CoffeeCups Ink and the Social Monster conundrum
If I had a penny for every time I read the words social media marketing guru disruptor ninja uber digital agency marketer, I'd be a very rich man.
We're all guilty of trying to impress folks in business with our "marketing speak" but realistically I think people want solutions not necessarily a reason to buy a new dictionary (for all those fancy words marketers speak). With that in mind I thought I'd write a few words about social media and how advertising on them can be a bit less painful.
I've argued previously that there is no way you can advertise properly without a budget. This doesn't have to be huge, even tiny budgets are a good idea in fact because a budget conditions you to the idea of investment and return.
Most people think that the great take up rates of various social media channels mean that they can do things on the cheap and not have to spend any money. I disagree with that logic, and evidently so do all those companies who own the social media streams too.
With that in mind read on for a small description of my suggested recipe, which assumes that we're on the same page about setting a modest budge, running a small advertising campaign and thereafter reading the results to understand what worked and what didn't.
Most social media has now days integrates solutions for advertising. Depending on your business type you may want to pick and choose however which media streams you want to invest time and money on. For example if you have a highly visual business (a photographer for example) it makes little sense not to invest on a pinterest feed! This doesn't mean you cant make do without it but rather that you are likely to see a return by focusing on the right tools...
I would recommend thinking about both how you want to reach your audience (the people likely to read your stuff) and what sort of time you want invest managing that part of your advertising.
It makes no sense whatsoever for instance twitting 95 times an hour if you have deadlines to meet, does it? In that same strand I would be thinking about the kind of processes you enjoy doing online. For example if you love sharing images on Instagram, why not adopt one of those streams for your business?!?
Lastly It goes without saying that one of the main issues small business owners face is that some times they mistake their personal and business social media accounts as being one and the same. I would recommend that you have dual accounts one to represent your business and one for yourself. The benefits here are that you will be able to concentrate on the types of message you put out to suit the specific needs of each account.
Twitter is a great tool that can drive traffic to your website and ultimately through the doors of your business. The small update format is ideal for short to the point messages.
There are two main ways you can manage your twitter business account.
1. you only ever update with information about your own business, effectively making your stream a very long advert
2. you can push content that you genuinely feel passionate about. In our own twitter feed for example (@coffeecupsink) we often put out information about design, typography, space and the occasional fluffy kitten..
A worrying trend on twitter at the moment is random quotes. I personally don't like those. In my opinion quoting for "inspiration" is overdone and can actually switch the more seasoned twitter user off. Having said that what you put out there is up to you, just don't forget to remind your followers of what your business is up to from time to time.
A client once said to me "I do 90% of my business on facebook theses days...". This is increasingly true for a lot of people, especially in the South West of Scotland.
Facebook is great for long form updates and can render a lot of visual content (images/videos) in a more native way than twitter.
Facebook is also great for reaching out to people and chatting in real time. The inclusion of dedicated business pages also means that if you concentrate on this medium you have a way of dividing the labour so to speak, in other words you can manage your business interactions from one login.
We recommend that you invest on some advertising to increase your reach and that you negotiate feedback from your existing customers on that platform, which is a great way to attract more business.
There are of course hundreds of platforms out there... We also use Pinterest, Instagram, G+, and many many more however at the moment CoffeeCups Ink, just like any small business, is concentrating on those platforms that work and are easy to manage.
Speaking of management there are a number of great tools out there which can help you manage your social interactions in a more structured way, Hootsuite and crowdfire being two of them.
Having said that, where those platforms are really stelar is in helping you communicate content but also untying your hands when it comes to business processes. For example you can use Facebook to get rid of logins to your online shop. Or you can use Googles' business apps to get rid of your CRM's monthly tax.
Whatever you choose to do however remember. Make a budget and stick to it. Whether you spend that budget on actual adverts or whether you spend it on monthly fees or making content even, the most important thing to remember is to monitor how well it works or doesn't work and make the right decisions for your business..