A social media primer – The intro series

A social media primer - The intro series.

Social media needs no introduction. This is 2015, for heaven’s sake.

Good social media marketing, however, still has a long way to go before it becomes as commonplace as your great aunt’s Candy Crush request. It is a rough science that requires its practitioners to be part creative, part analytical and very, very human.

Even though I could write tomes about the science that goes into running a successful social media page, I can’t prescribe a sure-fire way to succeed with social media marketing, just like I can’t teach someone how to be a nice person.

But, being nice has its advantages, or, in the words of Jules (caution, link contains language that is not exactly safe for work) in Pulp Fiction:

Personality goes a long way

Jules Pulp Fiction

We all have our characters, and these tend to shine through when we communicate with others. The same thing, largely, applies to our social media presence, no matter whether they’re personal or business accounts.

The best social media profiles are just like Mr or Ms popular. They manage to convey an aura of positive energy to the people around them. They create a sense of awe and envy, without being condescending or overbearing. Everybody wants a part of them, or at least to be associated with them.

Be entertaining or interesting

Good social media profiles also have another thing going for them. They are interesting, entertaining or, in certain cases, both. Hit the right balance between being interesting and entertaining and you can be assured that you’ll be a massive hit. John Oliver, for example, manages this perfectly.

If you can’t be interesting or entertaining, then offer value

“But, but…” I can already hear you protesting. How can I be entertaining or interesting if I’m selling something that is essentially boring?

Well, there’s a third factor that can help you out. Offer value. Entertainment and interest are both of immense value, but look at pages like Deal or Deal Today, which are essentially uninteresting and definitely not entertaining. They manage to generate a hell of a lot of good will by offering value to their followers.

And let’s face it. If you’re running a business that needs a Facebook page that can’t be either interesting, entertaining or offers value, then you seriously need to rethink your line of business (or your channel of communication).

Speaking of which, we need to make sure to:

Choose the right medium

Not all channels are created equal. There is no absolute right or wrong social media to choose. For our local readers, Facebook might be the default network to work with since Malta is somewhat obsessed with it, and nothing else. However you should always consider all other options, especially since local usage is growing in other networks and very few businesses are tapping into them.

So where do I start?

So where does this leave us? What should I do if I’m just starting off with my social media efforts?

I’d personally tell any clients I have to start by testing the waters and trying to get a feel for the kind of response you’re getting.

Be human

Post to your business’ page as if you were posting for yourself. See it as a natural extension of your brand, no matter how well defined it is. Always ask yourself whether you would have said what you’re about to type out to a client who just walked into your physical store.

I don’t think you greet people by shouting “SALAMI SANDWICHES – 2.50” in their face when they walk into your restaurant in the morning. But you might tell them something along the lines of: “Good morning, how’s your day? Our special of the day is the salami sandwich.” Do the same with your Facebook page.

Baguette Food

A couple of the eateries around our office (Dobbin’s and Karrot & Ko), in fact, have got this to a tee – they both do a good job of informing their clients what they’re preparing on the day, and I realise that they’ve managed to keep us all coming back to their pages on a daily basis.

They do it by writing friendly posts that are also informative (knowing what food’s available to me is very valuable information). They have also understood how important it is to:

Be punctual

I remember the first few weeks Dobbin’s opened, they’d post their lunch menu and photos at about midday. By then we’d have already been too hungry. We’d have checked out Karrot (or some other places in the vicinity) and ordered food elsewhere.

Timing is not always crucial, but when it is, it just is. Don’t post all your Christmas offers on the 24th of December. Everybody would have bought their presents by then.

It ain’t easy

Also understand that if you might have to have to wait quite a bit before you start seeing concrete results. Building a relationship with your customers will take a fair amount of time – and you can only achieve this by doing a good job of it, consistently.

If you want to help yourself shortcut the process, then you need to be prepared to spend a bit of money. Because there’s a big misconception about social media marketing, but trust me:

It ain’t free

Be prepared to spend some money on growing your online presence. The absolute least you can spend on Facebook is a € (or a $) a day. If your business can’t afford €30/month, then, once again, you probably should not be in business.

Put some marketing budget into your Facebook page and you will immediately start seeing much better results. Good results bring better reach, and better reach brings better results. See what we did there? We created a vicious cycle. Spend more, get more of the free stuff in return too!

And in the end…

This is the end of this very short primer to social media marketing. What do you think? Are you ready to up your game? What do you find hardest (or easiest) about your social presence?

Get serious about your social media marketing, or at least get someone to take it seriously for you. We always tell our clients that we’d prefer it if they’d handle their own social media accounts, but if you don’t know where to start from or if you just don’t have the time and/or expertise to do it yourself – then just drop us a line and we’ll be glad to help you out!

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Richard's Story.

Richard, our CEO, believes that great content is the best way to cultivate an audience of humans who appreciate your brand. In a previous life, Richard was a publisher and then a marketing manager in a US software company.

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