I think you must have been living under a rock if you haven’t realised how much social media is thriving, and maybe even taking over the world! Like anything, it comes with positives and negatives, and these will be very different depending on whether we’re talking about our personal or business accounts. But, at least hear me out while I cover some of the many benefits for you during this blog.
To be clear, I’m going to cover 5 main benefits, however, as you can imagine, I’m just scratching the surface here, and if you’re interested in developing your social media presence, you can research more in the future- why not? The 5 benefits I mention should help towards satisfying the needs of your current customers, but also allow you to reach new customers; leading to marketing leads and improved sales.
To get us started, here’s a brief definition including my understanding of social media: a digital tool across interactive platforms that enables users to create and share content, or to participate in social networking.
Now, while you might not be interested in what your mates had for tea or where your old colleague has just jetted off for the weekend, posts on your business account on the other hand, may include information and useful tips for you and your customers. These might resonate for the right reasons and result in positive outcomes; therefore, don’t overlook the benefits social media could bring to your business.
It’s free after all, so let’s take advantage! Everyone loves that word, and we can’t argue with free when running a business.
Top platforms and tips!
I thought it would be helpful and important to overview some of the most used platforms and what content might work best on them before we cover some major benefits.
Facebook: The largest social media site in the world with 2.5 billion monthly users. Usage is spread evenly amongst males and females and across all demographics, which is good to know in our industry. Lean heavily on:
- short videos
- eye catching images and
- attention-grabbing headlines to attract your audience
- consider, polls, live streams and groups!
Instagram: Initially most popular with teens and young adults, this platform is now becoming the most popular of 2020. It’s the home of influencers, brands, bloggers and small business owners, meaning every business should show a presence or at least dabble. Use:
- beautiful photography
- stunning filters
- selfie style videos that speaks directly to your audience
Linked In: Predominantly a professional networking site. You can develop and build your professional identity and it has developed into somewhere you can learn and find opportunities. Posts should be:
- Professional and informative
- Don’t need to be as short as other platforms
- Imagery should still be used to create personality
- Provide useful information or links for colleges/customers
Twitter: Approximately 300 million monthly users, and research shows that over 40% are using Twitter a few times a day- meaning that users are generally very engaged in the site. Twitter is mainly used by B2B companies, with 60% aged 35-65 and 2/3rds males (again, worth noting in our industry). Communicate:
- Breaking news
- Live communication with customers (e.g. chat)
- Video, images or a witty written tweet
YouTube: Due to the nature of our industry, YouTube is one for you to consider. Tutorials, walk throughs, hints & tips, video driven content is the way forward. At the end of the day we want to help each other and our customers, therefore this platform is a key hub! YouTube is the second most popular search engine behind Google and has over 2 billion users a month! Use:
- Videos! (obviously)
- Short and long both works well
- Mix between informing and entertaining!
Now for benefits social media can bring to your business:
1. Increase brand awareness
This could be viewed, well in my eyes anyway, as the most important advantage of social media. It allows you, across different platforms and audiences to show off your brand culture. This can be done by showing personality, passion and traits that make your brand stand out and look different from all the others (it’s what makes you, you). This will give you a chance to impress your current followers and maybe gain new- from shares or comments.
It’s a live, simple way to ensure your customers know what you are, and what you have to offer. For us, it helps to make sure customers know we’re built up of 3 brands for example.
2. Social Media V Websites
I already mentioned above that social media is free-- lovely. Therefore, what have you got to lose? Nothing, surely. If we compare this to how much a website costs, it’s a no brainer. Those of you that have a website or have investigated a website will have either had to go for it through gritted teeth and a fake smile or, laughed, ‘no way Jose!’
Technically you can do most things that you’d do on your website through social media, some way or another across the platforms. At the least, as mentioned above, you can increase your brand awareness. But you can also make customers aware of your products and what you can offer them- this stuff is important.
If you already have a website, a massive benefit of social media is increasing website traffic. You can include links to products and other information easily, in every post. It’s a win, win.
Another option to consider; if you would like to put money into your social media there is another angle you can take through paid media. It’s worth considering in the future if you get into your social and start reaping the benefits.
3. Partner & link with influencers and the big dogs in your industry!
Think about how many followers you have and then compare that to how many followers your suppliers or industry influencers have? Makes you feel small, right? Well use this information to both of your benefits. Think about all the athletes, actresses and high-profile people out there. Let’s face it, social media makes an impossible task possible when some people manage to interact with these stars, just by tagging them or commenting on something they’ve done. It’s unbelievable really.
We have a similar opportunity with our main suppliers; 3M, Avery Dennison and Arlon Graphics- if we tag them in one of our posts or share something we’ve collaborated on, then our post could reach their followers too. Especially if they share it. Simple really.
4. Customer service, support and feedback - faster, easier communication!
It’s faster now than ever before to get in touch with the right people, quickly without having to pick up the phone. Customers can comment, share and review things in real time with real time feedback and help. This is something I’m sure, businesses have always struggled with.
It allows you to build relationships and become a brand the people can trust. Social media can allow a community in the industry to all see and comment together on inspiring and informative posts (you can even start a private group on Facebook for example).
An interesting group we dabble in is Sign & Wrap Chat, it seems to positively bring the industry together and the dynamic provides value to customers through networking, sharing experiences, knowledge and assisting one another. Why not join?
If a question or feedback from customers is given on social, you can ensure the correct person gets in touch, quickly, creating good customer service. Most importantly, if a problem is resolved quickly and effectively then this will result in better overall feedback and reviews for your business.
5. Analytics- why the new buzz word?!?!
We all may feel that we don’t have time to do posts never mind analyse them, but it is important, worth doing, and above all, quite interesting!
It’s hard for marketers or a business to prove return on investment too, but social media analytics tools can report on activities, follows, engagements, click through rates and customer sentiment (how they feel about you in general).
If you’d like to delve further, Google Analytics is worth a gander too! It’s worth having this information to compare to and refer to as the year goes on. Especially if you have quarterly reviews.
I’m just going to give you some quick examples from our social media analytics so you can grasp what I’m talking about:
Here we have a previous knowledge video post about Knifeless Tape and a customer content post using images. We can see the levels of engagement and how many people they reached; therefore, we can adapt our future posts and keep an eye on what we think our followers want.
Above is a handy one; we can see when our followers are most active, therefore can plan or schedule posts around these times. Why not get as much reach on your posts as possible?
Like Facebook analytics, Twitter does something similar. We can see which content seems to be preforming the best (so we can adapt in future), any new followers, and even see your top follower (you may wish to start networking or building on certain relationships).
I hope these were helpful in putting this new buzz word into context.
In summary, Social Media isn’t going anywhere fast; there are too many advantages to both personal and business users, and with smart phones at the end of everyone’s fingertips it’s more accessible than ever. I’m not saying you must use all the platforms above, but you could pick the most suitable for your business and give it a go. Or if you’re already a user, why not tweak your posts and start using some features you’ve never tried before?
A couple of top tips; try Canva; it’s a simple site/app used for making your posts look more creative and professional. And if you’re using a number of platforms, give Hootsuite a go (there’s a free version). It’s a management platform that can prevent you having to constantly switch screens, repeat posts and most importantly- save time across your ‘social’ week!
Their July 2020 stats shown in the table below will leave you with some food for thought. If you would like to check out William Smith Group 1832’s social accounts, go to the bottom of their website for a flick; if we’re doing our job right, you should find them useful!