What Everyone Needs to Know About Social Media Marketing

social media marketing

With the myriad of social media channels available to businesses across the web these days, many business owners are wondering where to begin when it comes to getting a presence online and potential exposure to paying customers.

We have consulted on numerous projects in the last few months, and we are finding that there is actually no “one size fits all” solution to social media marketing in 2015, rather it is down to the company owners individual desire to be seen, represented and interacted with.

Here is a brief analysis of the major channels that we would recommend at least some presence online to start with, but levels of engagement can vary:

Twitter – you simply HAVE to be on here. For SEO benefits alone this place is the no.1 in our view. In the next 3-5 years this will be the way your customers will contact you, if they don’t already.

Facebook – your customers personal lives are played out on here. If you can get on their radar (literally, if they Like your page, you come up in their Status Update Feed) then small, helpful articles and reminders to them that you exist will eventually lead them to love you (with the right content!)

LinkedIn – the no.1 site for professionals, if you are a b2b business, this should be your 2nd home (after your website). The ability to target customers, connect, build relationships, share articles, engage on here on a “personal business level” is what sets it apart from the others. It’s a ready made contact list – you just have to build it!

Pinterest – a visual version of social marketing, this can be useful for Graphic Design companies, Hotels, Restaurants, Skin Care/ Beauty and Flower Shops to name a few. People love visual content. Also worth noting: approx.. 75% users are female.

 

Social Media for business

Social Media for business

So if you are considering social media marketing for your business, you might want to consider these to make a start with and see how you would like to position your business.

Social media marketing is now as important in the sales funnel as any other practice. It’s the new PR, Cold Call, Marketing letter, SEO – whatever it is you used to do, you need to start using social media to get your brand out there.

It’s where your customers are!

If you need any help with Social Marketing please don’t hesitate to give us a call at Whirlwind Digital Marketing on 0845 098 3019 or email info@whirlwind.co and we will call you straight back!

Prediction time: top social media trends for the next year

2015 Social Media Descriptions

Making predictions for the future is always an inexact science, but it’s possible to speculate about what might happen.

Given recent trends, it might not be a surprise to know that the focus of social media platforms for the year ahead is very likely to be around two main themes: money and privacy.

So here are a few thoughts on social media over the coming year or so.

New ‘private’ networks with fewer ads will continue to gain ground…

Let’s put it simply: in the past few years people got sick of Facebook changing its privacy settings. People also became wary of their data being logged. There was international outcry at the collection by Facebook of unpublished status updates.

People also got sick of the sinister side of advertising on social media. Many really didn’t like the constant bombardment with adverts for sportswear (if you’ve posted about trainers), restaurants (if you’ve posted about going out for a meal) or even dating sites (if you‘ve changed your status to ‘single’).

In response, many social networks offering more privacy sprung up. Others are offering fewer adverts or none at all.

…and the new networks are likely to be actually private

We’ll all have read about the scandal of private Snapchat images, which were supposed to disappear, making their way onto the wider internet. For some people, privacy is a very big deal. The upshot of this is that users who want complete privacy will flock towards networks where it is offered. These networks, though they may remain niche, will gain significant traction among certain strands of the population.

Social media will give you new ways to shop online

Despite the points made above about advertising and privacy, there are still a lot of people who either don’t care or actively embrace the commercialism of social networks. They quite like the idea of convenient offers popping up on their news feed.

Easy-to-use buy buttons have already been tested by the likes of Twitter and Facebook. When rolled out, these will give companies an easy way to access a huge market of people and an convenient way for people to buy things.

Data from smart devices will become more widespread

Things are moving on from your mate’s latest jogging time and distance being published to Facebook and Twitter. The Internet of Things – data collected by everyday devices like mobile phones, wristbands and even household utilities – will be increasingly influential and evermore useful. Imagine organising an event and stating on the Facebook group invite that there will be snacks. Your social media could soon be reminding you it’s time to take a shopping trip, perhaps sponsored by a supermarket.

Social media: the new PayPal?

Facebook already gives you the opportunity to store your bank details, enabling autofill on hundreds of thousands of online shops. This enables you to more easily complete purchases, provided you’re logged into the network. Could the next step be funds transfers to friends? Acting as the middle man could become a future money-spinner for many social media networks. Expect to see more of this in the coming year.

Social Web Marketing – will it work for your business?

Social web marketing

A lot of our clients often come to us with a problem: that they know they need to be using social web marketing. But they don’t know where to start and when they do make a start on it, they don’t know how to do “it” effectively.

We don’t think Social web marketing should be a mystery, in fact the use of social media for business is a very simple concept. But there are rules to apply if you are going to take it on yourself and make a success of it:

• Regularly post updates – the whole point of Social Media is that you are a live presence. Think of it like a portal of customer service. You want to be seen and always available for comment or opinion, or questions about your product or service.

• Include backlinks in your updates – posting your opinion on local business is one thing, but you need to be balancing this with backlinks to your website for effective social web marketing. After all the goal is to drive customers back to your website once they are engaged. But never force a sale, keep it light, humorous and non-salesy, try something like: “Check out our latest blog, we had fun writing this!”

• Keep it local, use #hashtags – the best way to grow a business is at a local level and this is where your social web marketing enterprise should start: from the ground up. The best way to capitalise is to use local hashtags for your area #london #nottingham #birmingham.  We have found people engage far more at a local level and often ReTweet, ReShare or Like posts that are targeted locally.

So there we have it, a few simple pointers to help you with your social web marketing endeavours for your business.
Remember that you are connecting with humans and, for b2b, other business people and no-one likes to be sold to. Our ethos is engage, expose and grow and all relationships whether they be in business, personal or professional start with a social connection and this is where your social web marketing should start too.

If you need any help with your social web marketing, particularly on a b2b level, we are helping a number of clients maximise their presence online using a range of social media channels. For a no-obligation review of any Social Media Marketing needs drop us a line enquiries@whirlwind.co or call us 0843 216 0636, or reply in the comments and we will call you back!

The Social Media Rainbow vs Traditional Marketing: Time to Shift the Budget a Little?

Social Media Rainbow versus Traditional Paper Marketing

So the Social Media boom is still booming; more and more people out there are continuing to use the web and social media platforms to look for products, services and events and yet SMEs are still struggling to tap into the pot of gold that is at the end of the social rainbow.

I was talking to a fellow business owner a few weeks ago, who had been convinced by a traditional directory company, let’s say (won’t name them here), to sign up to a 12 month ‘exposure’ package with them.

This wide ranging exposure included:

  • A listing on a traditional paper page with the company contact details on it, surrounded by a box.
  • Distribution to around 70,000 households and businesses in a particular area.
  • A listing online, which would come up in a Google search, of course!

In this catchment area (in itself a pretty narrow void), they said people would spend 10 minutes leafing through the said directory, freshly delivered through one of the 70,000 households and businesses doors, find the listing with their own eyes, call; job done – customer gained.

If paper wasn’t their thing, the web savvy customer could also type in the keywords (supplied by the business owner). His business would, of course, pop up right at the top and the customer would get the number, and call up to get the product or service they so desperately desired. For a few hundred quid a month, they promised a massive increase in sales, and a guaranteed income boost.

Old school marketing methods…

Well, I didn’t know whether to continue to chuckle ridiculously at the tired silliness of this little sales ploy, or, become extremely annoyed when I think of the thousands of businesses out there that are being sold old school methods like this, and traditional SEO, to compete with other business owners in order to create some leads and get sales.

A lot of this traditional random ad placing style used to work, and was followed on to the web with the old directory searchy-thing that still abounds, from when the search engine spots were taken for such classic keyphrases as “Golf Clubs” or “Plumbers”

Where is the engagement?

Where’s the true value that the customer gleans to cause them to love your business enough that they get in touch and order the service or product?

It’s just not there. Everyone knows we do business with people, not words or a lined surround which makes your business better than most for some reason…

So, unless you have been savvy enough to research your own audience fully and find out exactly what people are typing in to look for your service, this is flawed from the start anyway. You need to find your market more and more these days – your ideal customers will struggle to find you unless your site has been ranking on the first page of Google since 2001.

Burn after reading?…

Just forget the paper side of things – most of the time they go in the bin, and I can only see a real use for the old fashioned directories at a point when a freak solar flare takes out everyones’ devices, fries all circuit boards in a distribution of 70,000 radius, and you need to go through the directory to get a window fitter to replace the one which the laptop has just been accurately hurled through.

Now that Google, which is pretty much the go to with 90% of online searches being made on the platform, is looking more to a shared and liked social web presence to see the relevance in your site, surely a social media strategy is the way to go?

How do you reach out to potential clients then?

It will take time and effort, as with anything when you want your business to grow. A combination of fanatical research (online, of course), well written, relevant articles and content focused on your business and its benefits, and a cross platform social media approach, which is constantly engaging, relevant and dynamic, is the way to do it I reckon.

We’ll be posting a lot of hints and tips to help you along the way – it’s easy to see the advantages when you get your first sales lead through social media.. And it feels great that all that hard work has paid off!

So the gold is there – ride the rainbow and shift a few of those hard earned pennies into a marketing strategy which embraces social media – get more leads, get more interaction and get more business!

What do you think?

Get in touch now – to see if we can help your business – Please comment and let me know what you think also – Is there still good reason to use adverts printed on dead trees? Am I wrong to dismiss marketing methods like this so easily? – I know a few who would disagree here!

Thanks for reading…

Craig