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Social Media - Money maker or money spender - Some tips(August 2017)

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:

  • WhatsApp: the most popular way to talk with people around the world. I believe this App will be able to compete with Facebook if somehow it designs and rolls out a platform integrated with its current user base that allows for sharing of profiles and creates a website platform simpler and more trendy to use than Facebook.
  • WeChat, biggest usage in China. I’ve never used it. I knows it a Biggy with Gareth.
  • Snapchat, who some people believe is the future, but I don’t believe it will be.
  • Twitter is not really doing very well for individuals but still in my opinion excellent for news.
  • Vine, social platform for entertainment really.
  • Kik makes messaging easy and (potentially) anonymous.
  • Facebook is the most popular App of all time. Depending on how you define popular.
  • Tumblr is social blogging. Came before Instagram, and appears to be used for less controlled and sometimes even less tasteful media.
  • Instagram, doing great for both personal and business brands. A more edited and neater version of Tumblr, but with less function.

Visual overview:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Some stats:

Most popular social media websites:, you can click on the links to be directed to their platforms online.

Monthly visitors
Facebook 2,000,000,000
YouTube 1,000,000,000
Instagram 700,000,000
Twitter 313,000,000
Reddit 250,000,000
Vine (In January 2017, The Vine became the Vine Camera) 200,000,000
Pinterest 150,000,000
Ask.fm 160,000,000
Tumblr 115,000,000
Flickr 112,000,000
Google+ 111,000,000
LinkedIn 106,000,000
VK 90,000,000
ClassMates 57,000,000
Meetup 30,300,000

 

Visual representation:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

World wide representation:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

What is interesting is the FB has a monopoly of ownership for the most used platforms.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

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:

  • 13 million Facebook users,
  • 8.28 million YouTube users – this I found interesting.
  • 7.4 million Twitter users.
  • 2.68 million Instagram users, I really expected this to be closer if not believed to be higher than twitter. I hear so many people say Twitter is dead … apparently not.

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.

  1. @theworldsyoungestman – images of Cape Town
  2. @Bonang_M - Female TV celeb
  3. @drizzleanddip - lifestyle
  4. @rowaneva - also lifestyle
  5. @ben_kaufman - photographer a lot of attention on Cape Town.

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:

  • I have written here is not about getting thousands of followers, it is about getting as many potential clients as possible.
  • I believe rather have less traffic with greater interest in your service or product, than higher traffic who don’t give a damn about your offering. It is not going to serve your business at all. (unless you are a model, and the goal is simply to have lots of fans, their common like being you)
  • Unfortunately there is no magic formula for how to get social media followers. I know there are services out there that will artificially boost your follower numbers and perhaps there are some dodgy shortcuts which are now just the norm, but what’s the point?

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

My tips:

  1. Profiling.

    This is the most important step for a business. It will maximise your investment of time and money, increase chances of engagement with those who are likely to become clients.

    Research, create a profile of who you want to attract. Who actually wants your product or service.

    Ages, languages, likes, dislikes, locations. Let this information influence all your posts and branding.
  2. Purpose.

    Be very clear to yourself on the purpose for your social media. Keep true to this purpose.
  3. Planning.

    Don’t skip steps:

    Research,
    Create strategy,
    Set up,
    Roll out,
    Reasonable targets,
    Assessments and tweaking.

  4. Use your accounts foremost to offer first time viewers the opportunity to offer feedback, to communicate their experiences … everyone loves sharing their opinion.
  5. Extend your social media reasoning to offer value added return:

    first to know about promotions, or
    first to know about updates on options,
    first to know about awards or gifts.

  6. Depending on the type of service or product, you can also let followers know they will also be the first to know on problems for service.

    I know this might sound odd, but rather a client be notified of issues by you first, rather than have to investigate and report issues. Truth is, no logical person really believes a service is without risk.

    If you can advise a client of a problem in advance, a lot of damage can be reduced.
  7. Always follow through.

    This means when there is a published offering, and a follower responds like or engages, make sure you reply. If you don’t, it can be social media suicide and the death of a follower.
  8. Remember, followers start to like you for a reason.

    This reason is often once off.

    Only 50% of your work is done. You need to continue to add value to keep them as a follower…

    This requires a plan, work, and some brains. So many people work hard to get followers…

    You need to almost spend 75% of your time servicing your current followers, and 25% of your time gaining new ones.
  9. Ask yourself before you click post or publish:

    “would this help my profiled client?”

    “would this entertain or invoke an emotion in my profiled client?”

    “is this relevant to my brand or product - complementary”

    “is the information current and trending”

    – if you can answer yes to all 4, you going to get a good result in the long run
  10. Do not to spam your followers.

    1-2 posts a day… MAX
    This is a good general rule across all platforms.
  11. If you are taking over an old account, try remove bad posts, or post that suggest repetition.

    A lot of people view your social media history over a few weeks before they follow. Make sure it shows an original story or variety.
  12. Delete negative posts from users that you cannot constructively respond to. Keep a few.

    Delete the rest.
    Writing this suggestion makes me feel like I am censoring media – but you need to paint the very best picture you can. Keep a few negative posts, which you have constructively responded to. Anyone abusive, or comment without supportive fact, remove.
  13. Start with viewing your online competitors. If you can, with a private account.
    See who their followers are, see what they like, where they go. Use this data to expand your target follower’s profile.
  14. Balance act.

    Try and balance your posts.

    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.

  15. Time and location.

    Target locations where your profiled follower prefers. This means not only phyical locations, but also devises, and also the types of social media platforms.

    What time is best to post? See when your followers are most active. Again, this comes from creating a profile from your target clients. If you sell sleeping tablets … don’t do a post in the afternoon. Try late evening, early morning, when you know your insomnia client is wide awake on Facebook because they can’t sleep.
  16. If you can, don’t tell your story all at once, always tease. Offer pieces of cake. Then make them get a little hungry. Sort of like when a waiter walks past your table at a restaurant with someone elses food. Let them see the food, but don’t always put it on the table.
  17. Our brains process images faster than text. Apparently.

    So, always try add a visual. It is fact, images are shared on social media more than text.

    Here is an excellent guide in creating visuals and posts: https://coschedule.com/blog/non-designers-blog-graphics-guide/
  18. Create simple post structure in your text and images.

    It takes 2.5 seconds to view one post on average. How is your post going to stand out of the 1500 posts they might see on that day? How…. Relevance, and evoking an emotion. Be original .. this can sometimes be difficult, for example:

    “The sun is shining bright today”
    “Man it so bright out here I have to wear sunglasses”
    “Put on sunscreen today everyone”

    All three of the above suggest it is probably not a rainy day…

    Some of the lines are more entertaining or original in the way they suggest this information.
  19. Use promotions to boost engagement. Obviously.
  20. Post about trending events or news.

    But,
    Write the news in your own message.

    If you can piggy back the trend. Do so.

    But
    Do not surf a wave, when you really should not be surfing. If your service has nothing at all to do with the topic, wait for the next wave.
  21. Ask for a response.

    A call to action is so important.

    Might sound simple, but so few people do it.
    Normally asking for an opinion gets the most responses.
  22. Tag, tag and tag.

    Tag relevant interests to your profiled followers. This will increase followings a lot more than tagging trends only, and the follower is more likely to stay with you longer.
  23. Some tricks to get more follows are to participate in popular conversations, or hang out is digital spaces your competitors are.

    Liking other peoples posts, and leaving comments – sure win.
  24. Work on ways to get your account easily discoverable and make sure your bio / profile is excellent.
  25. When you do paid advertising, focus only on your profile client.
  26. Save time.

    Don’t reinvent the wheel.

    Check what competitors are doing, and improve on that.

    Synchronize accounts to save time. Use technology.
  27. Video up.

    This is going to be SO important. No videos…. Less traffic.

    Fact.

    Edit videos easily using:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/13785/essentials-2012-release-notes
    https://www.apple.com/imovie/
    https://www.telestream.net/screenflow/overview.htm
  28. Remember free momentum.

    Platforms can punt your posts for free.

    16 million businesses are using Facebook marketing.
    Social media is going to grow. Family and friends get priority with natural rankings. Facebook ranks content in terms of priority of the below points, and most other platforms will also add priority.

    • Who posted it
    • How people engaged with it
    • Nature of post
    • When was it posted.

    Remember:
    Bounce rate and relevance is also important.
    Live posts are also given priority at immediate time.
    Reach drops if u post most than 3 times in 24 hours

Published August 2017

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