Published August 2017
What are the top tips I can offer to improve your social media accounts for business?.
Can you become an Instagram celebrity?.
Can your company benefit from social media?.
So many question related to this relatively new form of marketing, but for me there really is only one good question when dealing with a client’s social media: “will adding your company to the social web be a money making exercise, or money spending ….
There is nothing ‘social’ about Social Media Marketing. Let me explain with fruit. How you eat an apple is not the same way you eat a banana. Sure you can try eat all fruit all the same way, but the chances are it won’t be as good and you might end up looking like a fool eating a banana before you have peeled it because you trying to eat it the same way as an apple. .
My brother (one of them anyway.. there are 8 siblings in total) is convinced that he can become a product or brand ambassador if he reaches enough followers on social media. He is in the modelling industry and also has a very active YouTube channel. Considering what he is trying to achieve has happened for others, as well as my experience in endorsements and corporate brand promoters, I am hopeful for him, but I know that it is not a walk in a park… or even a stroll up a hill, not even a mountain climb up the steepest slopes of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. .
The amount of people on the social web that make it big, compared to those who try and don’t, are such a small percentage, it has to be similar odds to winning the lottery, which if you want to know is 1 in 13,983,816 or 1 shot in almost 14 million.
The first recognizable social media website was Six Degrees and created in 1997. 20 years ago. The website allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. Very simplistic, nothing like Facebook. Then, in 1999, the very first blogging website started to become really popular, creating a social media buzz, which in my opinion has taken a backseat to online sharing platforms like Facebook.
Social media, by my definition is a platform that uses the internet to post information about oneself either through text, image or video, either static or live /streaming information, and in some way or another allows people to share or offer comment.
Social media for business operates in a similar way, however, and depending on the platform, there is in general a limited or reduced experience or offering of functions. You could also group business networking website to this category, which are more focused… but in a broad sense could still form part of social media.
So, there are many platforms out there, but we can still broadly divide the social media platforms into websites and Apps. Yes, some have both. For those of you interested, the current list (at time of this article being written) of platforms, and bearing in mind how fast things change, can be viewed on this page: (LINK)
There is a greater usage and attention on the individual user platforms than business or work based platforms.
Currently the top social media Apps are:
Most popular social media websites:, you can click on the links to be directed to their platforms online.
|Vine (In January 2017, The Vine became the Vine Camera)||200,000,000|
World wide representation:
What is interesting is the FB has a monopoly of ownership for the most used platforms.
I thought it might be interesting to see take a quick look at the landscape of social media accounts in South Africa in terms of the amount of users, and bearing in mind we have a population of over 54 million, usage is really very high:
Those with Big Followings:
The biggest twitter accounts in SA is Elonmusk, Elon Musk (@elonmusk) with 10 651 118 followers. Followed by Trevornoah, Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) 7 110 097 followers. All the top positions are individuals. The largest business profiles are News24, News24 (@News24) with 2 299 543 followers, and the SuperSportTV, SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) with 1 871 364
It is perhaps of some interest that the top profiles are males, followed by business, then followed by females.
For Instagram, which remember has far less users there are 5 that are doing well.
It is interesting that none of the big names have anything to do with business.
If fact, researching, it is hard to find many success stories for large companies who have made it big because of social media. Social media appears in general, more helpful for SMMEs.
Now that a board picture has been painted of our local social media landscape, what advice can I give a business wanting to use social media to improve sales?
First of all, I do not believe social media improves sales for most business. I believe it can foremost improve brand awareness for most companies, that it cost less than traditional printed media, and it is certainly more effective because it offer shareable information.
Really, that is the greatest value for a business: repeat marketing, at no extra cost. Consider, a banner poster, size of around 1.5m x 3m, at an international airport in South Africa costs around R250 000 + for the space, and before printing cost. Compared to a Facebook post, targeting travellers who use airports will cost as little as R25 000.00 and achieve the same amount of eyes seen, at a time people might be more prepared to hear the message, and if they like the message, allow them to share the information.
Social media for business therefore needs to be shareable to maximize of money and time used, at the same time likable by target clients.
The hard part is working out who you want to be liked by. As in life, you don’t want to be friends with everyone… some people are just no good for you.
Not to complicate things, but there are two sides to every coin, and I can also advise if you don’t want to be likable, for whatever reason, perhaps because it is irrelevant actually for your product, let’s say for example toilet paper… your social media can rather focus on communication, perhaps for client complaints. Social media allows for communication and engagement with a business. This is again an advantage over traditional marketing. Rather have social media, than not, even if its purpose is to help speed up complaint resolution.
With that said, in order to get social media to work for your business, you need to understand its abilities, know its limitations, and you need to have a strategy that complements your target clients… while boosting your brand, product or service almost simultaneously.
You have to be both social and clever. This is not something everyone can be… I know I can’t be. This means, I might want to assign certain tasks to someone who is socially witty and enjoys chatting with other people hour on hour. Don’t be the weakest link in your chain.. it’s only not to be a social butterfly, rather find someone who is happy to be paid to do this and is happy to learn your product or service. Accept, old style marketing methods, companies and personal, just don’t know what they are doing. Remember, how you eat an apple, is not the same way you eat a banana.
Whoever runs your social media, has to ensure your target audience interest comes before your services or products… their likes are more important than your wants.
However, their likes are your foot in the door.
Once they are in your shop, you can get them to look at what you have on offer … not before.
The way you propose your product or service also needs to come across differently to traditional marketing. It needs to foremost be entertaining, likeable, shareable, and then finally offer a solution to their wants or needs.
Business has changed. When it might have meant your client would need to take a drive to your nearest competitor, now they are simply a scroll away, and a click at the most. Social media might be intrusive, more in the face of potential shoppers, but it also allows them to totally ignore you and move on without hesitation. It’s less effort now, with more choice for clients. While clients have the power to move on quickly to something new, we have the power now to track them, their trends… build a profile, and use this to build the perfect marketing. There are ways of tracking what you like, dislike, where you go, who you spend time with. There is, as you read this article, a digital profile of you, on many social media sites and company databases… Social media has to learn who you are, and then offer you want you want… and the user has no control of this. Its 24 hours … ever tracking.
This 24 hour social web day, creates a new challenge. An average work day is 8 hours… not for social media, its 24 hours a day. Constant work… and remember, putting your business online, and allowing people to like you, also allows them to dislike you… so while you might be prepared to only answer a sales order the next morning, you might not be so happy to leave a negative post up all night.
With all the above said and done, time for the advice, which comes with the following disclaimers:
Assessments and tweaking.
first to know about promotions, or
first to know about updates on options,
first to know about awards or gifts.
No one wants to hear only about you. 5 posts about their likes, (based on client profile)
2 posts about what you like, (based on client profile)
1 promotional post.
“The sun is shining bright today”
“Man it so bright out here I have to wear sunglasses”
“Put on sunscreen today everyone”
Published August 2017