The past 5-10 years have been unrivalled in their pace of change. We have lived through economic, political and geographical mega-shifts and this has been mirrored in the most recognisable and permeating feature of the last decade: the rise of Social Media. From the evolution of social media as a fun, online community based expression of youth culture it has moved into the premier communication, business and educational channel for the world en mass. Not even governments and regimes have been able to quell our appetite.

With this meteoric rise businesses have often been slow to adapt and leverage the powers social has to offer.  Whereas once social media was banned at work it has now become one of the most important channels for engaging with customers. Whereas once people questioned the monetisation model, businesses will spend north of $5bn on social media advertising alone.

The message we want to get across is the world is changing at an alarming rate, social media has the power to help even the smallest or most traditional business compete in the modern era but you have to be willing to enter the conversation. How many of these activities do you use social media to do?

  • Monitor trends, your market, your competitors and your brand sentiment
  • Listen, identify and engage with most influential customers
  • Market, sell and service your customers with social channels
  • Use the power of the crowd to test your ideas and shape your product development
  • Recruit the best talent from around the world
  • Directly engage with your target audience without spending £’000’s

If the answer is some or none then don’t worry, if anything that means there is so much you can still do J. What’s more this list is just the tip of the iceberg. We will explore what this means for your business in the next email.

We want to keep our marketing as simple, cost-effective and automated as possible. We want to get people to engage with us and endorse our services….we want to generate reliable leads that turn into predictable income and we want keep our existing customers happy whilst reaching and nurturing new ones and the list goes on! It can be overwhelming and confusing, and you’re probably thinking where on earth do I begin?

What does this mean for your business?

In other words, how can you make social media work for you. We have decided to base them around a couple of core problems we here businesses like yours talking about all the time

Financially we are struggling, we are looking for ways to cut costs not increase them

Customers don’t know who we are and we can’t create any sustainable buzz or PR around our brand

It’s a familiar story with businesses across the world. However, far from being a cost on the balance sheet social media should and will become an asset. Here are 3 quick ways in which it can save you money

  1. Drastically reduce overall sales, marketing and service costs by employing cheaper and more effective social media channels to engage and service your customers
  2. Use social media to understand who your customers are and what they want, then create targeted campaigns and products to serve them and create “brand advocates” who will help with the PR and buzz 😉
  3. Knowledge and access to markets – stop spending money on expensive consultants, agencies and research companies. Everything you need is already out there and you have a direct line to it 24/7, use it!

Social media, if used correctly will allow you to develop deeper relationships with your existing customers. It will allow you to segment and target your marketing efforts based on specific customer needs and how influential they are. By being more targeted and more relevant you can be sure to provide an incredible customer experience without breaking the bank, and ultimately this will not only save you money but create the buzz you need to grow your brand.

3 simple things you can do today to improve your social media strategy

No time like the present to implement some changes to help with your business! We discussed a couple of ways social media can help businesses with their current problems and I hope it sparked some ideas and goals with you.

In this email we are going to look at a few super simple things you can do today, (yes…I know you’re busy…but it won’t take long) to help you set your business up to take advantage of social media.

Step 1

The power of social lies in the ability for you to listen, communicate and collaborate with current and potential customers. However, to do this in an authentic and effective manner you have to first

-Define your target customer (spend time on this, it will help you to get in their shoes and better serve them)

-Understand what your customers (current and potential) are saying about you and your market

-Understand where these customers are active and how they want to engage e.g. Twitter, forums, blogs

Step 2

Free content is king. Consumers are wiley old foxes these days. You have to demonstrate you can help them and build a relationship with them slowly based on a value exchange, this ultimately leads to lasting relationships

-Once you understand who your customers are create a presence or become visble where they are most active (e.g. start to contribute to a blog, group, page they are likley to visit)

-Give something of value, you’ll get back what you put in. This could be anything from a funny blog, to an interesting link, a white paper or even a promotion . Create content that solves problems and has appeal

Step 3

Now that you have started to engage and build relationships with the right people you need to take advantage of the love these customers are giving you.

– Make sure you’re business is set up to benefit from customer feedback and referrals. Do you have social share buttons? Do you have social profiles on multiple sites? Are you asking for feedback and sharing these testimonials on your website? Make sure your business is as easy to promote and share as possible. Let the viral buzz begin J