Getting started in social media
Social media can be a valuable marketing tool, but it can be daunting to get started. We wanted to help you by answering some common questions.
What exactly is social media?
Social media is a term given to websites that enable and promote communication between large groups of people. This includes social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube, amongst others.
Social media is a modern marketing approach – an inexpensive way to reach a large audience over the internet. You can target your ideal audience, and then build relationships through social networks and your website by interacting directly with them.
Social networks can be used as a lead generation tool. This is typically done by linking to relevant content on your website, e.g. a news article, discussion forum or blog post. From there you can use a call to action to encourage them to sign up for a newsletter, so you can contact them regularly, or directly purchase a product or service you provide.
As well as providing content, social networks are a great place to listen. By monitoring keywords within your industry, you can identify key influencers and people who are having problems. If you respond to their problem with a solution, they could end up becoming a customer of yours. You should also monitor your company’s name to see what others are saying about you or your products.
Is social media for everyone?
The short answer is no, social media is not right for all businesses. You will need to consider your marketing strategies and identify where your target audience is – if they don’t use social networks you won’t reach anyone by having a presence on those networks.
Why do some companies put off adopting social media?
Social media is often seen as a place where people post “I’m having a cup of tea” updates, so some businesses can’t see how social media can work for them. That may have been true when Facebook and Twitter first started, but they have moved on since then. More and more companies are using social media because you can create massive engagement by posting updates that talk to their audience, not just about themselves. As your audience interacts with you, they become more trusting of you, your brand appears more human, and they become more likely to purchase a product or service from you.
Another common issue is the fear of people posting a negative comment about your company. This is always a possibility however, and by being on the social network you can respond quickly to those comments. For example, you can reply to their negative post saying “We’re sorry you’re having problems, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to help”, or you can answer the complaint publicly so other people can see the solution too. This boosts the confidence of the person complaining about your product or service because you have listened to them. It also shows everyone else that you support your customers.
How much will it cost?
At a minimum, social media marketing will cost you some of your time. If you employ a marketing team, that time is already factored into your expenses, however if you are a smaller team or individual and don’t have a marketing team you will need to identify how much your time is worth.
Typically, you would spend about 30 minutes to an hour each day on social media; however this can be split up throughout the day, and can easily fit within gaps in meetings, or gaps in your everyday work load. The content creation part is a little longer – this can take between 1 – 3 hours per article, depending on how quick you are at generating the content and how much research is required. You would normally look at creating one article each week.
As always, there is additional time required when you are first setting up your social media, due to the learning curve. However, with some guidance and a suitable plan in place this time can be reduced.
How do you measure the return of investment (ROI)?
There are tools available that can be used to monitor your social media. For example, HootSuite is a system that allows you to monitor all of your social networks. It can also be integrated with Google Analytics, which allows you to identify how many leads are coming from each social network to your website. Sprout Social is another example – it has a higher price, but it provides more data than HootSuite.
In terms of the traditional sales funnel, you can track people at every step of the process. You can identify how many people entered the top of the funnel via your social media accounts, down to how many of those users completed a goal (e.g. completed a signup form on your website or purchased a product).
How can Alberon help?
Alberon can help you with every step of social media, whether you are already set up and would like to know some new strategies, or are completely new to it.
Here are some of the ways we can help:
- Initial set up and optimisation of the various social networks
- Website changes including building a section for your new content and social features
- Any design work that is required – e.g. Facebook pages, Twitter backgrounds
- Training on everything from how to use the social networks, to how to create content on your website
Finally we can assist in creating your social media plan to compliment your existing marketing strategy. This typically involves helping you to identify:
- Your goals and objectives for using social media
- The target audience that you want to reach
- Who in your company will work on your social media (it doesn’t have to be just one person!)
- What times of the day you should post
- The types of content to post and when you should post it