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The small business guide to social media

The small business guide to social media 21
The small business guide to social media Enhancing your brand and building your online presenceThe small business guide to social media Contents Throughout this guide you’ll find tips from our experts. Sharing ideas is part of what makes social media so valuable, so we’ve given other business owners the 3. Social media 101 opportunity to share advice about how they run social media in their company, and what they have learnt. 4. Which social network is right for your business 6. Managing your social media accounts 8. Customer service and social media 9. Should you build your own network Gemma Went has experience across Charlie Mullins left school at 15 with no 11. Big companies’ highs and lows entertainment, brands, FMCG, B2B and qualifications. Starting out with a second small businesses. With a background hand van and a bag of tools, he has built in psychology and a keen interest in Pimlico Plumbers into the UK’s first human behaviour, she’s helped numerous branded plumbing company with 200 businesses successfully adopt social media. sta, 1 ff 60 vehicles and a £20m turnover. www.gemmawent.co.uk www.pimlicoplumbers.com  Follow Gemma  Follow CharlieThe small business guide to social media Social media 101 Sarah Arrow of sarkemedia.com gives the lowdown on social media. Social media marketing involves using social media sites as part of your online marketing strategy. The sites, like Facebook and Twier tt , are often huge and they oer a ff great way to reach your target market, deliver your marketing message, and find out what your audience truly love. It’s powerful as a research tool and as a customer service tool, it’s not just for marketing. Remember, no one goes onto a social site thinking ‘I wonder what great oer ff s are going to be selected for me today...’ There are two popular ways to use social media sites in your marketing: 1. P ost content or links to content on your social media prol fi e such as blog posts, pictures, videos or any other multimedia and let it spark a conversation. 2. Place ads on social media sites using their ad networks. You would use ads to reach a wider audience and generate more conversations and interaction than you could organically when starting out. Over time you’ll find the conversations relating to your content need less advertising and become more engaging because your audience know where you are. What social media marketing can do for your business Any business whatsoever can benet f fi rom social media marketing, especially local businesses. Geographic features on social media sites make it particularly easy for people in your area to find your prol fi e through searches. I love this aspect of Twier tt , as I can easily search for local people to talk to and follow. You can oer d ff eals and promotions through your prol fi e that are exclusive to your fans. Using social media prol fi es this way is similar to using your email list. You can increase their loyalty to your brand by oer ff ing exclusive bonuses and exclusive content. In Andy Sernowitz’s book ‘Word of Mouth Marketing’ he talks about creating exclusive content just for fans. Social media is a brilliant way of stoking your word of mouth marketing activity (and I recommend the book highly).The small business guide to social media The advantages of social media marketing The disadvantages of social media How small businesses Social media marketing allows you to interact directly with your customers and potential To use social media ee ff ctively requires constant maintenance. For each page or prol fi e use social media customers. It adds a personal touch to online communications that’s unrivalled by other that you make, you’ll need to set aside time for updating and interacting with your fans. online marketing methods when did a newspaper ad last make you feel welcome When For many small businesses, this quickly becomes a bit much to keep up with. people feel like they can interact with you in a more direct way, it engenders loyalty and Since your social media prol fi e isn’t actually your own site, you have to abide by somebody trust. else’s rules. There are certain actions that can get you penalised or banned from social Using social media sites also allows you to reach a wider audience. You have access to not media sites, and you run the risk of changes in algorithms or site policies undoing all your only your fans but your fans’ friends. On sites like Facebook, whenever your fans interact hard work. You social media activity must drive trac b ffi ack to something you own like 66 with you, their friends see that interaction as well. We are all curious about our friends’ your website or your email list. likes and dislikes, so more people get to know your business. Another drawback is that you don’t have total control of your content. If someone leaves think social media is Because your customers can contact you easily through social media sites, you can get a nasty comment or insult in your blog comments, you can delete it. You can’t do this on a worthwhile use of valuable valuable feedback and learn more about your target market. You can look at your fans’ your Twier f tt eed. But before you break into a cold sweat, you can block people and you time for their business prol fi es and find out what they’re interested in. This is the kind of data that marketing can respond politely to trolls – killing them with kindness is the only way. It’s hard, but it’s r fi ms have paid huge sums of money for in years gone by. achievable. You also get search benet fi s by using these popular social sites. When optimised correctly How to get the most out of social media marketing for your business your social prol fi es appear in search results. Social media sites give you an existing It may sound like a lot of work monitoring your prol fi es, but it’s well worth it. Many platform that already has millions of users. businesses find that it’s a fun and enjoyable daily task. The real key to success is to keep your involvement social. Don’t create your prol fi e and content and then wait for the fans and comments to roll in. Be proactive. Get out there and make friends. Comment on other people’s prol fi es and join groups for increased visibility. This brands you as a friendly person with your own distinct personality that 42 still do not people will want to get to know beer tt . use social mediaThe small business guide to social media Networks for building relationships: Which social network is right for your business Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn Choosing the right social network is important if Most people know this site. This network is the second most Twie tt r is a microblogging LinkedIn has been described as you’re going to reach your audience. With over 120 It’s hardly surprising, as it’s the popular. There is the option for platform, where you have Facebook for business. It allows social networks to choose from and more appearing biggest social network based Google+ business pages, which 140 characters to share your you to share your job history all the time, how do you know where to be on global reach and total active similar to having a Facebook message. but it’s also ee ff ctive in allowing users. page for your business. your business to build its prol fi e • 18 of internet users are on and network by gei tt ng involved Finding the right network is all about understanding • 1.3 billion active users that’s • 540 million active users in Twie tt r it has 271 million in discussions. 45 of people on the internet 2014 active users your customers and knowing where they are. Here’s • 187 million active users a quick overview of the main social media sites: • 45 of Internet users aged • 2 2 of online adults use the • H alf of Twier tt ’s unique 65+ use Facebook site each month visitors are under 35 years old • Twothirds are older than 35 • Average time on the site is • 4 2 use Google+ to interact • 500 million Tweets are sent 6.75 hours per month with a brand’s content each day • G oogle+ generates as much interaction as Facebook and twice as much as Twier ttThe small business guide to social media Networks for sharing content: Pinterest YouTube Vine Instagram Tumblr Slideshare This network works well for With video estimated to account for If you like your videos shorter, Vine Instagram is a photo sharing Tumblr is a microblogging platform, This site allows you to post businesses that have visual content 69 of all internet trac b ffi y 2017, it’s is the way to go. At just 6 seconds, platform, launched in October 2010. which allows users to post images presentations, infographics and to share, although it’s also good if no wonder YouTube is so popular. these microvideos are often shared It has recently introduced video and shorter text pieces. It is firmly documents. While presentations you have a blog and use images for on other social channels like Twier tt . functionality, which allows users to aimed at the youth market with the are the most posted type of content, • More than 1 billion unique visitors your pieces. post 15second videos on the site. top 10 Tumblr tags being lol, fashion, infographics are liked 5 times more each month • Vine has 40 million users in total food, art, vintage, landscape, frequently. • 70 million active monthly users • 20 0 million users, 50 million of tao tt os, black and white, makeup, • O ver 6 billion hours of YouTube • 5 t weets per second contain a whom signed up in the last 6 • 60 million unique visitors and illustration. • W omen are four times more likely video watched each month Vine link months a month on average to be Pinterest users than men • 6 6 of visitors under 35 and 39 • 8 3 of teenagers and 49 of • A branded Vine video is four times • M ore than 20 billion photos have • 2 15 million page views each under 25 • 23 of Internet users aged 50+ those in their 50s use the channel more likely to be seen than a been shared month use Pinterest regular branded video • 19 9 million visitors a month • The most popular length of a • The most popular categories are • A mong top 120 mostvisited • Average of 98 minutes spent on YouTube video is 31120 seconds food, fashion and beer • U sers spend an average of 1.5 websites in the world the site each month hours on the site per month. • Receives 500 more trac ffi from business owners than • F acebook, Twier tt , YouTube, and LinkedIn Choosing the right network Which media sites do SMEs use most for business That’s a lot of social networks and not all of them will work for your business. If you have limited resource, try to focus on one or two networks when you start. If you’re not sure which one to choose, the best thing is to ask your customers. 31 15 37 30 7 (blog) Alternatively, carry out some online research. Head onto each social network that you think might fit with your audience and search for your brand name, your competitors’ names and industry terms to see how many results come 5 1 2 1 8 up. If there’s lots of conversations, it could be a good place to be.The small business guide to social media Why do they use social media Managing your social media accounts 63 42 Before jumping in with social media, it’s important to get some basics in place. You also need to consider how your social media marketing fits Sei tt ng your strategy to increase to market their in with the rest of the business. Social media works best when brand awareness campaigns One of the key things you need to decide is how you will use your it works in conjunction with your other marketing activity so social media presence. What you decide will ae ff ct the type of people get a consistent view of your business. content you post and how you measure your success. Some common ways of using social networks include: Think about what you want to be known for and how that could be ree fl cted in what you post and how you write. • Building buzz around your products or services Consider the language you use too. Social media is very • Increasing brand awareness 24 conversational so keeping your language more informal works 56 well. If that’s dier ff ent to the way you usually write, you need • Driving more visitors to your website to decide how that will work. Maybe you want to steer clear of language that’s too youthful or ontrend but keep things a lil tt e • Increasing leads to provide product and to engage with other businesses more informal than your usual writing. services information and service providers • Finding out more about your customers and their needs • Providing customer service • Recruiting new talent 8 • Improving customer loyalty to provide business adviceThe small business guide to social media social network and, for about £50, you Keep an eye on trends and see what Check your performance Keep an eye Curating vs creating can use the service to automatically people are talking about. on time If you’re investing time in posting on Will you be creating original content register on 25 of the most popular social media, you need to know if it’s or curating content from elsewhere “Think about how Listen to what people like, what bothers networks. working. Once you’ve decided how you’ll It’s important to get the balance right. much time it will them, what questions they ask. You can be using social media, it’s time to set Sharing other people’s content helps to take to manage then post when there’s relevant topics. The importance of listening some targets. show that you understand your market your social media Just be careful about what you post Once you have your brand registered, it’s and can help your audience by providing channels. How much time should be there’s nothing worst than piggybacking These could include: time to investigate the communities that useful information. spent on each platform Twier is a tt a sales message onto an irrelevant news you think you should be gei tt ng involved fast moving channel and may require topic. • Number of conversions from in. See what people post and how other While it’s great to be focused, think about more time than, say, Facebook and social media (both sales and other people respond. Try to identify the most other related topics that your customers LinkedIn. Be realistic, if it’s just two You know your interactions like signing up for popular people in your area of business. might like. Ask your audience what they’d hours a day, then ensure it’s clear business best newsletters or completing online like to see or look at what your followers what you expect to be achieved in forms) It’s important to understand the “There are post themselves. You can also ask your that time.” etiquee o tt f each network. As Alex Truby, thousands of users to provide their own content which • Amount of trac g ffi enerated consultant at social media consultancy ‘experts’ out there you can repost. Set up a tag and ask them Time to secure your brand Fresh Networks, says; who will call you up and email with to use it to label their posts. Share the Once you know that you’ll be using social • N umber of conversations and amount promises to improve your marketing best with your network. media, you need to register your name. It’s of engagement “It’s often said that social media and make you rich without knowing best to register on each social network, sites are like cocktail parties. You Keeping your content fresh is important. anything about your business. You even if you’re not planning on using it. • Whether you have increased brand wouldn’t just turn up and start talking Decide how often you’re going to post may not be an expert on marketing Having one name across all platforms recognition at people. Just listen at first and and have a calendar in place, so you know and PR, but you are an expert on you.” makes it easier for people to find you and then gradually start responding and in advance what you’ll be posting (but Set some clear measures and timescales. helps you build your brand. striking up conversations.” keep it flexible enough to respond to It’s best to evaluate after 23 months to changing events). Knowem lets you run a free check to see give your social media time to bed in and if your brand name is available in each grow.The small business guide to social media • I conosquare: this service lets you monitor your Instagram Know your Keep it friendly Free tools to help you keep control account to see which content people like and where your audience and informal users are. It also oer ff s widgets to connect your Instagram Social media has a reputation for being “Think about your “When engaging account with other social media like Facebook. audiences and do on social media, timeconsuming. But there are tools your research. What the best advice is • Tweetreach: this site allows you to see how far your tweet out there that can make the whole do they like sharing Whether it’s cat to write as you speak. People want travelled, who retweeted it (or a version of it) and how many videos, infographics, white papers or to engage with people so cut out the process much more streamlined. people received it on their timeline. gifs, understanding this will help you business speak and speak as you Here’s some of the best: to develop content that will resonate would if you were face to face.” • K lout: want to know how inu fl ential you are Klout will rank and get results.” you against a number of criteria for all your social media • Ho otsuite and Tweetdeck: these services allow you to accounts. manage your social media accounts in one place. You can Build relationships schedule posts and keep an eye on conversations. • U RL shorteners: these help you monitor how many people Social media is twoway, so building are clicking on your posts. There’s a few out there, including quality relationships should be the • S ocial Mention: this is a free search engine that collects Bit.ly, and Ow.ly (which Hootsuite uses). end goal. Advocates will amplify information from over 100 social networks, making it easy to your message and stand up for you if see what people are talking about. The tools within the social media sites something goes wrong. But you have to earn this. Have conversations with your Don’t forget that most networks oer s ff tatistics about • Google Alerts: alerts make it simple to keep up to date with followers, provide what they want and your interactions with others and some oer d ff emographic the latest discussions on any topic. Just set up some search help if things go wrong. If you get this information too. It’s den fi itely worth making use of them. terms and receive emails when people are talking about right, people will respond. these topics. You decide the frequency that you’d like to be 26 notified. of small businesses spend an hour or more • Tw ellow: if you want to find who to follow on Twier tt , this on social media a day site can help. It’s a directory of people on Twier tt , sorted by expertise, profession and other ar tt ibutes.The small business guide to social media Customer service and social media 17 expect support through Twier tt . 20 use social media to air their 47 of customers expect customer 1 in 3 users prefer contact 71 of companies who receive a grievances. (This rises to 46 for service through Facebook. Only through social media rather complaint through Twier ig tt nore it. those aged 24 and under) 22 of companies do this. than the telephone. 4. D ecide how you will handle complaints. Keep responses personal How to manage customer service on social media If you don’t use your social and simple. You don’t have to solve the customer’s problem on the 1. D ecide who is best placed to handle questions. You need people who media for customer service, social media platform (especially when you may have 140 characters). will know the answers, are trained in customer service and preferably Just begin the process of addressing it by asking to contact them or then it’s likely you’re missing out have a natural an ffi ity for social media. passing on more information. on providing a valuable service. 2. Set up a system for monitoring what customers say about you. It’s 5. E valuate how it went. Keep talking to the customer and ask them for Cath Sheldon, Social Business important to spot the conversations. People often won’t include feedback. Check the issue is solved and take on board any ideas for companyname but may use hashtags instead. Think about the type Manager at Sage UK, explains how to improvement. of terms people might use (problem, broken, rubbish, etc) and set integrate social media into your business. up searches for those terms and your brand name on your social monitoring tool (like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite). Research by Social Bakers shows that only 38 of questions posted on 3. Ha ve a process in place for responding. Know who will respond and social media get answered and the average response time is 6.6 hours. how this will be allocated. Set response times and make sure you’re fast. Most social media disasters have occurred when companies are To ensure your customer service is up to scratch, it needs to be fully slow to respond and people feel ignored. Response times should be integrated into your business. Social media is no longer just the domain of much faster than email. the marketing team, so you need to get other people involved and trained.The small business guide to social media Should you build your own network Discussion boards Are there ever times that you should Sei tt ng up your own discussion boards can be timeconsuming create your own networks In general, and expensive. It’s hard to get enough trac f ffi or them to it’s best to use existing social platforms, be lively and empty discussion boards become a Catch22 as that is where your customers are. situation where people won’t post because they don’t think they’ll get a response. But there are a couple of instances when owning your social network Sei tt ng up your own board is a good idea if: can help. • There’s a big enough or engaged enough audience to keep it going. Your own blog • P eople are looking for somewhere private to discuss things, Your blog is a place to share your views and start conversations. away from their normal social media. This could include It adds interest to your website and drives trac ffi . Research things like medical conditions. shows that B2B companies that have a blog get an average of 67 more leads. • T here’s nowhere else to talk about these things. Competing with other specialist discussion boards is tricky, so you need The secret of success is to write about the things that your to oer s ff omething unique. audience cares about. While it may be tempting to post about your latest products and services, your blog is beer u tt sed to Invest time in seeding information onto the boards, ask provide valuable information for your audience by oer ff ing customers to start posting their questions and make sure all advice and views and sharing information key trends. By posts get answered quickly. Having a network of advocates helping your readers, you’ll build a relationship with them and who can respond shares the work and makes the board look establish your authority. Your blog can supplement the other busier. Most of all, give it time as discussion boards take time information on your website. to become established. As with other channels, you need to set some goals. You can If you don’t want to set up a discussion board from scratch, measure the time people spend reading your blog or the there are apps that allow you to integrate one into your number of comments you receive. Facebook page. Sources: Pew Internet, TechCrunch, We Are Social, Hiscox, Guardian, Vertical Response, Sage Omnibus, YouGov, Rakuten, eMarketer.com, Maritz and Evolve24, NielsenThe small business guide to social media The lows Big companies’ highs about their actions, they replied with “It’s Have a plan in place for difficult times All of these social media and lows our page, we set the rules, it was ever If you’re going through dic ffi ult times, it’s meltdowns could have thus.” important to speak to your social media been easily avoided, if team and possibly reclaim control. One They eventually did a Uturn and said Need some inspiration Here’s some companies entertainment company didn’t do this only the companies had they would look into the issue and began and got to see a round of redundancies who are really making the most of social media posting information about the subjects thought things through. livetweeted to the public. Ouch being discussed. and some others who need to work a bit harder at it. We’ve removed their Be bold Timing is everything names to protect the “Don’t be afraid Twie tt r is a great way to have guilty. to have strong conversations with customers but you opinions. Sure, you need to think it through. When this need to be careful A Facebook disaster energy company decided to run an Ask what you say Us Anything session, they started it on Social media is all about conversations. when the tape recorder is running the same day they announced a 10 price So it was clearly a bad idea when this and, of course, not commit libel increase. Their hashtag was overrun with company decided that to lock down against anyone, but sii tt ng on the angry customers: conversations and remove posts. It all fence doesn’t earn you coverage in started with criticism of some of their the media. People like interesting “My oc ffi e has a window where the sun business practices. Instead of responding characters who aren’t afraid to say comes in and makes the side of my head with information, they began removing what they think, even when they don’t really hot. How much do I owe you” the posts, and said people were in breach necessarily agree with them.” of copyright for posting a variation of “Have you found a way to channel angry their logo. When people complained customer feedback into electricity”The small business guide to social media The highs It’s not all bad news though. Here’s some of the companies who have a real handle on social media. O2 Oreo Greggs Gei tt ng your tone of voice right can be tricky. The American brand is known for its rapid When an unfortunate logo mixup happened, O2 is noted for gei tt ng this spot on, from using response to current events. When the Super Greggs was inundated with messages on the same slang as their customers to diu ff sing Bowl had a blackout, the company was quick to Twie tt r alerting them to the fact that Google a storm of customer complaints when an tweet with reassurances that “you can still dunk was showing a spoof logo alongside their outage happened. They even managed to in the dark”. search listing. Greggs stepped up to the mark: turn a negative situation into a brandbuilding between bribing Google with doughnuts in a And when they turned 100, they posted a exercise by walking a fine line between apology bid to get it fixed, they entertained fans with dier ff ent cookie design every day for 100 days. and humour. appropriate and tongueincheek responses. They increased their Facebook engagement by Once it was fixed they cheekily asked Google Twie tt r is fully integrated into their business. 195 and increased their share rate by 280. for compensation in the form of the Google Not only do they oer c ff ustomer service, they’ve doodle made of Greggs sausage rolls. Nicely also introduced Tweetserve, which allows handled. customers to deal with a number of issues through Twier tt ’s direct message service. By Buzzfeed using Tweetserve, customers can receive their Many companies are gei tt ng to grips with account balance, remaining minutes or special Pinterest but Buzzfeed is a step ahead. They oer ff s. use Pinterest to find trending topics, see how people categorise information and get ideas for stories. Since joining Pinterest, they’ve seen huge increases in referral trac ffi . Their first post to be pinned has now received 2.3 million hits from Pinterest alone (that’s since June 2012).