Social Media

Do you know what social media tool is right for your brand? Check out our table to help you find out.

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that we can’t be everywhere at once. And even if we tried we would spread ourselves too thinly to a point where we would be completely ineffectual. Well once again conventional wisdom has been proved wrong.

Thanks to the internet and social media you, me, us can ‘self-duplicate’ and extend our marketing strategy. Social channels have given us the ability to be everywhere at once; answering questions, providing responses, giving opinions and creating connections. And it applies equally to the B2B or B2C environments. But are we all taking advantage of what social channels have to offer? They can make life so much easier.

Sales and business development activities often relied on the dreaded cold call, which was often followed by the cold shoulder. Now the starting point is a relatively easy-going online conversation: hunt them down, engage them and before you know it you’re best friends.

But before we jump in head-first, let’s have a look to see what social media channel is best for you and what you should and shouldn’t say. Marketing a business is all about what you say and how you say it. Would you walk up to a total stranger at a bar and immediately start talking to them about business or how amazing you are at what you do? Please don’t say yes.

Thousands of people before me have said it and thousands more will say it again – social media is a conversation and should be used as part of your overall brand promotional strategy. Just because Facebook is ‘where everyone is’ doesn’t mean its right for what you’re selling.

So let’s have a look at what I think are the essential channels of the social media landscape and see what’s right for you.

Blog:

Blogging is seen as the ‘flour and eggs’ of any social media strategy and is a place to share your thoughts and opinions NOT to sell your products.

A company blog should act as a tool for communicating with customers and employees, to share knowledge, expertise, experiences that will ultimately build your reputation as an industry authority, while also driving internet traffic to your website. The blog is an under-utilised tool when marketing a business.

Benefits:

  • Profile building
  • Opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader
  • Total control over content
  • Allows visitors to engage emotionally with your brand
  • Improved brand search engine optimisation.

How to use it:

  • Create relevant content
  • Respond to topical events
  • Feature interviews with experts from your area of interest
  • Enable employees to express themselves
  • Post new content frequently.

There is a tendency for many companies to start blogging with a hiss and roar and then to lose impetus very quickly. And nothing looks worse than a blog that features four posts, with the last one dated June 2010.

B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not.

Facebook:

The Social Network: In 2010, the most visited site on the Internet was no longer Google, it was Facebook. No social media channel reaches a broader audience than Facebook.

The key word here is “broad”. Even though we know businesses are active on Facebook, and B2B companies are driving customer acquisition through Facebook, there are still huge personal, rather than business, reasons why people visit Facebook.

Facebook is the hub through which businesses can drive social interaction: get their messages out and receive customer feedback.

Benefits:

  • 800 million users
  • Reconnect with people
  • Share content easily with ‘share’ and ‘like’ buttons
  • Get referrals – friends trust other friends recommendations.

How to use it:

  • Share recent news about your brand
  • Ask questions, run competitions
  • Reward brand advocates.

97% of people who engaged with a brand on Facebook have bought that brand offline.

Twitter:

The Awareness Engine: Twitter is the ultimate outbound messaging tool. Inbound customer communications are quick and to the point, allowing for simple monitoring and management of conversations.

It isn’t what you’re saying on Twitter to promote your brand that is most important. It’s what you can get others to say about you that has the real impact. Driving retweets and interactions can do more for brand exposure than any other social site.

Benefits:

  • Enables you to search for people of interest to follow
  • Easy to use
  • Limited to 140 characters per updates
  • Retweets extends your reach exponentially.

How to use it:

  • Share recent news about brand and activity
  • Tweet from live events
  • Illicit feedback from customers
  • Encourage customers to use Twitter as a support channel.

Whitney Houston’s death was reported 27 minutes before mainstream news agencies.

Linkedin:

The Lead Generation Tool: A social-networking site for business professionals.

Linkedin is great for personal branding and marketing small and large business. In a recent inbound marketing study 45% of B2B marketers acquired a customer directly from Linkedin – higher than any other channel.

Benefits:

  • Facebook for ‘grownups’
  • Connecting with like-minded professionals
  • Extending professional networks
  • Building profile
  • Advertising to targeted audiences.

How to use it:

  • Make connections with key influencers and decisions makers
  • Share business content
  • Participate in professional groups and Q&A.

The average household income of Linkedin users is US$109,000.

YouTube:

Your Personal Channel: A December 2010 Forbes Insight report revealed that 75% of senior executives view work-related videos on business websites at least once a week while 52% watch work-related videos on YouTube once a week.

What this means is that all businesses should develop their marketing strategy with video in mind.

Ideally, a good piece of video content would be deployed on your YouTube channel, on your website, syndicated on other business sites and, most importantly, be tracked and measured.

Benefits:

  • Visual insight into your business, offers, activity
  • Profile building
  • Direct selling tool.

How to use it:

  • Create ‘how to’ videos
  • Share business news and updates
  • Introduce members of the team
  • Cover promotional events.

YouTube now sees 4 billion video views per day – a 25% increase over the past eight months.

Pinterest:

Your online pinboard: Pinterest is the newest in the lineup of social media platforms. It is a virtual pinboard where users collect photos and links of products they love and pin them to boards.

Why use it? Because it generates huge amounts of website traffic – early stats show that it could create more referral traffic to your website than YouTube, Google+ and Linkedin – combined.

Benefits

  • Follow other brands, markets and sectors of interest
  • Provides a visual expression of what your brand stands for.

How to use it:

  • Pin content that you like to boards
  • Create ‘boards’ across different genres and populate
  • Link shared content to your site or partner sites
  • Pin other people’s content
  • Leave comments and respond to feedback.

Daily users have increased by more than 145% since start up in 2012.

Which social media platforms should
you use?

There are many other social media tools and platforms you can use to gain brand awareness, increase your following or engage with your customers. However these are the main ones that you should focus on when developing your brand communication strategy.

And make no bones about it, if you fail to develop a strategy then all you’ll be doing is walking up to someone in a bar who’s too busy listening to someone else’s story to even realise you’re in the room.