Top Tips on Social Media for Business

Social Media is now the #1 activity on the web overtaking pornography. Nearly every business has an online presence beyond that of it’s website, as WebCreations point out Social Media is not a fad it is a shift in the way we do business. Here we look at our top 6 tips for social media for your business.
To make it easy for the “time sensitive” of you, we’ve summarised each top tip in one sentence and then expanded them below:

  • Tip 1 – Research your market: check out HootSuite to see what people actually like
  • Tip 2 – Define your goals: Always ensure that you know what you’re trying to do, don’t start blindly
  • Tip 3 – Add value: Answer peoples questions and solve their problems
  • Tip 4 – Promote your value: you need to promote your value don’t just expect people to come
  • Tip 5 – Track your time: are you conducting a marketing campaign with limited resources or just having fun?
  • Tip 6 – Reach a balance between work and leisure: make sure you’re having fun and enjoy what you do

Tip 1 – Research your market (Look for the re-tweet)

The most common mistake that people embarking on a social media campaign make is that they head over to Twitter, open an account and start Tweeting.
The first thing you should do is have a look at what else is going on. What are the top ‘tweeters’ in your industry tweeting about? What are the top bloggers writing about? Your first steps in the huge world of social media should be one of research.

Understand where the people are and what they are reading and most importantly what they are engaging with.

Your key metrics should be comments, and retweets. Look what people are engaging with and what they are not. Social media bookmarks will often show how many times the article has been shared, if it’s zero then think again if you’re going to write an article on the same subject matter.

One of the best places to start is HootSuite, this invaluable tool allows you to manage multiple accounts within the main social media sites and affords searching for keywords so when someone mentions your industry to can check out what was said and how people react.

It is good to have a ‘researcher account’ on sites like Twitter. One of the key ways to get followers is to follow someone. Once you choose to follow someone (as long as they are small enough) they should look at your Twitter account and then choose to follow you or not. If you have a new Twitter account or have content in there that’s of little or no value then they’ll have less incentive to follow you. Essentially you only have one chance to make a first impression so make sure it’s a good one.

You should also try to understand key groups’ movements, if you’re trying to get an active twitterer to retweet your content then look at when they tweet. Time your tweets to just before their top points of activity.

Tip 2 – Define Your Goals
The very worst thing you can do is to start social media just thinking ‘you need to be out there’ and have to do something. Ensure that you have at least an idea of what you are trying to achieve.

Your goal can simply be “I want to get 5% of my sales from social media within 6 months”. This is certainly a better goal than “I want to get 5% of my traffic from social media”. You do though have to be careful of last click syndrome, this is where you attribute the lead source to the last action the person did before buying from you. Think of the scenario where a person has been following you on Twitter for a year and then refers you to a friend who types your name into Google finds you and buys from you. Depending on how you record your leads the source of this may be recorded as a referral, or it may be recorded as a Google search, it probably won’t be attributed to the true activity; Twitter.

Our top tip here is to aim for the utopia of tying sales to your social media activity, but also throw in a little bit of vanity stats such as:

  • How many social bookmarks
  • How many re-tweets
  • How many unique viewers
  • How many followers
  • How many incoming links

All of this will tie into your SEO as well, more visitor activity means more links, and more links means a higher ranking in Google. Essentially give the people what they want and set goals that demonstrate you’re giving them what they want.

Tip 3 – Add Value
After you know what people are engaging with, then it’s time to participate, ask yourself the question ‘How can I add value?’

The best way to start here is to address specific problems or questions. So look in the LinkedIn groups. What are people discussing? What issue can you help them with? Then write something and post it in the group.

If you are a HR consultant look for people asking questions on HR, if you offer financial advice look people with questions around finance.

You don’t have to start by writing the content yourself; you can just provide the answer, by directing people to the correct resource does two things:

  • It demonstrates you’re providing value
  • It generates goodwill with the person you just helped

If you can write the content, even better; one of the best pieces of media we wrote was in response to a LinkedIn group asking “Should I buy PCs or Macs for business?” We knocked up an article on our thoughts and experiences and posted it into the group. We got traffic, links and comments all around a piece that we knew people wanted.

Tip 4 – Promote your value

Often people participate in social media to promote their business; this is totally the wrong way to look at it. People engage socially with your value not your business.

Think about how you can promote the value you are giving away. You can’t simply expect people to come to your site because you’ve written a blog post on the top ten cafes in London. Or follow you on Twitter because you send out the 3 best industry pieces of news each day. What you’re doing maybe great but you need to think how you’re going to get it across to people.

If you do your research you’ll know where people hang out digitally, you can comment in those places and strategically choose when to follow people on Twitter. Offering content and abstracts to key bloggers is a great way to increase connections, here you can include content from newsletters (whether yours or other peoples), even use Google AdWords to drive traffic to that key article.

If what you have written or what you do is of value then the effort you spend promoting your content will be returned to you in spades.

Tip 5 – Record how long it took you and what you got out of it
Social Media has a massive unseen cost; your time. It may be that you got 2 new business leads last month from Twitter, but it could be that if you’d have gone to networking events instead of spending so much time on HootSuite then you’d have 4 new business leads rather than 2.

However, recording your time/effort is essential, otherwise you’re not really undertaking a business strategy you’re just having fun.

If you can aggregate all of your business efforts on social media and look at how much it cost the business in total staff time, you may decide that perhaps that billboard doesn’t look too expensive anymore.

Tip 6 – Reach a balance between business and fun
You have to enjoy what you’re doing. If you approach social media with too much of a regimented fashion then it will lose its fluidity, people will disengage from you (maybe not consciously but they will) if your tweets become too regimented.

People use social media because they like it, if you hate the idea and feel like you’re wasting your time but that you must ‘jump on the bandwagon’ you should find someone else in your organisation to spearhead the company’s efforts.

Lucidica provide IT support for SMEs in London, you can learn more about us at our website.