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Whats all this social business then?

As marketing and brand advisors, we always suggest businesses need to have a presence on social media to interact with an audience and find a new one. But how much is too much and when does it take over from doing the actual work for your clients and customers?

Lets start with the basics. What is it you do and where do your customers come from? If you are not sure, we can make a few assumptions. Trades, for example, like builders, plumbers, gardeners and sparkies will get most of their business through word of mouth. They are often services recommended by others in conversation or when asked for a referral or in a social setting... like "who did your kitchen?" at a house party or "we are doing our bathroom - do you know anyone?"

Professional services spend time on business development through their networking opportunities and gatherings. Some businesses can benefit from a strong LinkedIn presence or a business may get some views on Facebook but the bulk of work also comes from referral and word of mouth.

Hospitality and retail are areas we here at Scoffer Consulting are specialists in and we strongly recommend having an engaged and active social media strategy. Many of the decisions about shopping, eating, drinking and entertaining are influenced by what we read and see on social media. It is imperative your brand is engaged, active and you are frequently refreshing your feeds. It can be with other content not native to your business but try for at least 75% of content generated by you or your customers.

Smaller, home based service offerings also need to have an active social media presence, especially around Facebook groups - when someone in a local or community group online requests a recommendation for a cake decorator or personal trainer in a hyper local environment.

It comes down to knowing where your customers come from, how well you capture data when they visit you online and what you do with the data once you have it. It's great to gather the data and details but doing something with it is necessary or it is a waste of time.

Lets look at the choices you have:

Facebook - the biggest uptake on Facebook is females, over the age of 45 and who are joining to keep in touch with friends and family. This cohort is considered of great influence, many manage the household budget so make decisions about spending. If your business is interested in growing, then this is the right portal for you.

Twitter was always and remains a news portal. If you have a constant stream of news content and information of interest to a broad or global audience, this is for you. From a daily drink special to an ever changing product offering, Twitter can be very effective in growing your audience base. Be careful though, you need to be vigilant in keeping a regular presence.

LinkedIn was dormant for a while but has come back stronger than ever. It is a great channel for making new BD leads, for sales of services or tickets for business events. It is also a place to find mentors and leaders in your sector. Beware however, as some sales spam can turn you off. Be diligent about who you connect with and the purpose.

Instagram is growing week by week. If your product is visual or can be represented visually, then this is the place for your to hang out, business wise. Be mindful what you post and how much and if anyone tells you to use 30 hashtags, smile nicely and back away. Instagram is changing algorithms frequently so make sure you keep up to date with how it works.

Blogs can well be the bane of your existence. Having a blog is great, especially of you have a team of people who each offer a different perspective of your business and have something to say. A blog, for blog's sake becomes a chore, presents a real set of challenges to write, edit and post, and can almost have a negative effect on your brand if they appear to be forced. There are always places for blogs in the right business, but not every business needs one.

A social and digital strategy has to dovetail in to what you are doing - day by day and year on year. Knowing your customer is paramount to success and not easy to define. This is where we come in. Send us an email and we will arrange a cuppa and a chat. Wont cost you anything and might be the best $4 you ever spent.

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