Saturday, September 21, 2013

Social Media and your business–Part 3

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Social Media and your business – Part 1
Social Media and your business – Part 2
In the last part of this series I spoke about how you should consider Linkedin as business to business social media. In this post I’ll talk about what I consider business to consumer social media.

To my way of thinking this means Facebook. I am by no means an expert on Facebook and I really don’t use the service extensively at all, however given the sheer number of people who are on the service, I believe EVERY business need to have a presence there.
Facebook more than any other network is where you can speak directly to consumers. A great example to look at is Starbucks:
http://www.facebook.com/Starbucks
As of this post there are over 35 million (yes I said million) people who ‘like’ Starbucks on Facebook. This means when Starbucks posts something to Facebook these 35 million people will see it in their newsfeed! That’s a huge audience in any one’s terms.
Next time you are standing around in public have a look at what others are doing. Most likely they are totally engaged reading something on their phone. I’ll bet that 90% of the time they’ll be looking at Facebook. That’s why, as a business, you need to be there. Facebook has over a billion users, most access Facebook multiple times a day for 30 minutes at a time and they do so on their mobile device. How many marketing bulls eyes does that score? Just about every one.
On the Starbucks page, people who like Starbucks can find others who like Starbucks (i.e. fostering community). They can also offer special deals to people who visit the page. They can push out news and other interesting stories. Most importantly, all of this goes directly to people who have opted in to receive this information. Starbucks knows they like Starbucks because they ‘liked’ the page!
So if you have a business that sells to consumers you need to ensure you have a slick Facebook page. That means spending some time getting the graphics right and working out what content you are going to post up there. Importantly, once you start telling people you are on Facebook you need to BE on Facebook to interact with your ‘tribe’.
An important thing here is that you shouldn’t be mixing your personal social media with business social media. If you have a personal Facebook set up a separate business account. Here is some information on doing just that:
http://allfacebook.com/facebook-business-account_b5986
You can also create pages for your business and its products. Here is a good starting point:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/240258/how_to_make_a_facebook_page_for_your_small_business.html
Once you have all your business pages and account set up then you need to start attracting people to these so they can ‘like’ and ‘follow’ the information you post. You do this by posting interesting information that appeals to your target market.
One very powerful option Facebook offers over a business like Google when it comes to advertising is extremely targeted marketing. Because Facebook know exactly when people login, all their details, where they go inside and outside Facebook when you purchase ads on Facebook you’ll find you can provide a level of targeting that is unrivalled. If you haven’t tried then invest a few dollars to see what I mean.
So the Facebook crowd is generally going to be very different from Linkedin and your message and information need to reflect that. Every business I believe needs to have a Facebook presence but it needs to be separate from any existing personal Facebook account.
If you feel Facebook is right for your business, as I said early in this series of posts, ‘listen’ and look at what others are doing. See what your competition does and doesn't do. See what the big boys (like Starbucks) is doing. See who is doing it well and follow their lead. However, whatever you do don’t neglect Facebook as a social media channel for your business, the number of subscribers justifies any investment.
In the next part of this series I’ll talk about what I believe is the most important social media network you must be part of, so stay tuned for more.
Social Media and your business – Part 4
If you need some help with your social media strategy or would like me to speak about social media at your business or association please don’t hesitate to contact me (director@ciaops.com).