me for details if you want to hear some tragic tales.

Spreading your message and client acquisition is probably not going to happen on Twitter for 90% of businesses. So where do you go? Go where your clients/prospects are. Simple as that. Most of the time in the UK that means Facebook. But check and if you are not sure just as CR4L.

If you are in B2B then LinkedIn is probably the place to be and I already wrote an article on making that work so check it out here.

What should I do?

Getting social media to work is not that hard if you follow some basic rules of engagement. And they are about engagement. Talk to your customers/prospects (lets call them your audience) about things that matter to them and stuff that they can get involved in.

You should be talking about your business and offers less than 25% of the time. Mostly you want to give helpful information, start conversations, react to comments and news and generally be helpful.

It’s all about establishing your business as a market leader and being helpful to people. You want people to share and spread the word. At CR4L we give training on how to use social media sites. The nuts and bolts and systems, but also the way to engage with people.

That is the key to success. Too many times companies post on their page all about them and how great they are. Well pretty soon people will tune out and not come back. They certainly will not spread the word for you.

Here is an example of how to get creative and engage with people: We recently took on a dentist as a client in London. There are many dentists in London and it’s hard to stand out. In addition what do you talk about to engage with people on your Facebook page?

First we looked at the area and decided to talk a lot about what was happening in the few streets around our client. We engaged with local delis and shops, restaurants and cafes and offices. We post any offers that we see and sales that are on. This is engaging and people want to share this type of content.

Next we have Friday chat: asking what people are up to at the weekend. Starting conversations and giving ideas that might be useful. We also have Make Me Smile Monday – fun stuff to take the sting out of being back at work. Then we add in a little bit about teeth health and what our client does. Last and least but still present and effective.

That example should show how to take the most boring and disliked of services and make it more engaging and interesting. The objective is not to sell but for people to share. If my client likes my Facebook page then their friends see our posts.

How do I get business?

On average people have 130 Facebook friends. If I get 100 clients to like a page then our message goes out to 13,000. If the content is engaging then some of them will like the page and we spread our message further.

But a like is not cash in the bank. It is actually a long way away from that and the question is how do you convert likes to sales? The answer is “slowly”. This is not an overnight fix and it does not work like outbound marketing. This is often a problem for clients who are used to placing an advert in a news paper and the phone ringing.

The objective is to engage and spread the word. Then if the need arises for one of our followers we are first in mind as a value provider and someone to be trusted. Additionally if one of our followers friends is looking for a product or service like ours they will be reassured that their friend is following us.

Around 90% of people rely on recommendation when making a purchase. The new word of mouth is online and peer to peer marketing is essential as a long term marketing plan.

Below is an infographic with some examples of successful campaigns. The best thing is you don’t need a lot of money to make this work. You can do it yourself. You can get a professional company like CR4L to do it for you. Or you can do what most of our clients do and work together with us.

This last approach is the best as it is personal and come from your business. It is not run by a third party that post nonsense on your behalf. While at the same time it is targeted and professionally organised.

For more information and a free marketing analysis just click the banner and submit your company details. Social media marketing works and is the best long term marketing strategy for over 90% of businesses.

Ever wondered how to make social media actually generate income for your business? Try this article for some straightforward advice and help on the best ways to generate sales and income…



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