Guest Blog – Social Media – How to get a good return on time invested in your business’s social media presence by Julia Blake, Blake Consultants Ltd

Nov
17
Posted 2016 by Julia Blake

Social Media – How to get a good return on time invested in your business’s social media presence

By Julia Blake, Blake Consultants Ltd

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Social Media is now part of our lives – we may, or may not, be comfortable with that, but it’s been around for a quite a while and is changing all the time – so what does this mean for our businesses?

As a business owner it’s perfectly normal, and indeed good business practice, to be asking questions such as these and more:

    • How does social media fit in with more traditional marketing and PR?
    • Are we doing enough?
    • What should we be saying?
    • Which platform should we be on?
    • What changes have been made to the platform we are on and do we need to change what we are doing?
    • Are we spending too much time on it/are we spamming?

Social Media itself is a huge industry now, there are so many different businesses, experts, platforms, blogs, advice, guidance out there that it is a daunting task to try and make sense of it all, especially when you have a business to run!

Here are some interesting Social Media statistics compiled by Brandwatch:

  • For context the world’s population in July 2015 was 7.3 billion.
  • The internet has 3.17 billion users.
  • There are 2.3 billion active social media users.
  • Internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts.
  • Social Media users have risen by 176 million in the last year.
  • 1 million new active mobile social users are added every day, 12 each second.
  • Social networks earned an estimate $8.3 billion from advertising in 2015.
  • 38% of organisations plan to spend more than 20% of their total advertising budgets on social media channels, up from 13% the year before.

So now we know how huge this is I want to share what I have found, and have seen, to be useful help for businesses when planning how to use Social Media to raise awareness of your business and your brand.

I have consolidated what I have found, into what I hope you find, is a useful article summarising some hints and tips for using social media to add value to your business.

 

Back to Basics: What is Social Media

Let’s start by getting our heads around what Social Media means for our businesses.

Try and imagine that Social Media is a trade show in cyberspace.  If you want to be seen as a serious contender in your industry then you really do need a presence at that trade show ……it’s just on Social Media not at a physical venue.

Social media networks are great resources for businesses of all sizes looking to promote their brands online.  The platforms themselves are free to use, and they also have paid advertising options specifically for brands that want to reach even more new audiences.

But just because your business should be on social media, that doesn’t mean your business should be on every network.  It’s important that you choose and nurture the social platforms that work best for your business so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.

If you want to create a successful social strategy, you need to familiarise yourself with how each network runs, the kinds of audiences you can reach and how your business can best use each platform.

Not only is Social Media a way of showcasing your products and services, but it is incredibly useful for sharing your successes; connecting with thought leaders and industry experts; and engaging with potential leads.

These Sales Statistics make interesting reading and not only underpin why all businesses need a Contact Relationship Management system, but why we need to keep putting the name of our business in front of potential clients on social media too.

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One important point to bear in mind – don’t mix personal social media presence with your business offering, keep the two separate.

The second important point is that Social Media is part of a marketing strategy not the whole marketing strategy; your social media presence should reflect your marketing strategy and plan.

So which platform(s) should you be focusing your energies on?  What content should you be posting and sharing? Carry on reading to find out.

How to obtain a good return from your Social Media Presence for your business

1.  Discover where your community are located

Spend some time on the different platforms and speak to people in your industry who you respect to find out where your “community” is located.

2.  Identify the influencers

After you have discovered where the community is located you can start to identify the influencers within your industry – you probably already know who most of these people are.  Engage with them on Social Media, follow them, see who they follow and who follows them and have a look and see what they have been talking about and sharing – there is a wealth of information out there at our finger tips.

3.  Generate leads by solving problems

Use Social Media to generate leads by solving problems which you know your Avatar (your ideal client) are experiencing.

4.  Curate Content

We see a lot of the words “Content curation”, it basically involves:

  • Planning topics your audience loves.
  • Searching for content from others that ties into those topics and your audience’s interests.
  • Sharing only the best information you find on your social networks for your audience to enjoy.

5.  Use the following to raise your profile, mix them up and include your own content and curated content:

1. Infographics
2. Video
3. Blogs
4. Press releases
5. Short posts
6. White papers
7. How to guides
8. Case studies
9. Competitions

6.  When writing and creating your posts keep in mind that:

  1. There are 4 types of users of social media:
  • Amplifiers – spreading the word
  • Searchers – looking for a solution to a problem
  • Purchasers – they already know what the solution to their problem is and they are looking for the best price/package/service
  • Engagers – engaging perhaps to increase their own social media presence
  1. A staggering 26% of sales come from recommendations on social media
  2. You have a call to action at all times

So now we have some ideas for our businesses on Social Media let’s think about the actual platforms in a bit more detail…..

The Platforms

In this part of my blog I will give an overview of the platforms and hints and tips on making the most of them for your business:

I will include:

  • How often should you Post and When?
  • How to check if the effort you are making is paying off.
  • Extra hints and tips which I have found work.

All of these are different for each platform, it changes all the time – there is a huge amount of information out there about this very subject.  The following is a consolidation of what I have found by platform at the time of writing, I hope you find it useful……

Twitter

With 500 million people visiting Twitter a month, 6000 tweets are sent every second.  Twitter is great for News, Articles and Conversation.  The downside is that you are restricted to 140 characters in a Tweet, but you can add articles and images to get round this very easily.

Optimum Number of Tweets to send per day is 15

When: Spread them out throughout the working day and a couple late at night and early morning

Plus: Retweet or curate about seven a day

How do you know if it’s working: Use Twitter Analytics and navigate to Tweets to check out the bar graph of dates with the number of tweets that went out on those dates.

Extra Tips for making the most of Twitter:

  • Interact with other people you find interesting as much as you can, quote, Retweet and reply.
  • Use images
  • Change your timeline so that you aren’t seeing the timeline the Twitter algorithms want to show you.
  • Make the most of lists, you can create your own timeline by interest
  • Use hashtags, this is how people will find you, use no more than 3 in a Tweet.

 

Facebook

Facebook has 1.49 billion monthly active users, 500,000 new users are added every day, there are an estimated 81 million fake Facebook profiles, there are 40 million active small business pages, but only 2 million of those pay for advertising, 8 billion daily video views (videos have 135% more organic reach than images).

Optimum Number of posts: once a day

When: between 1pm and 4pm, best time to post is 3pm on a Wednesday

Plus: curate or reshare every other day

How do you know if it’s working:  Insights are great to see performance of individual posts and when engagement is increased or decreased based on how frequently you post.

Extra Tips for making the most of Facebook:

  • Use Visuals
  • Post standalone graphics to share quick tips (Canva is great for creating your own images)
  • Show brand personality, but remember it is a business page
  • Make the most of Facebook Live – people spend 3 times longer watching live video than pre-recorded.
  • Create a FB user group for maximum engagement
  • Pin posts to the top of your page for higher visibility
  • Pay to boost your posts – you can chose audience by interest, geography, chose costs and number of days to be boosted – but Facebook is very strict on the amount of text on an image – be careful and keep checking advert status as it might not be approved or it could be held in review.

 

LinkedIn

With 450 million members on LinkedIn, 100 million of those access the site on a monthly basis, more than 1 million have published content, over 3 million companies have created LinkedIn accounts and 2 new users a second, it is arguably the best and biggest Social Media platform for business worldwide, but the guidance about using it depends on whether you are using it to get a job, recruit for a job or raise your business profile or your own profile – but in all cases the best advice is: engage engage engage.  LinkedIn is great for News, Articles and conversations.

Optimum Number of posts: once a day.

When: between 10am to 11am

Plus: Curate, re-share one post every other day

How do you know if it’s working:  There are sparse analytics feature in LinkedIn – go to the business Profile and select Analytics tab, use this as a starting point.

Extra Tips:

  • Make the most of the updates and the ability to write and share Articles.
  • Use images.

 

Pinterest

100 million active monthly users, 80% of which are female and use the platform for “scrapbooking” saving and sharing images, it’s great for lead generation of clothing, art and food.  The downside is that it is images only.

Optimum Number of Pins: 11 per day

When:  mainly early hours and evening, but the best time is Saturday 8pm to 11pm

Plus: Repin or curate at least 5 pieces of content from others every day

How do you know if it’s working:  Go to Pinterest Analytics select Profile and check out the impressions.

 

Google +

200 million users, 67% male good for news and articles for SEO, Technical/design businesses, not as widely used as other platforms.

Optimum number of Posts: 2 posts per day

When: 9am to 11 and 12 to 1pm

Plus: Curate, reshare one post every other day

How do you know if it’s working:  Analytics leave something to be desired – go to Business Profile ad Insights feature.

 

Instagram

400 million monthly active users, 80 million photos uploaded each day,3.5 billion likes per day use it to build relationships and conversations, 90% of users are younger than 35, it is images only and good for led generation for retail, art, food, entertainment and beauty businesses.

Optimum Number of posts: 1 – 2 posts per day

When: 8am – 9am and 2am

Plus: Curate only when necessary beneficial to your audience

How do you know if it’s working:  Iconosquare has been recommend, it has an Instagram Analytics feature.

 

YouTube

With 1 Billion users, 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute, 9% of US small business use YouTube, 3.25 billion hours of video are watched every month.

YouTube is brilliant for searching how to do something.  It is also great for brand awareness in the service industry – but it is resource intensive, and because of this the frequency of uploading depends on your budget and the optimum time seems to, surprisingly, be lunchtime – but it depends on your target audience.

 

Summary

There is so much to cover on this subject, I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface but there are some underlying themes which we have seen which will help all businesses and these are:

  • Cherry pick frequencies that make the most sense to you on the platforms which make the most sense to you. Play around with the time of day and day of the week and see what happens using the analytics tools.
  • You do not need to be on all Social Media platforms or networks.
  • Social Media presence should reflect your brand and be part of your marketing strategy.
  • Tie in your presence with your other systems such as CRM – drive traffic from other Social Media sites.
  • Use, and promote, the call to action button.
  • Use images and videos, have cover photos and profile photos that reflect your business brand that are clear and consistent.
  • Engage with others.

The final bit of really good news is that there are free systems like Hootsuite, which enable you to schedule your messages all at once to save you time.

And finally – Enjoy 🙂

 

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Julia Blake, Blake Consultants Ltd,  helps businesses grow through being organised and getting the right systems and processes in place to help the business owner spend time less time working in, or for, their business and more time working on their business. 

As well as specialising in underpinning business processes using CapsuleCRM as an enabler, Julia helps business owners make sense of social media, using it to add value to their business by encouraging interaction with new audiences.

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