Mick Jagger sings the above sentiment in the Rolling Stones’ song ‘Shattered’ written back in the 1970’s. It is just as relevant now when teaching social media to others, not just the ‘how’ but the ‘why’. (Once you grasp the ‘why’, the ‘how’ gets a lot easier.)
What is a cocktail party but social gathering, with the goal to meet other people and get to know them better? In terms a business owner can easily understand, it’s networking. It’s connecting with people and entities with whom you’d like to do business.
Like a large cocktail party, social media’s multiple channels can be dauntingly vast and off-putting. What makes it worth staying and mingling are the aforementioned connections, as well as social media’s ability to help establish your business’s presence locally and on the internet. Yup, we said it – your internet presence, i.e. ranking on search engines. I see we have your attention.
With most social media channels your posts will get indexed by search engines, alerting them that you are being relevant. If you are more relevant than your local competition, who do you think will rank higher on someone’s internet search for your services in your service area? This is good stuff.
But how does it all work? Do you HAVE to be on every social media channel out there? One does not have to be active on every channel. Presence on three to four social media networks is the norm. Find the ones with which you are most comfortable and dabble.
Find Your Voice
Think about how you want your brand to be presented. Who is the best person to represent the voice of your company? It’s you or a trusted member of your staff. Can others do the job for you? Certainly, you receive enough spam email and robo calls hawking these services, but it is a step removed, and though it can be crisp it is not as authentic as your own voice. Find your voice.
Find Your Medium
Do you take video at your business? Youtube and Vine are for you. Do you like taking photos on the job and around town? Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are great opportunities to share. Don’t forget Twitter. You’ve got options!
Don’t think you have the time to make it work? A smart phone can record a photo and a moment for later posting, either sitting in the passenger seat heading towards the next job, at the office after work, or later after dinner at home. Both paid and free tools exist to help with scheduling so you can get work done ahead of time and remove some of the pressure.
Find Your Flow
Presenting your latest offer or deal repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is not ‘doing social media’. It is a part – you get partial credit for that. For full credit you also need to follow other accounts, share some of their posts, like some of their posts, and comment occasionally. It’s interacting. It’s being social. How do you enjoy listening to that one person at a party who talks incessantly about themselves? You likely find yourself looking for the door or hoping for a rescue text or phone call. Don’t make your customers feel that way.
Find Your Sweet Spot
Sure it involves a little trial and error – after all, what works for one company may not work for another – but social media is a must. Figure out what works for your business and what engages your customers – find your sweet spot.
Social media for business is a little like a great chili recipe. There are dozens of viable and successful ways to do it right. The most important thing being: you are the one directing the kitchen.
Care to peer into the mind of an online marketer? If so, we are posting our team’s favorite reads of the week…starting today. These articles will be informative, inspiring, and sometimes funny! Be sure to tune in each Friday to see what we’ve been reading!
Finally, from our resident philosopher Alex, comes this gem:
Your online reputation is vitally important for your business. It doesn’t come from your family, your minister, or your friends. It comes from reviews on sites like Google Maps, Yelp, and Citysearch. Also, social media heavily factors in to your online reputation. Be aware of how your business is perceived in the online world.
Are you putting your business out there in social media? Have you even considered it? You should be. Social media means different things to different people. For businesses, it means connecting with customers and hearing their concerns and feedback. More and more people are using social media to seek out customer service, and to learn about companies they might want to do business with. It is imperative that you be there to answer their questions.
The business marketing landscape has rapidly changed in a short period of time. Small business owners are frequently told that to be successful, they should “be on” social media, but they’re never given an idea why they should be there or how they should go about it. And if you started your business 15 or 20 years ago, you have probably had a hard time even seeing the point in this whole ongoing discussion. So why should you care about being engaged in any kind of online social conversation? Perhaps retired U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki said it best; “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”
Social Participation is Becoming Increasingly Relevant
In our agency, we have seen that social media signals (Tweets, Facebook posts, Google+ posts, etc.) have been playing an increasing role in Google’s search rankings. While not an end-all be-all, Google has seen the value in giving brands and companies a boost in search visibility if they see a lot of social media “chatter” about that company. It is a good sign of a healthy company that connects with its customers, and cares about providing useful information and service to people. Conversely, when customers interact with a company online, it tells Google that the company is engaged, trustworthy, and worth talking about.
So how do you incorporate timely and relevant online social interactions into your business marketing strategy? It turns out, the answer is not much different online than it is offline…
Go Where Your Customers Are
A major reason you need to maintain a presence in social media is the fact that both your potential and existing customers are there. The age demographics bear this out. On Facebook, adults, aged 25 to 34, are the largest user group. However, users aged 55 and older are the fastest growing age group. Twitter, while not as popular as Facebook, commands a large share of the adult population too. Needless to say, there are lots of homeowners among users 25 years and up!
Pinterest and Instagram are relatively newer networks to the social media-sphere, but they are also important. Women, who make many of the household decisions, make up around 70% of the Pinterest user base. Instagram’s user base is more varied, but you’ve got great potential for reach there ever since Facebook purchased it. Because Facebook has a financial stake in promoting it, Instagram is going to show up in front of lots of eyeballs. Again, there are quite a few homeowners that regularly view their Pinterest and Instagram accounts.
All of these numbers about user groups serve as a clear indication that those that aren’t utilizing the various social media networks are missing out on the chance to reach a lot of eyeballs. That’s a lot of eyeballs that own homes that have chimneys that will need cleaning and repairs. You will want to educate those people on your services through your social outlets.
Remember, It’s Not About You, It’s About Them
This brings us to the how part of the social media equation. How do you go about Tweeting and Facebooking and Pinning? First, you need to think about social media as a conversation. If you only post things about your company, you are, in effect, only broadcasting commercials about yourself. Think about it this way. Would you enjoy being around someone who only talks about themselves, and doesn’t engage the people around them? Your potential customers aren’t going to engage with a company that doesn’t engage with them.
This means you should pay attention to what your customers pay attention to. What are the events going on in your local market? Do you sponsor a little league baseball team? What types of volunteer work do you and your employees do? Show people that you are engaged with your local community. Remember, it is possible to talk to people about your community involvement without sounding like you are bragging. Isn’t that what you are already doing when you converse in your real life relationships? There’s that word again: conversation.
Learning By Doing
Why you should participate in social media should now be pretty obvious. That’s where you will find lots of people to network with, and your business will have a greater chance of remaining relevant for years to come. How you participate is not as easily definable, but the best way to learn is to simply do it. Go into the various networks. See how people interact. Talk to people. Again, don’t you already do this type of thing in real life? You know…have conversations.