The most common mistake that businesses make with social media is using social media because they feel they have to - “Everyone else is using it, so we should too”. This is particularly true of cultural venues, hoping to capture a younger audience just by having an Instagram account.
Tim Lloyd from Helpful Technology explains why effective social media is all about quality, not quantity.
Using social media for customer service
Start by searching social media to see what people are already saying about your shop or café. You may be surprised at how much it’s already being discussed or photographed! Hopefully you’ll see some nice reviews and compliments, but you may also read some criticism too. That’s OK, because qualitative opportunities are the most valuable - the chance to respond to questions or complaints, and keep customers happy.
Using social media to help share an experience
What are the useful things you can share online to help your potential customers? This may be different to what you want to tell people, or how you’d like them to feel about your business. But it should reflect the things they are looking for, or you suspect they need most. This could be as simple as photos of your most popular products.
Keep it simple
It’s more than likely that whatever you publish online, people will see on a tablet or phone. They may well be on the move and distracted. So keep your messages simple and think about where your audience might be when they see this message. On a bus, with no headphones? Make sure your video has subtitles. Is your audience in a rural area? Don’t ask them to download lots of images or video if bandwidth is a problem. In fact, don’t ask them to do too much at all. Keep your content simple and give your audience a simple call to action: ‘find out more’, share with a friend’, ‘buy now’.
It takes time and a little money
Start small and establish what works, and what doesn’t. You might have a new product to promote, a sale, or an event such as half term to capitalise on. Social media won’t earn the business £000s instantly, but at the very least it should help you become aware of what people are saying online. There’s value in that feedback. Try and avoid aiming for big numbers on social media, at least at first. Better to have a handful of followers who are likely customers, or participate in a few conversations where people are already talking about your business.
Paid-for advertising on social media is almost essential if you’re to make the most of your time and effort. Your content needs to be good quality and relevant to your audience, and a modest investment of just £100 in Facebook advertising will help you target specific postcodes, demographics and interests.
Helpful Technology will be delivering our ACE Masterclass: Getting Started in Social Media on 4 May in London.
More about Helpful Technology.