We all know that social media brings a host of opportunities for businesses to reach their target audiences and boost sales, if done well. In fact, 56% of firms with a social media strategy in place have generated sales via social media and 45% of small businesses with turnover under £250,000 have generated sales using social media platforms.
Yet, despite this, research from the latest Close Brothers Asset Finance Business Barometer shows that only 32% of UK SMEs have a social media strategy in place. And the situation is even worse here in Scotland, with just 23% of businesses having a social media strategy.
So, why are the majority of UK businesses not utilising social media to engage and drive sales? It could simply be down to time and resources – why else wouldn’t you be making the most of easily accessible platforms with millions of users?
Don’t worry though – it’s Muckle Media to the rescue with some quick tips on how to make the most of social media for those short of time!
For busy SMEs there’s little point in using social media platforms if your target audience isn’t there. To start, focus on the main platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – and pick which one(s) you’ll have a presence on based on where you’ll have the most impact. For example, business to business companies may focus on Twitter and LinkedIn, whereas lifestyle brands might focus on Facebook and Instagram. Also consider the age range of your target audience and which social media networks they’re most likely to use.
When starting out on social media and building a following, it can often be a slow process. Instagram and Twitter can be easier than other networks as you can easily search relevant people who may be interested in your brand. And there are numerous online tools to make this process even faster.
On Twitter, try Followerwonk. Here you can search the bios of Twitter users to connect with people using specific words in their bios. For example, clothes brands may search ‘fashion’ or a local café may search followers by location. Followerwonk also allows you to follow the most relevant people quickly, without clicking through to individual pages. ManageFlitter is another useful resource which helps you target the most appropriate followers, based on the subjects they are interested in, their location and if they follow similar accounts. Many of these tools often allow ongoing analysis of your following; helping you compare your following to that of your competitors and helping you find what content they respond best to.
As with all other communications, be it visual or written, social media channels should reflect your brand. Set some guidelines on tone of voice, the type of content you’re going to share and design guidelines on how visuals should look – for example, do you have a standard filter on Instagram to ensure posts not only look good individually but when viewed together on your page?
Websites such as Canva are great places to start for creating quick branded images to share across your platforms.
Keep an eye on interactions with your social media pages and respond as quickly as possible. Even if it’s a bad review on Facebook, don’t get defensive! Respond in a manner that addresses the issue and try to rectify wherever possible – even if the reviewer doesn’t respond to your offer, other social media users will see that you have done all you can to improve service.
To make the most of sales opportunities on social media, you need to be proactive. Search for mentions of your brand and of your product and respond. For example, if you’re a café, you might want to respond to someone tweeting about recommendations for lunch in Glasgow. At Muckle Media, we might monitor for people looking for recommendations for a local PR agency or for social media support.
Not only is choosing the most relevant social media platforms to your brand important, but the content you share should be carefully thought out. It’s easy to get carried away at the start and post content multiple times a day. Instead, focus on quality over quantity. Boring, useless content will just make people unfollow your page – be smart with your time and the content you share.
Social media should be seen as part of your overall marketing strategy. Whether you’re launching a new product, opening a new office or releasing some research statistics, think of how social media should fit into your overall communications. This might involve some paid for advertising on Facebook or teaser posts on Instagram – whatever the story, use social media to your advantage and create a buzz for your brand.
About to undertake a big social media campaign or need some assistance in managing your current channels? We’re here to help! Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.