Curious Elf has written a series of blogs about social media and why you should get on board with the idea of using platforms to promote your business and your brand.
In our blog 'Why is social media good for small business', Curious Elf provides an overview of the social media platforms, provides some usual statistics and demonstrates how the likes of Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn can be used to extol the benefits of your organisation.
How do you build that knowledge into a marketing plan? Well Curious Elf then offers some guidance to get you started.
Our next blog offers more detail so you can decide which platform is right for your audience. Not every business works on every platform so 'Understanding your target audience and how they use social media' will inform your decisions.
For this blog, our final blog of the series we enlist the brain power of our mastermind behind The Digital Doctor - Sarah Pooley. She's been pestered by Curious Elf to provide her opinion on social media and why her clients should be treating these platforms as business opportunities...
I know I need to do some marketing but is social media the way to do it?
100% - don’t think of social media as separate from your marketing activity but an intrinsic part of it. Many businesses silo their social platforms but they’re really shouldn’t. Social media is simply another channel of contact and helps you communicate directly with your customers.
Why do I need a business presence on social media platforms? I’ve already got my own individual profile - why do I need one for my business?
Having a business profile is key to a successful marketing strategy. It enables you to improve brand awareness and helps boost leads and sales by instigating traffic to your website. Its immediacy is a huge plus and means you can reach your customers within seconds. Don’t underestimate its cost-effectiveness either compared with the investment required to attend a trade show for example.
Do I need to have a presence on all of them or would you recommend a focus on just a couple?
I always quote a Squared Online tutor who advised those of us on the course to ask the following question, ‘Is there a there, there?’. There really is no point posting your product or service on Facebook if the majority of your target audience is senior managers/decision makers. You’re far better off spending the time building a presence on LinkedIn and reaching out to a wider network on that platform.
And in addition, it’s better to concentrate on 2 platforms and use them to their full potential than dilute your presence across a whole plethora of social media platforms. Not only is it labour intensive, the likelihood of you optimising your return on investment is low.
Which platforms are more appropriate for my business - does it matter what I’m selling?
Think carefully about your buyer persona. Do some research - what’s their demographic, interests etc. Do you know their likely professional position, role and duties/responsibilities. This will dictate which platform(s) you concentrate on and ensure that you provide the relevant type of content that will resonate with them. Remember that you’re responding to a potential customer’s specific need, not shouting to the masses randomly. If you’re a firm of accountants, the chances of you finding that big juicy contract on Tik Tok is remote so don’t even entertain the idea! You get my drift...
I’ve heard that I should add my blogs to Pulse which is on LinkedIn. What is Pulse and why should I be posting on it?
Pulse is great for owner managed businesses. For either the business owner or the senior management team, it’s important to gain trust and communicate the breadth of knowledge that you’ve built up over the years. By publishing posts (via your own personal profile) on LinkedIn’s Pulse news platform you can invite your network to share and comment. It’s a two pronged attack since your business page can then share that article to its own network and further your reach. It’s all about becoming the go-to resource for trusted advice, guidance and updates.
How easy is it for me to set up a business page?
It’s not difficult to do but each platform is slightly nuanced and it’s definitely not a ‘one size fits all’. At Digital Doctor, we’re happy to create business pages or assess what’s currently online because there may be a trick or two you’re missing.
How and what should I be posting on social media platforms?
This is where the power of stats comes into play. Get your hands on Google Analytics and establish when your traffic is at its highest. There is data out there that will tell you when is a good time to post but it doesn’t hurt to look at the stats and determine for yourself when you should be posting. For example, we have one client who knows to post on a Friday afternoon (just after lunch) whilst another knows that Tuesdays at 11 am are likely to perform well.
Should I maintain a frequency of posting which is consistent or should I post randomly?
Our advice is to post regularly and consistently. There really is no point going for it in the first week of a month and then going AWOL for the remaining 27 days. You have to be disciplined and organised because as you build your loyal following, they will be expecting to hear from you.
Is all this effort worth it?
A resounding yes (although I would say that wouldn’t I?). It really does pay to use social media but make it work for you - don’t become a slave to it because you feel everyone else is doing it. I advised one client from having an Instagram account because the product was simply not engaging enough - we put more effort into LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and it’s reaping its own rewards.
I’ve heard that social media can be ‘toxic’ - what can I do to protect myself
Stay calm and walk away if it gets too much! Seriously - only use it for your own business promotion as I’ve already mentioned. Respond quickly to anyone who messages you direct and treat it as your own customer service call centre. By doing so, you won’t be susceptible to any sort of toxicity.
I’m a small business - wouldn’t it be easier to use traditional means of marketing to my prospective clients?
Traditional marketing has long gone and you’d be wise to wave it goodbye and welcome social media. If this makes you feel as if you’re a dinosaur and need to get with the programme - it should!
Check out the ages of these:
LinkedIn - 19 years old
Facebook - 17 years old
Twitter - 15 years old
TikTok - 13 years old
Instagram - 11 years old
My network is very small on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram - is it worth giving this a go?
Of course, it will grow over time and why shouldn’t you be engaging with your existing customer base and keeping them informed of what you’re achieving as business?
Isn’t this effort just taking me away from my business and my ability to generate revenue?
If you put just a modicum of effort into your social media marketing you’ll be providing value to your audience and helping them with their buying decision-making. Far better to reach out to them before one of your competitors does. Try not to think that you’re neglecting your own business, come in from the perspective that you’re enhancing its persona and you’re making the business more approachable and personable.
What features does social media platforms use which can help me promote my business?
There’s so much variety you can introduce into your posts. It’s about getting people to engage with you and building a rapport. The buying process has changed so much in 20 or so years. People conduct their own research online before committing to buying a product or service. Help them choose you by presenting posts that are friendly, knowledgeable, valuable and interactive. If your business page can impart advice, news and updates in an engaging way through video, polls and sharing of other posts, you can drive more traffic to either your website, or webinar or blogs.
How will I know if this effort is paying off?
Again, look at the stats.
Social media platforms have their own analytics section and whilst not hugely in-depth will definitely offer some insight. Google Analytics is brilliant for helping you see which social media platforms deliver the most visitors to your website and helps you ascertain the quality of that audience. For example, no point doing somersaults when you’ve had 100 sessions coming to your site via Facebook if the average session time is ridiculously low. Put tracking code on your downloadable pdfs, forms, buttons etc. and see from event tracking what people are actually DOING once they get to your site. Liaise with your sales desk and see if you really did receive some bona fide sales queries after Google Analytics reports there were 5 instances of the contact form being submitted last week.
If you want to go even further with your reporting, try a tool that is dedicated to social media insights. Here at The Digital Doctor, we use Sprout Social but this isn’t the only tool out there that enables you to connect your social media accounts to garner some real insights and data.
If you'd like to learn more about when to post on which platform, then download our free guide:
When is the best time to post on social media according to industry.
We've broken it down by industry - so you know when's the best days to post and which ones to avoid, depending on the industry you're posting about.
We're here to help
Thank you Sarah, your answers are both informative and enlightening and Curious Elf feels in very capable hands.
So Curious Elf would like to ask you, as a business owner:
Do you need help setting up business pages on social platforms?
Do you need to decide what and where to post and how often?
Do you need a social media marketing plan?
Do you want to learn more about how statistics and analysis can help you take your current strategy to greater success?
Do you want to outsource your social media marketing?
If the answer is Yes to any, some, or all of these questions then do get in touch...