Social Marketing Do’s and Don’ts

dos and dontsTime to go over those social marketing do’s and don’ts! Over time small business has learned more and more about what works and what doesn’t when communicating online. While there isn’t a perfect formula to engagement, there are a few do’s and don’ts that seem to hold true.

Here are a few don’ts that we encourage you to avoid in your social media marketing.

 

Don’t: Ignore your customers and fans.

DO:

  • Social media is all about interaction and response. Your audience of both current and future customers want to hear from you and feel as if your business cares about them. Check out these brands for example!
  • Answer their questions, take in their concerns, throw in some surprises, and give them attention.

Don’t: Let opinions scare you.

DO:

  • Consumers will react positively as well as negatively, but that’s your chance to face your foes and listen to what they have to say. Answer politely and be patient with them. Deleting their comments and messages typically does more harm than good and will often egg the naysayers on.
  • Opinions are opinions and are going to be diverse. Use the negative opinions as a way of showing how your company reacts and handles criticism. This can help you gain more customers, respect, and awareness through the good that you give in return. There are some great examples in this article!

Don’t: Become stagnant.

DO:

  • Constantly remain active on social media, it’s not a place to rest. Keep consumers up-to-date, and keep renovating your sites, profiles, and posts to match the changes. Don’t sacrifice your brand, but keep the conversation fresh.
  • Use multiple social media tactics to create a cross-over value for your communities. Consider providing incentives such as contests to engage your audiences.

Don’tAssume one message fits all.

DO:

  • Knowing your target markets or audience to reach is critical to your marketing. Do you know your customers? Once you identify your targets ensure that you are using the correct social media to reach them. Spend your time and resources on the appropriate targets for your business.
  • Choose wisely what to post, share, like, tweet, etc. These choices will define who you are to your customers.

Don’t: Become “THAT”business.

DO:

  • Don’t bombard your audience with multiple promotions, discounts, and constant status updates about yourself. Instead, use social media as it is meant to be used and be social. Focus on what your audience wants to know.
  • Try posting a Q&A session or give them some tips based on the nature of your business; intrigue them to begin looking for your next post. Let yourself get noticed, don’t push so hard for attention.

Check out other recent posts on our blog including last weeks, Social Media Analytics!

About our Author

Logan Hildebrand is an aspiring intern at the Kansas SBDC and is currently attending Washburn University in pursuit of three degrees: business marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. She has a passion for capturing the awes of consumers through social media and marketing, and has been interning at the state office and the Kansas SBDC at WU for the past 2 years in order to develop her experiences. Adapting to the ever-changing field of marketing and social media is a strength of hers, as well as making a delicious cup of coffee. Her dream is to one day open her own coffee shop and continue her marketing aspirations through that venture. Until then, she will be providing this blog with insightful, interesting, and useful posts to help aid in the development of marketing in businesses that need assistance.

 

Social Media Analytics Made Easy

measureNow that a lot of your work has been put into developing your social media accounts/profiles and you’re beginning to get the hang of things, I bet you’re wondering how you’ll know if and how it’s helping your business, or your boss is trying to figure this out.

So, to help you get your hands around how this, we’ve pulled together some steps you can take in order to see how your social media can be measured.

But before we measure anything we need to know what we’re measuring it against. Before you get started set goals.

What do you want your social media to do for you? Raise awareness? Increase sales? Show who you support and who supports you? That answer will be the basis of the goal you set. For example, if you set as a goal to use social media to increase awareness, you would want to measure likes on Facebook over a period of time, traffic to your website through social media sites, hashtags from twitter, etc. Those items would show the increase in awareness that you were hoping for from your social media presence.

The next item that you might focus on is the channel, or platform, that you’re utilizing. As we shared in one of last week’s posts, determining your channel based on your target market is crucial. More than one is ok, but measurements will be different for each one. Facebook measurements may consist of likes, shares, and contest entries. Twitter can be measured in followers, favorites, re-tweets, and hashtag use. Pinterest metric can be re-pins and followers while Instagram metrics can include hashtags, hearts, and comments. The list for each goes on and on. Knowing where the majority of your audience is, and confirming that through measurement, can help your small business maximize ROI.

Tracking, tracking, tracking…..can you guess what the next step is? Yes, tracking. Tracking is key when measuring the resources (your time, money, etc.) that go into and the return that comes out of contests, campaigns, and giveaways on social media. While online tools can’t track your time, social media provides tools to track and measure your activity. Google Analytics is a frequently used tool, but not the only game online. You can also use these other platform analytic tools to help measure your return from social media.

Finally, if the boss is trying to figure out how social media is impacting your business, it may be worth your time to write a report on your findings. Try these 5 Top Google Analytics Reports for Social Media Marketers by Chris Sietsema or check out these tips and tricks.

Now REVIEW! The final step in any goal-setting process is the review what you’ve done. Based on your findings is it time to find a new channel or approach? Or is your approach on Facebook working, but Instagram not so much? Tweak, test, and keep moving forward. If you need additional help, here are 11 free tools for measuring social media success. And don’t forget, our team of consultants is available to you free of charge as well.

You can find last week’s post HERE.

Contact one of our centers for more assistance.

About our Author

Logan Hildebrand is an aspiring intern at the Kansas SBDC and is currently attending Washburn University in pursuit of three degrees: business marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. She has a passion for capturing the awes of consumers through social media and marketing, and has been interning at the state office and the Kansas SBDC at WU for the past 2 years in order to develop her experiences. Adapting to the ever-changing field of marketing and social media is a strength of hers, as well as making a delicious cup of coffee. Her dream is to one day open her own coffee shop and continue her marketing aspirations through that venture. Until then, she will be providing this blog with insightful, interesting, and useful posts to help aid in the development of marketing in businesses that need assistance.

 

Who should you be watching on Twitter?

twitter

As social media, especially Twitter, plays a bigger role in how businesses are operating and marketing, it’s time to take a look at who’s doing it right.

Ever ask yourself what your small business should be doing, or how the businesses that use social well make it so big in social media? As a network of small business consultants, we get this question frequently.

Sometimes it’s the delivery that makes all of the difference, while other times it’s the response that blows them away. Take Twitter for example. Ever tweeted and received a real life reply from the business you tweeted too? One woman did when she tweeted Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. She was enjoying her time at the hotel even though she wasn’t feeling well. When Kimpton’s team read the tweet, the marketing team notified the hotel. Soup, a card, and hot tea was delivered to her room.

This is par for the course for Kimpton. The team makes it a regular habit to pay attention to birthdays and other events. Kimpton uses social media as a key component in customer relationship management.

In January of this year, Fortune Magazine published the Social Media Superstars 2014. In the article, Fortune includes a list of businesses that have mastered their market when it comes to social media. These businesses are great staples to include in your research, but here are a few more instances where social media involved businesses shine:

Tesco Mobile: A difficult tweet posted by a customer was answered so well that other businesses joined in on a long-lasting twitter feed that resulted in many amused followers. Check out their example to see how they handled the situation and even made it worthwhile here.

Taco Bell: Tweets from Taco Bell can never be predicted. Their humor and seriousness in tweeting can change in an instant and they are not afraid to talk back, send some love, or even butt into another conversation. They do not let the customers run them, but instead collaborate in creating a humorous, but great relationship through tweets. Read Buzzfeed’s “The Best of Taco Bell’s Twitter Account” for some Taco Bell examples.

Delta Airlines: Delta catches a customer tweeting that they’re waiting for a flight. Delta responds by offering to check alternate flights. How’s that for customer service?

These are just a few instances where brands were able to live the brand promise and show the brand personality by listening and then effectively responding to their customers via social media. There are many more examples out there. I encourage you to check out brands you admire through their social media pages, especially their twitter feeds to learn how they’re reacting to both positive and negative customer comments. Remember, a negative tweet or one that is a complaint/concern can be transformed into a strong customer relationship with the right amount of humor, a little sincerity, and some apology gifts.

Interested in reading more? Hootsuite also has a few of the top tweeters and how they brand themselves through their tweets: http://blog.hootsuite.com/brands-awesome-conversations-twitter/.

About our Authors

Logan Hildebrand is an aspiring intern at the Kansas SBDC and is currently attending Washburn University in pursuit of three degrees: business marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. She has a passion for capturing the awes of consumers through social media and marketing, and has been interning at the state office and the Kansas SBDC at WU for the past 2 years in order to develop her experiences. Adapting to the ever-changing field of marketing and social media is a strength of hers, as well as making a delicious cup of coffee. Her dream is to one day open her own coffee shop and continue her marketing aspirations through that venture. Until then, she will be providing this blog with insightful, interesting, and useful posts to help aid in the development of marketing in businesses that need assistance.

Lisa Roberts is the associate state director/marketing and product manager with the Kansas SBDC statewide network. Lisa brings a background of marketing, sales, and media with a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communication to the Kansas SBDC network. She’s been with the team since February 2013. She believes that entrepreneurship is the lifeblood and small business is the backbone of an economy built on free enterprise.

Social Media Channels: Where do you belong?

The Conversation Prism_Brian Solis_Jess3

Social Media Channels: Where Do You Belong?

Ever wonder what social media channels you should invest the time in to market your small business? Or what the purpose of each channel is so you can make a better decision?

If you took the time to check out every social media channel you could use to communicate with your customers the list might just make you throw your hands (or mouse) up in the air, and yell “Forget it!”

But as a business marketer, you know that Forget it! is not an option. Instead you have to find the best channels to communicate with your customers, and perspective customers – in the right place, at the right time, with the right message – while still doing everything else you have to do in a day, right?

So, how do you pick and choose which social media channels to use? How do you prioritize?

We’d suggest that if you’re ready to start, there are two simple ways to approach your initial decision.

First, if you don’t know much, if anything, about your customers’ online behavior, then look at the demographics and other behavioral research of the channels listed in this post. Pick a few that make sense to you and test them out. Photos are an easy place to start. Share some pictures on Instagram or Flickr or Pinterest to draw customers to your website. Then measure the traffic.

If you don’t sell a product and don’t know what to take a picture of, then consider giving customers a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into your business. You don’t need to share anything confidential, or the ingredients to your secret sauce. Just give the public a feel for what happens at Small Business X. It humanizes your brand and builds confidence and trust through something as simple as a photo.

We love how Boulevard Brewing Company takes you behind the scenes. Still unsure? Small Biz Survival gives you more ideas in their post on using Flickr.

Second, if you know more about your customers, then ask them. Ask them informally or formally (via a survey). Some questions you may consider are:

“When you’re shopping for [our product/service] where do you tend to look first?”

“When you’re thinking about buying [our product/service] where do you go first to get your information?” [Then you can ask them to take you step-by-step through their decision journey.]

If someone responds that they “Google it” then ask them what words they use in their searches.

“The last time you purchased our product, what was the process you went through before you made your decision? This question gets deeper into the buying process and may help identify if someone else is influencing the decision.

“If we communicated with you online, what would you want to know? What channels of communication would you want us to use? What is most beneficial for you?”

Whether you have the advantage of asking questions directly of your customers or you have to rely on some existing information, we encourage you to learn more about channels that you may not be aware of – channels that may lead you directly to effective online engagement with your customers.

Want someone to brainstorm with? Or help you work through the process? Our consulting is always free of charge. Contact a center near you to make an appointment with one of our consultants. They’ll be happy to assist.

Social Media Channels

Events

Music

Livecasting

Pictures

Social Bookmarks

Influence

Quantified Self

Social Networks

Blog/Microblogs

Crowd Wisdom

Q&A

Comments

Social Commerce

Social Marketplace

 

Social Streams

Location

Nicheworking

Enterprise

Wiki

Discussion & Forums

Business

Service Networking

Reviews & Ratings

Social Curation

Video

Content/Documents

 

 About our Authors

Logan Hildebrand is an aspiring intern at the Kansas SBDC and is currently attending Washburn University in pursuit of three degrees: business marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. She has a passion for capturing the awes of consumers through social media and marketing, and has been interning at the state office and the Kansas SBDC at WU for the past 2 years in order to develop her experiences. Adapting to the ever-changing field of marketing and social media is a strength of hers, as well as making a delicious cup of coffee. Her dream is to one day open her own coffee shop and continue her marketing aspirations through that venture. Until then, she will be providing this blog with insightful, interesting, and useful posts to help aid in the development of marketing in businesses that need assistance.

Lisa Roberts is the associate state director/marketing and product manager with the Kansas SBDC statewide network. Lisa brings a background of marketing, sales, and media with a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communication to the Kansas SBDC network. She’s been with the team since February 2013. She believes that entrepreneurship is the lifeblood and small business is the backbone of an economy built on free enterprise.

Social Media ABC’s

social media abc building blocks

A social media alphabet for small business

As a small business owner you know that social media is no longer just a way to connect with friends and relatives. It’s a tool, a resource, a series of channels that have transformed into a worldwide marketing and advertising tool for businesses.

On any given day you’ll find a plethora of advice for businesses on how to, when to, and why to use social media. You could spend hours on learning about Facebook or Twitter alone. So, we thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be nice to have a short list of the basics all in one place. Thus, we’ve created the Social Media ABC’s – an alphabet for small business. Enjoy!

A-   Authentic Behavior: Be authentic to your brand, your business, and yourself. Do not let social media change the way that you do business. Personal feelings to a bad review or other negative things can ruin a response to a post, message, or review. Be genuine to who you are as a company and how you run typically.

B-    Brevity: Any post on any social media site should be short and to the point. Long messages will get ignored and passed by. Tell the consumer what they need to know in about 140 characters.

C-    Communicate and Create Content: Communicate with consumers, create a call to action by asking them to respond, share, like, etc. This will increase interaction with content. Content itself should be constantly created. Try not to copy from others, but create raw content through your company. Consumers like to see new things and uniqueness can help your business stand out among competitors.

D-   Disclosure: Disclose only information that is appropriate to be shared among consumers everywhere. Do not go in depth on items personal about the business or leak information that could harm the business or offend other businesses.

E-     Evaluate and Measure: Use analytics provided by the page, analytic measurement pages, or hire a measurement and evaluation team to complete your analytics for you. Watch how customers react, what is popular, how many like there are on posts, how many new likes have been generated as well as views on posts. Base posting techniques on these results as well as compare them to sales increase in your product or service.

F-     Feed Their Curiosity: Show your customers what is going on behind the scenes and bring them into your business. Help them relate and show them that you want them to be a part of your business and not just another customer. They want to see what is going on in order to create the product or service they are purchasing. What is normal work for you, may be something that intrigues and entices consumers.

G-   Generosity and Giving: Giveaways, contests, deals, and specials bring in new customers. When used wisely, these offerings of generosity will bring in new customers that can be maintained for repeat purchases. Too many will lose you money, so be careful. If possible show the behind the scenes of how winners are picked so that consumers better trust that someone wins fairly. Before you begin, however; you must know the rules.

H-   Humor vs Harm: Use humor as you see fit, but watch the type of humor you are using. The jokes and funny posts that you share could be offensive to some. Taking risks is ok as long as you are willing to take the judgment. Beware of appropriateness and the image/voice you are portraying for your business.

I-       Interaction & Influence: By interacting with your market through social media you have another advantage when it comes to influence on their interest and their purchases. The relationship that you create through social media sites will remind those possible customers that you care and they will remember the experience. The better the experience, the more influence you have among interaction with consumers.

J-      Join In: Join in on the fun and show consumers that you are up for the new and innovative. Get them to join in by asking for ideas, comments, and reviews. Ask them what they would like to see, new products or services they would like to have offered, and even what is the most popular things in their life when it comes to choosing products/services like yours.

K-    Know Your Stuff: Know what is appropriate, what is currently trending, and what social media sites attract what customers. Know the type of social media to use in your industry or to reach a certain objective. Know how to answer consumer questions and persuade them to buy via your business.

L-     LISTEN: Pay attention to feedback and what other companies are doing. Listen for your company being mentioned and for other companies /products similar to yours making the headlines. Listen to the changes in social media policies and stay up to date. Listen to what new social media is entering the market and how it is being perceived by consumers. Here are some free tools that can help!

M- Maintain: Maintaining your social media sites is just as important as content and interaction. Maintenance must be constant both with simple posting as well as information updates. As the business changes, the sites should change to match. Hours should be up to date as well as links; pictures should be current and relevant to the company. Keep content appropriate and accurate, keep up-to-date ownership of the site to ensure correct and honest posting, keep privacy as privacy and don’t allow too much personal information out. Bad maintenance can lead to failure or worse, the damaging of your brand.

N-   Network and Niche: Network with the right people and create your niche market to hit. The more people you can connect with, both personal and business-to-business, become connections that can be used later when needed. You can get referred, provide referrals, or even suggest a partnership for something that you both need.

O-   Own the Offline Opportunity: Use social media, but also incorporate it into offline events involving social media through consumers’ eyes. A tweetup for example.

P-    Publish, Publish, Publish: Create a publishing schedule for media to be added and updated. Manually publish everything and do it on a schedule that is constant so that consumers never miss a beat and lose track of you. Daily post, have a weekly update for events and coupon deals, create at least one giveaway or special a month, have a quarterly re-vamp of pictures and content, bi-annually hold a large contest, and annually measure the sites to check posting progress. Most of all know when to post, tweet, and e-mail!

Q-   Quality Questions: Hold Q&A sessions or Tweet events, etc. in order to get response from consumers. Create questions with a purpose to discover more about what your customers want and hope for.

R-    Response: Respond to all inquiries, posts, messages, etc. in a timely manner so that customers recognize that the business cares about their involvement as well as get customers will be happy to get a reply.

S-     Share: Share posts from other businesses that you support, interesting topics, and posts from related to the business social media site.

T-     Trust: Trust is trust; just like in life you must create a means for the consumer to trust you. Make sure that your site is free of bugs, viruses, and infected posts. Make sure that links are secure and that your website locks the customers’ information so that nothing can be stolen. Also show them that they can trust your product or service by providing testimonials, warranties, and stories through social media. Be open with the good and bad to show them how you take care of a problem.

U-   Understand Ubiquity: Social Media is 24-7! Everything is everywhere all of the time. Your business is available to consumers every second of every day, there is not break or shut down period. Businesses must maintain their social media presence and make certain that the business social sites run the same from morning till night.

V-    Value: Create value with posts and other items shared on social media. Do not post just to post or share just so that you have activity that day. Provide a value with your posts that customers can perceive and understand. If there is a value to them, then they will be more willing to click through the post. Value can be created in many ways, but here are some lessons.

W- Work: Social media is no easy task, it takes work, work, and more work. Content needs to be made, posts shared, customers analyzed, information received, questions answered, deals given, contests held, options given, information updated, and much much more! It is a full-time job, not just something that many can handle in the background once the business is on its feet.

X-    Xerox: Copy from anywhere and everywhere, but make sure to give credit as needed.

Y-    You: Be you, be personable. Customers are not robots and hate being treated as such. Be the person behind the social media, but maintain a personable and professional stance when it comes to running social media. You are what connects the consumer to the product/service you offer. You drive the passion and fuel the fire behind what customers are looking for so keep the “you” behind the media. Stay true to who you are.

Z-     Zero Excuses and Catch Your ZZZs: Do not provide excuses to customers or yourself for not keeping up with social media. If social media cannot be up kept then do not take on the challenge of that opportunity yet. No social media is better than a social media that is not present, out-of-date, or taken over by fake and spam accounts. Also catching ZZZ’s when it comes to social media means to take breaks. When social media getting on the nerves or long hours are causing trouble to you, then take a break. Get sleep at night and set scheduled times to post and work on social media for both you and/or the employee in charge of the paged. Don’t let social media run anyone’s life.

 

About the author

Logan Hildebrand is an active intern at the Kansas Small Business Development Center and is currently attending Washburn University in pursuit of 3 degrees: business marketing, management, and entrepreneurship. She has a passion for capturing the awes of consumers through social media and marking and has been interning both here and elsewhere for the past 2 years in order to develop her experiences. Adapting to the ever changing field of marketing and social media is a strong point of hers, as well as making a delicious cup of coffee. Her dream is to one day open her own coffee shop and continue her marketing aspirations through that venture. Until then, she will be providing this blog with insightful, interesting, and useful posts to aid in the development of marketing in businesses that need assistance.