Business owners and entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly aware that social media is a vital part of any marketing plan. Many of them don’t have a complete understanding of this technology. They don’t know what it is or how to use it. What follows is an edited excerpt from SCORE Business TV, Episode 10, on Social Media Marketing. My two expert guests were Mical Johnson, president of Cyberize Group, and Jason Bearden, CEO of Digital MKTG Pro. The video may be viewed at: https://manasota.score.org/resource/social-media-non-techies
Q: Mical and Jason, what is social media?
A: Social media is like the new town hall. Word of mouth advertising on a digital platform. It’s a great place to get referrals and also to showcase your business.
A: Social media can either heighten your brand, or be detrimental to it. This is based on how people respond to the things that you post. Today, it is essential that you have a social media page for your business.
Q: Mical, how is social media different than SEO?
A: SEO is search engine optimization, and if you think of websites like Google or Bing, where you ask a question and search for specific answers, that’s what SEO is about. With social media, think about how you use Facebook. You may look at the stream and note anything that catches your attention. You have the option to look at or participate in the conversation if it’s of interest to you.
Q: Jason, what are the main social platforms for B2B and B2C?
A: There are several social media marketing platforms that any business can use based on the relevant content and the audience they’re trying to target. You have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Those are some of the more popular platforms today. Most people know Facebook. They have become the experts with regards to social media marketing. Facebook is a good B2B platform. There are over 2 billion people on Facebook. Your customers are on Facebook. You just need to figure out how to find those customers. Utilizing Facebook is a great platform for any business. Other platforms are a bit more specialized, such as LinkedIn for B2B, and Instagram for B2C.
Q: What about Twitter, Jason?
A: Twitter is utilized in the same way. A lot of people don’t understand Twitter. As far as advertising, they don’t seem to be as effective as the other platforms.
A: It really comes down to your audience. When we talk about audience, it’s the customer that you’re trying to reach, whether it’s a business owner or somebody who’s going to buy your widget. Instagram does well in things that are visual because it’s all pictures. If you’re looking at recipes, you can see the food and the outcome. It can be effective with anything in the health and fitness space, and also in the clothing and retail space. Instagram is becoming very popular, especially in these specific categories.
Q: Jason, why is it important for businesses to be involved in social media?
A: It’s the closest form to word of mouth marketing that there is. Word of mouth marketing is the best marketing that you can get. When people are looking up a business or a brand, they go to your website. What’s more effective — and where they’re going to judge you — is by going to your social media platforms. Before your business gets a website up, which is a must, I would advise getting your social media business page up first. You have a better chance of reaching your customers here than on your website. Through social media you can engage with your customer base in real time. In order to be able to respond to your customer base, you have to build a relevant base of people who are interested in your brand.
If you have 100 customers who are relevant to your brand, that’s more powerful than a million people on your page who aren’t relevant to your brand. Start building your brand through your social media marketing platforms because you’re going to be far more effective in gaining new business that way.
Q: Mical, how do you engage your customers and build your brand and customer base?
A: I like to tell the story about the business. When you’re interacting with your customers, tell them what’s going on behind the scenes. Show how your employees interact with customers and with each other. People are more interested in the people and ideas behind the business than just the superficial stuff from the brands like 20 years ago. In the ’70s and ’80s, nobody cared what was going on behind the scenes. Now, especially the younger crowd, they want to look behind the curtain. They want to know how you decided something and the best way to do that is with social media. You can post on your Facebook using audio, video and images.
Q: Jason, what is the most effective way to build engagement?
A: You must have relevant content for your audience. Otherwise, your post will not be optimized because nobody is engaging with your content. Engagement is anytime they like, comment or share one of your posts. There are two aspects to social media: social media management, which comprises your daily posts of relevant content; and social media marketing ads, where you can target cold traffic that might be relevant to your brand. Create an audience that will drive traffic to your brand and also your page.
A: When we talk about content, we mean videos, images and posts. When you find something that is resonating with your customer base, that’s where I recommend using social media advertising. This enables you to get a broader reach than your base. I know they’re passionate and I know they’re interested because of their actions, their engagements, their comments, the likes and the shares. It’s a great low-cost way to acquire new customers by finding the content that’s already engaging in your social media profile and then advertising to a similar audience.
Another method of customer acquisition is choosing some of the best deals that you’ve had within your business that have brought in new customers, and then promote these on social media. If it’s a restaurant, maybe it was a buy one get one free deal or a special Thursday offer. Actively promote these kinds of offers on social media. I recommend that you change the message a little so that it’s more engaging and entertaining for the people who are watching it on social media.
This interview will be continued next week in Part 2.
Dennis Zink is a volunteer, certified mentor and chapter chairman of SCORE Manasota. He is the creator and host of “Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink,” a nationally syndicated business podcast series and SCORE Business TV (centreofinfluence.org). He facilitates CEO roundtables for the Manatee and Venice chambers of commerce, created a MeetUp group, Success Strategies for Business Owners, and is a business consultant. Email him at [email protected]
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