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Social Media Optimisation – Twitter For Businesses 101

social media optimisationIf your business isn’t yet on Twitter, or if you are but you’re not seeing any benefit, then you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Twitter is in the news a lot because its users are constantly getting themselves into trouble or pushing the boundaries of socially (and legally) acceptable behaviour. How much use can a small business really get from the platform, and how should they go about their social media optimisation campaign?

I often write that Twitter is useful for PR because it’s a great equaliser, putting businesses and consumers on the same level and removing some of the barriers to communication that might traditionally be encountered. However, it’s also a profoundly useful marketing tool because it allows you to build trust and get your brand across to potential customers in a completely non-intrusive way. The key to this is the generation of targeted followers and knowledge of the way in which users like to interact.

Social Media Optimisation and Your Valuable Time

Twitter marketing isn’t magic – it’s as simple as convincing leads to ‘follow’ you, keeping them interested with relevant content, and dropping in the occasional promotional message. Your marketing efforts are not seen as intrusive or ‘spammy’ because your followers have a genuine interest in your business. The problem is that this takes time, both to learn the processes involved and to actually do the social media optimisation work itself. As any small business owner will know, time is in short supply. If you’re already working 50+ hours a week within your business, you’re unlikely to want to spend a further few on this. That’s where we come in.

We have access to specialist software, we have intimate knowledge of the platform (we’re all avid Tweeters in our own right), and most importantly, we have the time to dedicate to growing your customer base and effectively marketing your brand. Twitter can generate traffic and add to your bottom line when given the time investment that we can deliver for you.

How to Engage with Potential Customers Online – Social Media

We thought that the readers of this blog might be interested in hearing about Mashable’s list of ‘9 Non-Profits That Get Web Humour‘. This list certainly makes for fun reading, but it also serves as a warning that every business or organisation seeking online social media interaction should heed.

With any type of advertising or marketing, traditional or cutting-edge, offline or online, you need to relate to your target audience. After all, if they don’t pay any attention to what you’re saying, you are unlikely to get the desired increase in sales that made you invest in marketing in the first place. This idea doesn’t seem difficult to grasp for businesses who are operating and marketing themselves in the offline world. Television and print ads are frequently designed and implemented with a particular demographic in mind. It’s rare to see toy adverts on TV during school hours, for example. Ads for makeup or other cosmetic goods always feature conventionally attractive actors. In other words, these efforts are tailored to the customer and to the medium, ensuring that the advertiser is able to obtain maximum value from his investment.

Unfortunately, companies which trade online continue to use the very same tactics that they always have, or simply don’t bother with internet marketing at all. Because there is such a huge potential market available, it’s crucial to maximise the benefit that any internet presence can give to your company. This means that you have to know what sort of person is going to be interested in browsing your site, where they are going to ‘hang out’ online, and how you are going to engage with them in a language that they will both understand and wish to engage with. Humour can be a key part of this, and the internet is home to all sorts of inside jokes and conventions that can be leveraged to encourage conversation.

We know that our clients are too busy running businesses to stay online all day, learning the ins and outs of online etiquette. That’s why we do the work for them by offering social media management services. We know what works and what doesn’t – so leave it with us.

How One Businesswoman Embraced Social Media Management

Mashable.com is currently running a great story about Julie Smolyansky, who inherited the position of CEO at the company her parents started in 2002, and was responsible for deciding the company’s direction at the tender age of 27. Since then, annual sales have increased from $12 million to $80 million and Lifeway Foods’ product has never been more popular. Smolyansky attributes much of this success to her early adoption of social media management. So what is the trendy product that has been embraced by internet users? Kefir, an ancient fermented milk drink. Not exactly the stereotypical subject of online popularity.

The product is made by introducing special ‘Kefir grains’, which are really a mixture of yeast and live bacteria, into milk and allowing the liquid to ferment for 24 hours. The resulting drink is rich in protein and in bacteria, leading some to praise its probiotic effects on the digestive system. Kefir has been around for some 2000 years, and Smolyansky credits its popularity explosion to her adoption of MySpace, Twitter and Facebook at a time when businesses did not commonly use social media services: ‘Everything that we do, we make sure that it’s sharable. We become a friend and a trusted source of information’.

At first, the young CEO attempted to manage the accounts herself alongside her other duties at Lifeway. Having realised that she just did not have the time to effectively engage with potential customers online, she hired a social media management expert in 2009. Nowadays, Lifeway employs 5 social media managers, and Smolyansky seems to suggest that she wishes to expand this even further: ‘We want to do more and more of it. You have to be everywhere’.

Lifeway’s story is an extreme one – few businesses can realistically hope to turn over $80 million each year. This case study does, though, illustrate the potential power of active social media management. If you want to explore the possibilities that social media could hold for your business, give us a call.

Why BJ Mendelson is Wrong About Social Media Management

As is my wont, I picked up a copy of the Metro yesterday during my commute in order to entertain myself during my lunch break. Can you imagine my horror when I read that social media management for businesses is ‘myth and hype… perpetuated by marketers all over the world’? U.S. comedian BJ Mendelson, who himself has over 760,000 Twitter followers, was loaned a two-page spread to inform readers of the great social media swindle. He would have us believe that any business investing in a social media campaign is throwing their money away. I might be biased, but I beg to differ – and I think that most will agree with me.

Social Media Management Isn’t Magic

It’s true that businesses can’t just set up a Facebook page, post a couple of boring company updates, sit back and watch the cash flow into their coffers. It doesn’t work like that. But, contrary to what Mr. Mendelson says, social media profiles are viable business tools. Instead of thinking of them as a way to plaster your slogan and product across a million screens, it’s better to see them as they were designed: as communication platforms.

The fact of the matter is that almost everybody spends a great deal of time online these days, and that for better or worse, social media has replaced more traditional forms of communication. It’s good to have a Facebook page because the majority of your customers probably use Facebook. You’re talking to them on their terms, through a platform that they have chosen. Twitter is excellent for keeping customers up to date with relevant news and for lending your company a distinct personality, due to its informal ‘pub conversation’ nature. From a more individual perspective, it’s hard to deny that Linkedin is a great way to find and engage with others in your industry – there’s a reason that even the least ‘trendy’ of professionals have a profile there.

Our Expertise Brings Real Results

Effective social media management won’t guarantee that your business will go viral and become an internet sensation. That isn’t to say, however, that your page or profile is an exercise in futility. It is possible to engage with existing and potential customers, stimulating sales or increasing brand loyalty – providing that you put out an appropriate message and respect the etiquette of that particular site. That’s where we come in. Our social media management services can provide your business with expertly crafted profiles, including professional graphic design, and the interaction that your customers will respond to. If you don’t believe us, ask our clients – why would they keep using our services, month after month, if they weren’t seeing a return on their investment?

Users Can Now Email Tweets Directly

In a prime example of the proliferation of social media platforms, Twitter users may now email tweets directly to those who don’t use the site.

social media management servicesAlongside the familiar ‘Reply’, ‘Retweet’, and ‘Favorite’ buttons, there is now a ‘More’ option giving keen Tweeters the ability to keep email contacts informed of the latest trends. The user can also add their own comments on the tweet.

Because links contained within the original tweet remain live when they hit the recipient’s email inbox, this could prove to be a valid marketing tool for small businesses who want to draw attention to positive or exciting messages from themselves or influential figures. However, initial reports suggest that the email mechanism used by Twitter results in a high percentage of failed delivery due to overzealous spam filters. This issue will need to be ironed out before the idea can really take off.

Here at I Say! Digital, we keep on top of the latest social media developments so that we can offer your business the best possible return on investment. Check out our social media management services for more info!

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