Updated: March 22, 2013
As I mentioned in my last post, I was in Cebu recently to talk at the Social Media Influencers Summit 2013.
The event was organized by iNewMedia Online in cooperation with Cebu Bloggers Society, Inc. (CBSi), and the theme for this year was “Trending Forward”.
I was invited to talk about “Social Media for Business” and I’d like to share with you today my presentation below, along with a summary of the important points I mentioned during my talk.
I hope you’ll find these helpful, specially for entrepreneurs who would like to learn more how they can use social media to boost their business.
My discussion on social media began with the question, why use it for your business?
I cited a study which showed that 53% of businesses experienced an increase in sales after they implemented social media marketing strategies. Moreover, I emphasized that this is just one of the many studies already done globally by different organizations, which mostly concluded that social media can indeed bring positive effects to a business.
The next question I answered is how exactly do businesses use social media today. From my own observation, they can simply be divided into three categories:
- Information Portal
- Provide information about the business & products
- Disseminate company news and updates
- Render customer service
- Use as an eCommerce portal
- For lead generation and to reach new markets
- Create brand awareness and strengthen top-of-mind status
- Gain consumer insights
- Discover new opportunities
- Get customer feedback
Next, I gave the audience, which were mostly entrepreneurs and real estate agents, a simple 3-step plan on how they can start on social media.
First is to know your target market. Ask questions such as, what are their demographics and what are their internet habits.
Second is to define your objectives. Social media has a lot of uses, and you should know what you are trying to achieve so you can properly plan your social media strategy.
And last is to finally choose your social media channel which can help you reach your target market and achieve your objectives.
As examples, I mentioned that Twitter is an effective channel for customer support, while Facebook is a strong choice for creating brand awareness. I also emphasized that there are a lot of social media channels out there, and one shouldn’t just limit your strategies to popular networks.
I briefly talked about how I used Foursquare to reach coffee lovers (my target market), to increase traffic to The Thirsty Blogger (my objective) by leaving helpful and interesting tips in different coffee shops around the city. And how a friend of mine uses Pinterest (a photo sharing social network with a large female base), to sell her bags and accessory products (her objective).
I ended my talk by giving a few social media marketing tips.
Create a persona for your brand.
If your brand is a person, will it be a guy or a girl? How old would he/she be? What would be the things he/she likes? What would be his/her personality?
Your brand’s persona should reflect the core values of your business, but he/she must be able to converse with your target market like another human being. This helps makes your business social media account more engaging to your audience.
Tweet – Reply – Retweet
This is the basic rule of engagement in social media, applicable to almost all networks. You can’t just post updates on your account, you must also reply, leave comments and share what your fans and followers are posting.
As most social media consultants would say… your brand should be part of the conversation. This is a very effective way to actually increase your fans and followers.
Don’t hard sell your products.
People hang out in social networks to get updated with their friends, others to pass time. It’s very rare that people go there with a buyer’s mindset, so avoid outright selling of your products because they will consider it as an unwelcome distraction.
Remember that it’s always best to be subtle with your selling techniques in social media. This is common sense, but many brands unfortunately, still do it.
Implement a consistent & strategic content plan
You need to be consistent with your social media efforts. This means posting regular updates, as well as keeping your persona active in the community discussions and conversations.
And if you want your fans and followers to be more engaged with your brand, and become advocates – remember to shape your content based on what your customers love about your brand, but put it in a form that people love sharing.
What do people share on social media? Things that are inspirational, educational, entertaining and helpful to others; things which they can relate to; and of course, visual content such as photos and videos.
For example, if your restaurant is best known for your special spaghetti, then why not occasionally post jokes about spaghetti with your social network. Your fans will love that, and would probably share it to their friends – and thus increasing your reach.
And that’s basically where I ended my 15-minute talk. I did mention a lot of other tips, mostly to answer the questions brought forth by the audience.
Should you wish to learn more, you can read this article in SunStar Cebu about the other topics discussed during the summit.
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Photo credits: Dave Pinero, Mary Jane Cabrera-Nombre and Mike Ignacio