Emily Naismith is a highly respected social media manager. She is co-facilitator of Social Media Club Melbourne, Creator of @emojifoodreview and the Social Media Lead at Clemenger BBDO.
1. How can social media marketing help small to medium businesses or organisations?
Social media marketing can help you in so many ways! You can talk directly with customers and build strong ties with them, test the waters on new products or services and help build your reputation as a leader in your area of expertise.
2. With so many different social media platforms to choose from, how should a business decide which one(s) are right for them?
It’s a bad sign when a restaurant has 300 items on their menu… you’d rather pick from 5 items that you know are all delicious, not take a stab at the 24th variation of stir-fry listed. Use this theory when planning what social accounts to use. There’s no point spreading yourself thin and tackling all social media marketing platforms. Just pick one or two and do them really well.
Think about what kind of content you can create to best showcase your business and skills. If you’re an interior designer or chef, that may be visual content; if you’re a lawyer, it may be long-form written content. Then pick the social platform that best aligns to that kind of content. Visual content works best on Instagram and Pinterest, while Twitter and LinkedIn are really great for getting long-form content out there.
Another point to consider is where your customers or potential customers actually are. Are there specific groups on Facebook that are aligned to your business? Are there LinkedIn conversations you could contribute to? Where are people when they need your service or product and what type of social media platform are they using? Thinking about these kinds of questions before you dive into social media can help you direct your time and energy to where you will see the best results.
3. What tips have you got in regards to making the most effective usage of social media?
Try and build a community around your business. Having conversations and getting feedback from customers is really important. A community member who feels like they’ve been listened to or that has a one-on-one relationship with you will be more likely to recommend your business to friends. Always try and give back to your community too, don’t just sell to them. Ask for their input, share your knowledge and surprise them.
Try to spot opportunities. A passionate fan comment met with an even more passionate response may be treasured or shared, or a well-crafted tweet that ties into current events might take off.
Social media can also be a great way to test the waters about a new product before you release it. If you can’t make a decision on the name or colour of your latest product, open it up to your fans. This is a great way to strengthen the connection between community members and your business, plus you know you’ll be making the decisions your fans want.
4. How can a business build up its followers on social media?
Have real conversations with people. It sounds obvious, but it can easily be forgotten if you’re constantly thinking about ‘likes’, shares and retweets. Follow people in similar fields to you and take a genuine interest in what they’re doing. This takes time and there’s no way to automate it, but it will pay off. If you’re passionate about what you do, it should come pretty naturally.
It’s also important to think about the value of followers. Just because you have 1000 likes on your Facebook page, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a strong community built around your business. Two hundred passionate and committed followers can be more valuable to your business than 1000 followers who just liked your page because they wanted to win an iPad.
5. What resources such as blogs, books, the club you help run etc.. would you recommend for further practical information on social media marketing.
As we speak there’s probably some new social media service launching or Facebook is changing it’s algorithm… so it’s definitely a challenge to stay on top of all the changes. I use Feedly, which is an aggregator service that brings in all the latest news in all the different categories I’m interested in. I regularly read a shitload of blogs to keep up to date, but for practical social media advice and tips I go to Social Media Examiner, Social Times or Brian Solis’s blog. Usually the social media platforms themselves have great ‘how to’ guides if you want to go straight to the source.
Finally, you could attend Social Media Club Melbourne events (I help put them together). We aim to make them a great way to learn more from people who are doing interesting things using social media from all different business perspectives. You can follow us on Twitter (@SMCMelb) and/or sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about new events.
What about you – have you got any comments or additional social media tips you would like to share? We would love to hear from you.