The explosion of the social media industry has allowed a considerable number of businesses to launch or move into the online environment; a smart business move considering that most of use spend a minimum of three hours a day using the Internet.
This has changed the game rules for many business strategies, and competition isn’t what it used to be! Without expert direction through the social media environment, SMEs can find themselves powerless in front of market giants that have a lot of pulling power and experience. What do you do? Where do you start? Is anyone actually seeing/hearing you? Follow these easy and practical social media tips to start changing the odds in your favour.
• Develop the right social media image
• Discover where potential customers are
• Express the right brand personality in order to engage your customers
• Entertain your audience and be useful
Many SMEs that are used to working through traditional marketing methods often do themselves an injustice by not embracing the opportunity that social media provides. The numerous social media platforms and techniques can be somewhat overwhelming when approaching them initially. However, the simplest way of making the most of social media is to understand your competition.
Understanding your how your top-level competitors perform within the social environment can help to direct your own strategy, allowing your business to create a polished campaign.
As mentioned above, start by asking, “whom am I competing with?” and name the biggest companies you can think of or research them. Making a ‘top five’ list to research is a good place to start.
Getting the right social media image
Visit your competitor’s page and focus on the details. How is the page designed?
Look at colour themes, headers, pictures, colour blending, and display style. If we take Nike as an example of a market leader, you will notice that all design elements are highly synchronised and everything is centred on sport. A consistent image encourages trust from the consumer.
Know where potential customers are
Introducing your business via various social media platforms is never a bad idea because the stronger your presence is on multiple networks the more exposure your business gets. The main two platforms for all businesses is Facebook and Twitter, as two of the most popular – and therefore profitable – social media networks.
Once you’ve created a Facebook and Twitter account and mapped your competition. Here is a question for you:
“Are my competitors on other networks?”
If they aren’t it is important to weigh up the opportunity to get ahead of them by tapping into a customer pool with less competition and evaluating whether they have chosen to avoid that platform due to a lacking target market. If you choose to go ahead and create a presence, remember to express the same consistent media profile.
Express the right personality for your customers
Using the same competitor list, monitor their activity and look for the following:
• Monitor page likes/followers
This can be done using various tools such as: Pages to Watch section on Facebook, Twitter Counter etc. Look for spikes in their activity and evaluate the cause. Customer profiles resemble each other to a certain degree. Understanding your competitor’s audience might inspire you.
• Look for the communication tone
Friendly, funny or serious? Remember users do not engage with the person behind the business, they engage with the brand. What is your brand’s tone?
• What is the brand using to communicate
Text or interactive media? Different audience profiles prefer different types of communication channels. Some may be too shy to answer text updates while others might feel compelled to express their opinions on an update.
Entertain your audience and be useful
Your competitor list will also provide essential insights for the type of content that customers appreciate and the frequency of the information they release. What ticks the customer’s needs? General content or brand focused? Both? Four posts per day? More? Good morning and good nights?
Adapt your content and be resourceful in the eyes of your customers.
What is your business’ approach towards social networking and why?