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?
There are 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.
“Is adding your company to the social web a money making or money spending exercise?”
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 eating all fruits the same way, but chances are it won’t be as good and you might look like a fool eating an unpeeled banana because you’re trying to eat it the same way you eat an apple.
My brother, one of them anyway – there are eight siblings in total, is convinced that he can become a product ambassador if he reaches enough followers on social media. He works in the modelling industry and has a very active YouTube channel. If you consider that what he is trying to achieve has happened to others, as well as my experience in endorsements and corporate brand promoters, I am hopeful for him. However, I know that it is not a walk in the park…or even a stroll up a hill or even a mountain climb up the steepest slopes on 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 was created in 1997. The website allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. It was very simplistic, nothing like Facebook. Then in 1999 the very first blogging website started to become really popular, which created a social media buzz. In my opinion, however, it 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 by way of text, image or video in either static or live streaming methods, which, in one way or another, allows people to share or comment on the content.
Social media for business operates in a similar way. However, depending on the platform there is generally a limited or reduced experience or offering of functions. You could also group business networking websites to this category, which are more focussed…but which, in a broad sense, could still form part of social media.
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 that are interested, the current list, at the time of this article, can be viewed on this page. (LINK)
There is 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|
What is interesting is that the FB has a monopoly of ownership for the most used platforms.
I thought it might be interesting to take a quick look at the landscape of social media accounts in South Africa. In terms of the amount of users and taking into account that we have a population of over 54 million, usage is really very high.
Those with Big Followings:
The biggest twitter accounts in SA are 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 SuperSportTV, SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) with 1 871 364 followers.
It is perhaps of some interest that the top profiles are males, followed by businesses, then followed by females.
On Instagram, which has far less users, there are five that are doing well.
It is interesting that none of the big names have anything to do with business.
In fact, during my research it was hard to find success stories of large companies that have made it big due to social media. Social media, it appears, is generally more helpful for SMMEs.
Now that a broad picture is 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 that social media improves sales for most businesses. I believe it can foremost improve brand awareness for most companies. It costs less than traditional printed media and it is certainly more effective, because it offers shareable information.
That is really the greatest value for a business. Repeat marketing at no extra cost. Considering that a banner poster, around 1.5m x 3m in size, at an international airport in South Africa costs roughly over R250 000 for the space, and that’s before printing costs. Compared to a Facebook post that targets travellers who use airports will cost as little as R25 000 and achieve the same amount of eyes, and at a time in which people are more prepared to hear the message. If they like the message the method of online marketing allowed them to share the information.
Social media for businesses, therefore, has to be shareable, to maximize money and time used as well as be likable by target clients, at the same time.
The hard part is working out who you want to be liked by. As with life, you don’t want to be friends with everyone… some people are just not good for you.
Not to complicate things, but there are two side to every coin. I can also advise if you don’t want to be likable, for whatever reason. Perhaps because it is irrelevant for your product, let’s say, for example, toilet paper. Your social media can rather focus on communication. Social media allows for communication and engagement with the business. Again this is an advantage over traditional marketing. Rather have social media than not, even if its purpose is to speed up customer complaint resolutions.
With that said, in order to get social media to work for your business it is important that you understand its abilities, know its limitations and have a strategy that compliments your target clientele 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. This means, I might want to assign certain tasks to someone who is socially witty and enjoys chatting to other people hour on hour. Don’t be the weakest link in your chain. It’s not only 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 that 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’s interests come before your service or product. Their likes are more important than your wants.
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 ways in which you propose your product or service also need to come across differently than traditional marketing. First and foremost, it has to be entertaining, likable and shareable, and finally offer a solution to their wants and needs.
Business has changed. Previously, your client might have taken a drive to your nearest competitor, now they are simply a scroll away, a click at most. Social media might be more intrusive, more in the face of potential shoppers, but it is also allows them to totally ignore you and move without hesitation. It’s less effort now with more choice of clients. While clients have the power to move on to something new quickly, we have the power to track them, their trends…build a profile and use it to build the perfect marketing. There are ways of tracking what you like, dislike, where you go and 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 can then offer you what you want. The user has no control of this. It is twenty-four hours, ever tracking.
This twenty-four hour social web day creates a new challenge. An average work day is eight hours…not for social media. For social media it is a twenty-four hour a day…constantly working. Remember, putting your business online and allowing people to like you also means you allow 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, it is time for advice and it 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