OK, so you have a good social media marketing plan in place. (If you haven’t, it’s really important so read Part 1 of our social media articles now!)
What’s next? Having a good plan isn’t all you need. You now need to be able to disseminate your marketing message in the most concise, engaging and interesting way possible, so that your followers and friends also become fans!
Here is our guide to using one of the main social media sites: Facebook
(next week we will be posting a guide to Twitter too)
Facebook is a brilliant network which can be used in such diverse ways: you can have very visual updates that show off your products / premises, you can even upload videos and music. But the main feature that makes Facebook so useful is the ease with which you can interact and connect with your customers directly.
By now you should have a social-media marketing strategy, one that encompasses your business’ personality and that of your target market. You should have some idea about your target audience interests and what they might enjoy. So, being mindful of these factors you should find the following tips useful:
1. Facebook adverts are very inexpensive and can be very effective – Facebook enables you to easily choose your target audience by selecting their location, age, gender, even their interests! You only pay Facebook each time somebody clicks on your ad rather than a blanket fee. Therefore think carefully about who your target audience is, what your advert looks like, what it says to your target audience and what it is that will make them click on it. Next you’ve got to make sure that the click was worth it – take your customer somewhere interesting, informative or fun!
2. Posting regularly is important of course, but it’s the quality of the posts and the direct contact with customers that’s more important. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ve just got to keep getting your brand name out there – you’ll soon turn customers off if your status updates are simply bland or repetitive updates of your services. It’s imperative that your posts engage with your target audience – if you can only manage this once a week, well that’s better than boring daily updates on your timeline!
3. Make sure you pay attention to the responses you get on Facebook – it’s very easy to see at a glance the volume of response to different types of campaign. Try a comparison of two very different styles: you’ll soon notice which kind of status updates get the most likes, shares and comments from your customers – then all you have to do is keep coming up with more that strike the same vein! Obviously you should vary your tactics slightly each time, but you’ll soon get a gauge of your customers sense of humour or humanity – whichever side of them you’re trying to target!
4. The best kind of status updates are the kind that ask for a contribution from customers. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the kind of post that requires a response will elicit a response! E.g. Post a photo of your staff doing their thing and invite from your customers: ‘Guess the caption of this photo’! Or you could ask your customers a rhetorical or philosophical question that may be very loosely related to your business. It’s all about creating a warm feeling in your customers – making them fall in love with your brand and your ethos. And don’t forget to respond to their comments!! They’ll come back for more!
5. The main thing you need to know about Facebook is that your customers LOVE to join in and have their say. So use this to your advantage with your marketing strategy: If you’ve got ideas for two different products but you’re not sure which one to go with, then why not capitalise on this opportunity to ask your customers their thoughts?! You could post photos of the products and then get your customers to vote! You could also post a photo of a new product and ask ‘Can you think of a good name for this new product?’. This is an interactive and stealthy way of getting your new product out there, without the hard sell. You never know, you may get some amazing ideas from your customers too – after all, they’re the ones you need to please!
6. Remember to keep thinking about your customers’ needs. You should know what your customers’ problems are if you’ve compiled a good marketing plan – so always be mindful of addressing these. It may be that your fabulous products and services aren’t enough to solve their problems, so make sure you share the love from elsewhere too! Don’t be afraid to share others’ Facebook posts, or links from the internet that will resonate with your customers. You won’t drive customers away from you if you do this properly (e.g. obviously don’t share posts from a direct competitor, but do share things that will interest your target market). For example, you run a cake making and decorating shop and you’ve gathered some lovely local Facebook friends. Why not share a post about a local charity event or cake sale? Why not post simple recipe ideas that a mum and her child can do together – you can always hint that you sell sparkly icing in your shop to help them with this! Post a link to a favourite video demonstration on YouTube about how to create the perfect scones. Share a link to a bridal magazine that has a large feature on themed wedding cakes etc. This way you are helping your customers for free and they will love you for it!
7. Once upon a time, your customers would never have known anything about you personally, but in the light of social media it’s no longer considered such a bad thing to open up. If you want to share something with your customers then that’s OK – after all you want to make them care a little more about you! You may want to mention something funny that your young child said, or some comical holiday disaster, or an incident with your family pet – especially if you can make the story resonate with your target audience, but remember not to get too personal. Definitely don’t mention: your health, your wealth, or your sex-life!
8. Always be courteous, polite and beyond reproach in your public posts. Don’t bad-mouth customers, clients, competitors or anybody else for that matter! Remember that your posts are public to more than just your customers! There have been many cases where social media marketing mistakes have become scandals and have gone viral very quickly – trust me, not all publicity is good publicity!
Have you read….?