I’m starting a series of lectures at Loughborough University for the Enterprise School and tonight we’re kicking off with ‘Effectiveness Use of Social Media for your Business’. Now I’ve given these talks many times before, but this time rather than concentrate mostly on the how I thought I’d also answer the why.
I’m passionate about the effectiveness of social media for business, as someone who’s worked in communications and marketing for over 15 years it’s a breath of fresh air opposed to the cold and staid version of marketing we used to have on TV, in magazine and printed on flyers.
For a start social media is about building relationships with your existing customers. This is a new phenomena. In the dark old days businesses would work really hard at enticing customers over their threshold, buy a product and then not really have any sophisticated way to keep in contact with them. Now you can talk to your customers on a daily basis, reminding them that you’re there, that you care and that you have the right product for them. Isn’t that wonderful? Now these customers you work so hard to get can be returning customers, they can advocate on your behalf on social media, and can build a genuine relationship with you! You can build your own tribe (more of that to come later!) who come back time and again and bring others with them.
Social media also helps you to reach out to new customers; people that are already looking for your solution, that want a product just like yours. You can build brand awareness, get them to buy into your service or product. Raise the profile of your business, get others talking about you, assert your credibility and knowledge in your industry…and then they become customers…and so the cycle continues.
One thing social media is not so good at is downright selling. People don’t really want a pushy in your face sales pitch over social media. Rather than buy my product or service, it’s a more subtle, this is the difference my product can make to your life, this is how my product will make you feel, this is what buying my product says about you, this is who I am.
The other thing to consider is that people will already be talking about you and your product on social media, so why not be part of that conversation? I’m not saying running social media accounts is easy or without it’s limits, but if you’re not in the game you will certainly miss out.
When looking at the why of using social media you’ll be able to build a strategy around the results you want. It may be both brand awareness and building relationships, or you may want to focus on one. Often the ‘why’ is different depending on the social media platform you use.
Also a further point to consider is that it’s true that not everyone is on social media, and your ideal customer may be found in other places too, which is why social media is only part of the whole marketing strategy. Luckily the next lecture in the series is ‘Making Sales and how to Market your Business’!
I’m hoping we have a lot of fun at the lecture tonight, I’ve even devised a breakout work session to get people to look at what is unique about their business, who their ideal customer is, where their ideal customer is on-line and what makes their solution or product different from the rest. It’s worthwhile thinking about these questions for any business.
If you’re interested in running a workshop at your business or getting one-to-one support in social media and marketing please get in touch with me. I also run several social media accounts, for business such as Nottingham City Council, Architects of Air and Castlehaven Charity in Camden, so if time is an issue perhaps I can help.