Let’s face it, if people aren’t listening then you aren’t really marketing anything. If you aren’t marketing then you aren’t selling and if you aren’t selling, well then you aren’t really doing business. Since Web 2.0 broke onto the scene back in 2004 the world has been flooded with instantaneous information. It has broken down global and regional barriers, creating a faster, slicker and smoother highway for information.
Web 2.0 has transformed business as we know it. Possibilities are endless, and new connections are merely a click away. Interactive sites brought to life many of the social sites that we know and love today; Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. An internet sub-culture was born, digital spaces created as a meeting point for socially driven people from all corners of the world.
In 2005 there were 1.024 billion internet users. Over a decade later this has risen to 3.174 billion users and continues to grow daily. During the 1st quarter of 2015, 44.7 million adults in the UK (85%) had used the internet within the last three months (Office for National Statistics). Major social platform Facebook alone has 1,550 million active users. Statistics aside, ‘tweeting’ and other phrases are now common in vocabulary enforcing the level that social media has become fully integrated. We have social community managers, social strategists and head of social roles, solely created for the purpose of leveraging the potential that social has for business.
While social media is an excellent asset it can be a drain on time, especially for SME’s. It is important to develop a clear strategy. Social media platforms are multi-faceted. They can be utilised individually or integrated with each other to deliver information seamlessly. It can be difficult for a SME to know which channels they should exist on. As a creative agency, Pale Blue Dot operates within a plethora of social channels specifically selected and optimised depending on the nature of our client’s business. Careful thought must be put into the selection of the right channel. At Pale Blue Dot we are advocates of a strategically planned and tested approach. Crucial to long term success in the export of goods and services via social media is the introduction of a number of phases.
- Research- Before any business ventures into the digital world of social media, time must be spent in the research phase. In this initial phase we conduct a deep analysis of our client’s brand, defining tone of voice, target audience, product/service etc. Understanding these key metrics allows us to create and curate our on-line presence. In order to build trust and further reach, it is important to identify potential key audience members who have significant weight and influence within our target market and seek to build relationships. These relationships should be mutually beneficial through reviews, link backs, retweets, shares and endorsements. Having online advocates increases a business trust and reputation with 66% of people citing consumer opinion as a major barometer for trust (Nielsen). Sustaining these contacts is important and can lead to further partnerships on future ventures and campaigns. Conducting a research phase is fundamental at the outset of any socially driven campaign. Defining which platforms are the best fit for the brand to exist and interact on allowing the brand to quickly take root.
- Content Development- Social Media is a constant stream of content, both reproduced and original. In order for a brand to gain recognition and traction with its desired target audience, it needs to create engaging content. Our number one rule to content generation is ‘would I look at it?’ If you yourself wouldn’t stop to look at it in a newsfeed, then pause and rework it, come back to it a day later. Your content must speak to your audience; it should create a response.
- Brand Values- It is important to maintain brand values across multiple social channels. Consistency across both posts and your tone aids in the creation of trust and brand strength. Integral to any successful business but especially important within export markets. Your consumer can switch between continent specific content with a few keystrokes. Any discrepancies in how the business operates will be glaringly obvious and plant seeds of mistrust. Trust is a business’s greatest strength and once lost is incredibly difficult to regain. Finally before we begin any social media campaign for a client we devise a roadmap to plot the customer engagement journey. Marking specific goals and checkpoints to evaluate and track each posts performance and allow for adjustment as the campaign progresses.
Social Media is a great asset to any business providing access to customers and target audiences 24/7. Breaking down traditional geographical boundaries, allowing an SME to bring its products to new markets.
If you want to talk further about the benefits of social media for business or have a project in mind you can contact us at Pale Blue Dot by email- [email protected], phone +44 28 9031 4415 or socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.