Social media gives businesses the opportunity to go to the customer, rather than the customer coming to the business. But our Head of Digital, John Dibb reported at a recent digital workshop that companies need to appreciate the value of a digital strategy before launching into social media platforms.

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“For any successful social media campaign to deliver there must be a strategy in place, with a series of realistic KPIs, linked to the business objectives of the company. Too many businesses are on social media ‘for the sake of it’ but this attitude undervalues what can be a very useful resource, if utilised correctly.

“Interestingly, at the workshop the majority of the questions were geared towards social media, such as ‘what does success on social media look like’, ‘how do I measure its success’ and ‘how do I convince my colleagues to engage with the company profile’.

"Social media has changed digital marketing in a way similar to when computers were introduced and it is clear there will be some steep learning curves for companies to take if they are to make the most of this platform.”

During the workshop John also gave the audience his top 10 tips on how to fully embrace social media:

  1. Strategy: Any campaign has to align with your business objectives and social media is no different. You must identify what it is you want from social media and how you are going to achieve this. From that, all the other points below will become much easier to identify.

  2. Content: After strategy, this is the make or break of a social media campaign. Invest in this area because if it isn’t right, the campaign simply won’t work.

  3. Money: The biggest stumbling block to any social media campaign is money. Businesses have to see social media as an investment, not a cost, if they are to launch a successful campaign.

  4. Responsive: Social media is a 24/7 entity. It doesn’t sleep and there is no such thing as ‘pulling a tweet’ like you can with print. If someone is engaging with you, responding two days later with a generic response is not appropriate. Instead respond timely and be informative.

  5. Audience: From your marketing strategy you should know who your audience is. Each social media platform has its own audience profiles and so, once you have identified your target audience you can begin to understand which platform is most appropriate to your needs.

  6. Say the right thing: Your content on social media has to be engaging to your audience, however remember that even if you are communicating B2B, your customer is still a consumer and still responds to emotive messaging. Think Human to Human, not B2B or B2C.

  7. Be current: Social media content is always changing and constantly being updated, so your audience will expect the same from your business. You must ensure you are commenting on current news, issues and trends if you are to be engaging.

  8. Do it properly: Be careful with your content and don’t cause offence to your followers. People are highly reactive on social media and it is easy for a simple mistake to become a viral phenomenon.

  9. Collaborate: It is ok to not be a social media expert. If that is the case the important thing is to admit it and seek help, whether that be training or bringing in an agency that has the expertise to achieve your KPIs. It is important, if you choose to do this, that you work in partnership with an external agency, not as supplier and client.

  10. Embrace it: Don’t do social media because ‘your competitor is doing it’ or because ‘someone told you to’. Instead understand what social media can achieve and make it part of your wider marketing strategy.

John concludes: “Social media presents a fantastic opportunity for business and with an appropriate strategy, underpinned by realistic KPIs and the right platform, social media can be one of the most important changes you make to your business. If you choose not to embrace social media your business is at risk of dying out, not today or tomorrow, but in the future. Your customers of today are not your customers of tomorrow, and it is these future customers that are using social media in their everyday lives.”