A summary of Mari Smith’s Crunch Time on how businesses can use social media.
For entrepreneurs, playing with the big boys in cyberspace means integrating social media with your business. Social media is not just another thing that your business does, it is the business itself. This is the new norm for Fortune 500 companies. So says internationally acclaimed social media guru Mari Smith, one of the social media experts around.
I couldn’t agree more. Tuning in to her three-hour web seminar that was broadcast live from California, it was akin to completing a rigorous year-long Master’s degree.
So what’s social media integration? It means everyone in your organization being committed to your business that is grounded in social media. It means the CEO taking time off to talk to customers in a YouTube video or the janitor lending his smile for a picture on your Facebook page. After all, social media is more than sales and services, it’s about building relationships.
With a rock-solid business foundation, social media can amplify awareness and create buzz around your business. It makes your business more than just products and dollar signs; it gives a humanizing face to your brand.
Here’s strong fact given for current social media growth in Asia. The social networking sites used in Asia are little different from the ones used Europe, US and UK, though Facebook still remains the dominant platform.
Don’t worship ‘likes’
That’s my take away from Mari, but she also rightly cautioned against some social media fallacies, sometimes taken as gospel truth by budding entrepreneurs.
The biggest mistake is obsession with social media numbers such as followers on Twitter or ‘likes’ and news feed visibility on Facebook. True, they do help, but returning to the fundamentals of business, the first and foremost question is “do these numbers translate to dollars?”
As a rule of thumb, out of thousands of Facebook ‘likes’, only an average of two percent would engage your content, this is known as the engagement rate. So when the valuable few take notice of you, make full use of the opportunity.
This means making sure your prospective customers have a reason to pay you. It means asking questions like “Am I offering enough products?” and “Are my services worth getting?”
How to Keep Them Coming
Now, the last ingredient is a marketing funnel to make people aware of your business and channel them to your social media platform. There are many ways to do this, but here are three for starters.
Email Marketing – That’s so yesterday? Think again. Not only can you build a list of potential customers, it also allows you to maintain your relationship with them on a personal basis and streamline your email campaign to specific list of customers.
Freebies – Who doesn’t like freebies? Give out content, trials, giveaways so people can have a taste of what you have to offer. If any example is to go by, Mari’s web seminar which bombarded me with very valuable takeaways for the participants.
Authority – If you’re an aspiring author looking to publish a book, publishers will likely Google you up and even check your Facebook or Twitter. This is where your ‘likes’ and followers count. Likewise, if your name is plastered across cyberspace, people will take you and your business seriously. An example to do this is by building your name by authoring suitable content and working with guest bloggers. The Social Media Examiner is one such platform.
Getting Down to the Real Thing: Case Study
Here’s a hands on analysis by Mari of a Facebook page which is done on Hot Seat. The page is by San Diego lawyer Jacob Sapochnick which offers legal services on immigration issues, on its Facebook Page.
Humanizing: Facebook cover picture is what grab eyeballs, so use humanizing images. In Jacob’s case, a joyful lady waving her newly received green card would do great.
Distinguishable: News feed is the main source of information for Facebook users, so how is your post going to stand out of the crazy clutter? Use an eye-catching and distinct profile picture, it’s the only thing that differentiates you from the rest.
Targeted: Notice the target button below your status bar? Go ahead, click it. Your posts can be aimed at specific demographics such as gender, age and language with this function. For Jacob, he can even target specific countries as his business is international.
Keywords: Your Facebook ‘About page’ is indexed by Google, so use suitable keywords in your description for Search Engine Optimization.
Memorable: Get a short URL for your Facebook page so people can remember it.
Interactivity: If you have an office like Jacob, give your visiting customers incentive to check-in on Facebook. Perhaps a discount or even a cookie? This makes their Facebook friends take notice of you. Activating the ‘message’ function is also a good idea for more personal engagement.
Authority: Jacob provides free legal advise on immigration without pressuring people to take up his services. So much so that his Facebook page is the go-to place for reporters wanting information on immigration law. Now, that’s being taken seriously.
Favourite tip: Engagement rate or ER on Face book Page that is above 2% is a good figure as base and improvise from there.
About the author
Elton is the marketing director for Enrich Social Media, an online advertising company specializing in internet marketing services, entrepreneur business coaching and hotel booking solutions. He is an International E-Coach of Youth Employment Network (YEN), a partnership of the United Nations, International Labour Organization, and World Bank and in his social media industry, a certified member of Social Media Summit and Facebook Success Summit USA by Social Media Examiner. Elton has also published a co-authored book called ‘Are You Ready To Be Next Entrepreneur’ which his story has been reviewed by world known personalities worldwide.
Image Credits: Stylegroove
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