Social Media Marketing: What Is It, and How Do I Use It?

digital marketing

Thinking back to only a few years ago, it’s hard to remember life when social media didn’t exist, or what I like to call BSM (Before Social Media). What is now a multibillion dollar industry, is also an integral part of modern society. Yep, that’s right, with 2.80 billion global social media users in 2017 it’s safe to say social media has taken over and invaded all of our lives, whether we like it or not.

With these figures in mind, it makes sense that social media marketing is the most commonly used advertising tool, as well as the most likely tool to help your brand reach the largest audience possible. If you know how to optimize marketing on social media, the online world is yours!

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What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the process of building awareness about you, and your products or services, through various social media platforms. Namely: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and WordPress.

The ultimate goal of any social media marketing campaign is to drive traffic to a website, increase the visibility of a product and build brand awareness, in the form of growing social media followers or new customers. Social media allows you to reach a large number of people at a cost far lower than any other marketing and advertising tool.

Why Social Media Marketing?

At the risk of sounding cheesy and commercial, instead of asking ‘why social media marketing?’, the question must be asked… why NOT social media marketing? With over 50 million small businesses using Facebook Pages to connect with their customers you couldn’t ask for a bigger and more attentive audience.

Nowadays, growing a small business has never been easier thanks to marketing for social media. The benefits of social media marketing are limitless, but to highlight a few;

  1. boosting brand awareness
  2. showing off a brand’s personality
  3. building a reputation
  4. building a trusted audience
  5. driving new customers to your business, and
  6. creating loyal existing customers.

Keep in mind, advertising your brand through any means can only take you so far. The end goal with marketing is to leave a lasting impression on the audience. An impression so ingrained in their minds that a similar image, song, word or phrase that they discovered through your posts, can trigger your brand in their minds. To become unforgettable is ultimately what every business hopes to achieve.

71% of consumers who’ve had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. Which tells us that word of mouth is still very much alive and very much still effective. Use social media to get everyone talking – preferably about your brand!

An example of a brand that has executed their social media strategy superbly is @AirFranceUk. Their Twitter profile provides a great indication as to what their brand is all about, what it stands for, and it also keeps you informed with their private on-goings within the business and around the world.

Air France has brand appropriate posts and interactions, consistent posts (2-3 posts a day), and is quick to respond to any queries or complaints that come their way. Having personally never used Air France or heard much about the brand, after viewing their Twitter profile I feel confident that making use of their services would be a pleasant, positive experience and am very impressed with the brand overall.

Who knew all that could happen just from going through a Twitter profile?

Tips and Best Practices for a Great Social Media Marketing Strategy

1. Decide which social media platform(s) to use

Just because you have access to all the different social media platforms , doesn’t mean that you should actually use them all. Social media marketing for small businesses is more often than not better received on a smaller scale.

Find which platforms best fit the style, tone and product or service of the business and focus your efforts there. If you are new to social media marketing, start off with one or two online pages and expand your brand as you grow and learn.

2. Optimize your social media profiles

Unfortunately, when it comes to your online presence, you can’t pick and choose between quality and quantity. Both are equally as important. If you take anything away from this article let it be this: consistency is key.

The more often you post, the greater your chances of reaching more users, the greater your chances of users discovering your profile, and the greater the chance of growing your following. People want to know that whenever they go online they are guaranteed something new and something interesting from your page.

3. Connect your website or blog with your social media pages

Be sure to optimize your online presence on each platform. If users are scrolling through your website or blog space make sure there are clearly visible and easily accessible links to your various social media pages, and visa versa.

4. Share interesting content

Did you know that visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content? So, when it comes to social media marketing for small businesses, sharable content is the name of the game! Make your content fun, interesting and eye-catching. Get users engaging with your page and make your name known.

5. Be patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your business is no different. Be patient with your online journey, be consistent, preserve and have faith. If you work hard enough at anything, it usually pays off. When it comes to social media marketing it definitely is worth the wait and, if presented correctly, definitely pays off!

Marketing on social media is so much more than it seems. It’s a way to be brilliant, innovative, successful, and constantly update with the world around us. However, it is also time-consuming, stressful and grueling if you’re not all that sure what you’re doing. Creating fresh, consistent, brand appropriate content doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. If you found this article helpful or are interested in boosting your brand for the better, head on over to the Valoro Content Writing page to find out how we can help you.

 

About the Author: Kayleigh Ellis, Valoro Content Specialist

Source: https://www.dreamgrow.com/21-social-media-marketing-statistics/

Trusting the Unknown: The Power of Online Reviews

Online reviews

Looking for a good Italian restaurant in Cape Town? Maybe you want to rent a car to go to Bloukrans Bungy Bridge for the weekend? Or maybe go see sharks in False Bay?

What’s the first thing you do? You Google for different places that offer these services and look at their reviews, right?

Why?

Well the answer is simple, really – you’re looking for feedback from past customers. If you haven’t realized it yet, we rely immensely on online reviews in our personal lives, and there is no exception when it comes to your business.

If potential customers want to know about your business, they Google you too!

An astonishing 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, according to Bright Local’s 2016 Local Customer Review Survey, with 7 out of 10 customers leaving a review for a business when asked to do so.

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Convinced yet? Well how about knowing that 54% of people will visit your website after reading positive reviews, and 90% read less than 10 reviews before making an opinion about your business.

It’s all about the trust you give a potential customer when they’re approaching your business for the first time. Reviews and ratings offer potential customers some kind of social proof and allows them to make decisions with much more confidence.

Did you know that 53% of customers search for local businesses at least once a month, and 69% do this at least 6 times every year. Powerful, isn’t it?

How Do Online Reviews Work?

Now that we’ve established the importance of these reviews, let’s discuss the different types, namely onsite and offsite.

After you’ve provided a service, it’s in your interest to receive feedback on that service. So it may be a good idea to enable customer reviews on your website; this will improve your performance on search rankings in search engines.

However, when potential customers look for a business, it’s the Google My Business result that they’ll see first. This platform, apart from using its own review tool, incorporates data from other customer review sites and directories, such as TripAdvisor or Yelp! into their local search algorithm. This builds a much more complete perspective to customers on your business. This could even have a greater impact on your search rankings than your onsite reviews.

In this way, more reviews will result in higher search visibility. You want to attract constant reviews to keep your visibility fresh, because 73% of people think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant!

“Hey, I’m not happy with your service!”

Now, engaging with customers who’ve posted reviews on your business is always important, especially if they’re negative! But don’t be afraid. In fact, this is your opportunity to show customers that you are committed to them and that you want to see them happy. Both perspectives will be seen by the public: the reviewer’s and yours.

As established by Bazaarvoice, an unaddressed customer review will not only risk repeat business from that person or company but can also push other customers away from your business. Customers are much more likely to buy from a business who responded to their reviews, than those who didn’t. Responses were more likely to be rated as “helpful” by readers, with 71% of customers altering their brand perception when a reply was received.

Always remember: your customers want to see that you care about their concerns. Don’t become defensive, but rather try to understand the concern of the customer. Remember that your reply will be in a public forum so you want to make sure that you’re able to (1) calm the concerns of the customer and (2) show other potential customers that you care about their concerns and try your utmost to address them.

You can also follow these easy steps before replying to a customer.

  1. Cool down, don’t respond impulsively.
  2. Acknowledge the problem and look into it with detail. (And when we say look into it, we mean actually look into it, don’t say you will if you won’t)
  3. Address the situation directly, take charge.
  4. Take the conversation offline so it can be more private and personal, after your first response.
  5. Request contact details to follow up and get more information.
  6. Keep track and document these reviews, they may indicate a particular pain point that needs to be addressed.

This practice will help you to identify key areas of dissatisfaction with the end goal of improving your customer service. Remember to ask your customers for a review or some quick feedback to find out whether they’re happy with your service or not. If the feedback is provided in any setting that is not online, ask for contact details. This will help to establish a feedback loop where you’re able to contact the customer to request further information and address any concerns.

Give Your Success Some Credit

What about the happy clients?

Well, you should engage with them too – give credit where it’s due and thank them for taking the time to review your business. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great channels to interact with your customers; somewhere they expect an interaction with you after leaving a positive comment. It’s a win-win really.

By keeping an eye on the content of your online reviews, you’re able to greatly benefit from them. If they’re positive, you win. If they’re negative and you’re ultimately able to improve the quality of your service, you also win!

The power of online customer reviews has never been stronger. Take action on negative reviews and strengthen the positive ones. If you have any comments or questions on any other aspects of online reviews, feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

 

About the Author: Andrés Portugal, Valoro Consulting Intern

Save Time and Innovate: Using Interns to Grow your Business

interns

With a finite number of hours in a day there is only so much that you can fit in. A part of that needs to be (ideally) sleep, leaving you with less than 24 hours in a day to get through that (often never-ending) to-do list.

Working in an SME often means that the roles and responsibilities of your job change on a daily basis. You find yourself being pulled into tasks that need to be completed when your time may be better spent elsewhere. But many hands make light work and that’s the nature of working in an SME. Everyone pitches in to get shit done.

We get it, you might not be in the position to permanently build your team right now, but that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck without any help. Our solution, is leveraging internship programs!

We’ve got a number of reasons why interns should be used to help grow your business, but this requires some disruption of the ‘traditional’ thinking on internships.

Redefining Thinking on Internships

1. Leverage their knowledge:

First things first, you need to get rid of the mind-set that interns should count themselves lucky to be gaining industry exposure, and that their time is best spent on menial tasks. Rather, you need to establish how you can leverage the fresh, new skills and perspectives of interns to help grow your business.

With advances in technology, universities constantly have to re-evaluate the content that they’re teaching in the classroom. Students are learning skills today that we didn’t even know existed a couple years back. They’re coming in well-informed on the latest technologies and eager to put their newfound skills to good use.

2. Providing a purpose:

Assuming that your interns are either still studying or have recently graduated, they’re likely to form part of the Millennial generation. Being Millennials ourselves, we understand that they want to be passionate about the work they’re doing, they want to be motivated and they want to have some kind of purpose.

This is why confining your interns to coffee-making and data capturing, is probably not going to do much for their motivation, their performance or their perception of your brand. Rather, enabling them to contribute to a bigger purpose, in a real world setting, will arm them with the skills they need to be successful, both in your internship and beyond it.

3. Plan in advance:

Another important component of redefining the way we think about internships is the structure of the internship program itself. Interns are there to learn and it’s up to you to make sure that you invest in them by developing their skills.

Don’t sit around and wait for the intern to arrive and then hand off the smaller tasks that you weren’t able to complete. A much better approach to getting the most out of the internship experience is to plan in advance.

Create a structured plan of the tasks and objectives that you’d like the intern to work on. This plan should include all daily, weekly and monthly tasks that need to be completed. Using collaborative technologies is an easy way to keep track of all intern-related tasks.

Why Listen to Us?

Well, because we’ve seen this movie before. In fact, we’ve acted in it!

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Over the past several months we’ve welcomed four interns at Valoro, all from other parts of the world. We provided them with heaps of responsibility right from day one, and they were treated and respected as remote consultants. We made use of (our favourite collaborative platform) Trello to provide a clear structure of all tasks that needed to be completed, with dates for each milestone and a contact person for any questions.

We  met regularly with our interns and made sure that they felt supported. We offered both praise and constructive criticism where it was due.

The result? Well, you can decide for yourselves.

This is what they had to say:

Anna Sulger: My experience working as an intern for Valoro was both challenging and rewarding. The Valoro team allowed me to immediately test my capabilities as a strategic consultant in a local SME case. I was given the opportunity to form client relationships, analyze key problems in the company’s internal and external health, and identify a time sensitive solution for its business strategy moving forward. This huge responsibility enabled me to create value within the Valoro case and further my own professional development in expanding my skillset. I was fortunate enough to work for a company who trusted their intern and set high expectations, creating a mutually beneficial internship!”

DJ Maimone:My experience with Valoro was nothing short of fantastic. As an intern, I was exposed to almost every facet of Valoro’s business model and was responsible for a wide range of consulting tasks. I came away with knowledge and experience I will be able to talk about in job interviews and with recruiters. Valoro was able to use me in order to help them drive business and also get a fresh perspective on the issues their client was dealing with.”

From a business perspective, the value created by the interns throughout the program was incredible. The collaborative nature of our projects meant that the interns slotted into the team structure right from the beginning. They were responsible for key milestones on live consulting projects, and saved us heaps of time on research and presentations. Not to mention the innovative ideas that they were able to bring to the table.

We cannot recommend using interns to aid your business growth enough! If you follow our tips to create a program that offers sufficient structure and responsibility to keep your interns motivated and engaged, you’ll see the value creation first hand. And who knows, you may just find the perfect candidate that you’d like to keep around even longer.

If you’re looking for a place to start, we’d recommend iXperience.

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