Engagement in Social Media Marketing

social media for small businesses

Social Media Marketing


What is Engagement?

Good question, many people look at the number of likes and shares a post gets on Facebook for example, they see loads of likes and a goodly number of shares and feel complacent that their social media is doing well.

For just a moment, think like a search engine mathematical algorithm. You’ve been given values to assign to different signals, those values added together create a hierarchy of weight for want of a better term. The heavier (or higher) the value, the more important the signal is. Seems simple doesn’t it? But the value can be used for both positive and negative signals. So a high (heavy) value on a negative signal is a very bad thing, while a high (heavy) value on a positive thing is a good thing.

So how much engagement does it take to click a like or share button? How much effort does it take, how much thought? Now think about a comment, not only do you have to click, just as you would to like or share, you have to think about what you’re going to say and you have to type it.

As a mathematical algorithm which do you think would have the most ‘weight’?

Because likes and shares can be manipulated more easily and, because the psychology of likes and shares are different they are of less value than a comment. Naturally that doesn’t mean you don’t want likes and shares, if that’s all you’re getting that’s better than nothing.

Comments are what you get when you post something that really engages people, gets them thinking and, gets them involved. It’s often said that images are the best things to post because they get shared most and that is true but, just getting things shared in a mindless manner does nothing to get you more business, does nothing to build trust, does nothing to promote you as an authority.

You need to stand out from the crowd, you need to offer content that will establish your authority in your field, build trust with potential customers and provide existing customers with such a great experience that they become willing evangelists for you and your brand.

Next time you look at your Facebook stats, ask yourself if what you’re seeing really does indicate you’ve got real engagement or whether it’s just the automatic reaction that people have when they see lots of likes and shares. They copy what others have done regardless of the content.

A facebook post

Facebook Marketing

facebook marketingFacebook marketing is often overlooked by small businesses because they may have tried an ad or two but not had much engagement or results. The problem can be one of several things. The most common I’ve found is that a small business has no idea who their target customer is.

As an example, a coffee shop may have an older clientele, ‘ladies who have elevenses’ anytime of day. I’m sure you’ve seen them, retired in their late sixties and older. They get together to chat and take tea or coffee either every day or once or twice a week.

They’re a loyal customer base but unlikely to be on Facebook, so unlikely to see any marketing you do on Facebook. When marketing on Facebook it’s imperative you know who you want to market to. In our mythical coffee shop, those older ladies may only be a small category of customer. maybe you have some of the ‘millennial’ crowd going in, either for lunch or on the way home, or even on the way to work, picking up a coffee and muffin to go.

These you will find on Facebook and they are worth marketing to. Coupons, special offers, special events. What special events? Well, maybe a coffee shop might do a ‘coffee tasting’ to educate people about the different types of coffee. Maybe the coffee shop has a new cake, muffin, biscuit or savoury snack they want to introduce.

This makes a great little campaign as you can advertise it on Facebook, then take pictures and get opinions on the night and post those to Facebook to show others.

Which ads to use on Facebook?

With our fictitious coffee shop above, they’d use an advert to promote the event, either clicking through to the website or, booking directly on the coffee shop’s Facebook page. Targeting the right demographic and geographic area.

Then boosting the post they put up on the page showing how the event went (always getting permission from the event attendees to publicise their photos). You can boost a post so that it gets seen by more people which will encourage people to like your page.

Think of Facebook as the place you introduce yourself and your business. It’s where you can show people who you are and what you do. It’s a place to have fun and at the same time do some serious marketing.

  • Decide who you want to market to, age range, geographic area, interests
  • Choose whether you’re going to send them to an appropriate page on your website, or back to your Facebook page.
  • Decide whether you’re going to ‘boost’ a post or create an ad.
  • Create the ad.
  • Decide on your budget.
  • Choose a time span.
  • Submit the ad for approval.

Of course there’s much more to it than that but basically those steps are what you need. Naturally you’ll need to do research to decide who your target market is. Then you’ll need to decide what your objective is in placing the ad. Is it getting people to click through to your website? Have you got a special offer people can take up? What exactly is your purpose in placing the ad?

All of these things need to be decided before you place the ad, this where so many small businesses fall down. They just advertise their product or service and offer nothing of value for people to keep coming back to the Facebook page.

In fact most small businesses don’t use Facebook correctly at all. It’s not a place where all you do is ‘sell’. It’s about getting to know people and allowing them to get to know you and your business. So find interesting things to post, some relevant to your niche, some just about life in general. Post things to make people smile or be inspired. Only post about your business if it’s interesting or informative and only post sales messages around 2 to 3 times for every 7 to 8 posts.

Hopefully you’ve found this a little helpful, need more? Check out our services page to see if we can help you or call +44 2921 28 7350 in the UK or +1 602-334-0527 in the US.

Social Media Marketing

What is social media marketing?

It could be advertising on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. It could be spreading your sales message across those same social networks. I like to think of it as communicating on social sites to engage your potential customers, build trust and connections and promote your values, brand and ideals. Those people who match you will naturally be more inclined to do business with you.

Using Social Media For Marketing

social media marketing influenceIf you search on the web for social media marketing you’ll find a bewildering array of articles, blog posts, videos and white papers, all offering advice of some sort.

If you were to search the Google Webmaster forums for how important social media is to getting taken seriously by Google, you’d again find an impressive amount of advice. So the question is, why do so many small and medium businesses still shy away from engaging in social media?

At first sight it could be because the headlines are confusing, take this one for example

Which at first glance would seem to contradict the hype around social media, read on though and you’ll see the real picture emerging. This report indicates that the benefit to businesses from social media is in the ‘influence chain’ where many instances of the brand being noticed causes a consumer to trust the brand more.

It’s been known for many years that any sort of advertising or marketing needs for the most part to be repeated before consumers will buy. This means that before someone trusts you enough to make a purchase your name needs to seep into their subconscious.

Of course this is superseded by word of mouth from close family, friends and colleagues, because we tend to trust the judgement of the closest to us and so don’t need to trust the company. We trust the person making the recommendation not to refer us to a company or person they don’t trust.

This word of mouth marketing in the off line world is quite restricted, it only really occurs with those with whom we socialize the most. On line however it’s a vastly different story. We can and do socialize on line more regularly than we do off line. We can ‘chat’ with friends on Facebook on the way to and from work, while shopping and even while out in a restaurant or cinema.

On line, we can ask our ‘friends’ what they think about services, products and people and often get back immediate responses. This is where the ‘influence train’ can be seen working, you may see an ad on Facebook, you see it many times but you do nothing. Then one day you mention you’re think of buying whatever product that ad was for, you ask if anyone else has any experience with it.

Your friends reply and often you’ll go straight to the corporate website or to a review site to check further. You never click the ad but, seeing it time after time, influenced you to enquire further. Of course, if the company has a Facebook page and one of your friends ‘like’ the page, the influence now that you know someone who thinks this company or product ‘safe’ enough to like it. Even if you’ve never noticed the ad before, you probably will now because you’ve been made aware of it from a ‘trusted’ source.

You may decide to ‘like’ the page too, your friends will see this and you’ve now become someone else’s ‘trusted’ source. That’s influence at work on social media and only on one site. Image that effect multi[lied over several social media sites like Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google + pages.

Social media, even if it doesn’t bring direct sales is still crucial to your marketing mix and you ignore it at your peril.

Social Media – Can you really afford to ignore it?

social media for small businessesFor those small businesses that still think Social Media is not for them, it’s time to wake up.
If your prospective customers expect to find you on Facebook and Twitter, then hadn’t you better be there?

If they can’t find you, but can find a competitor, who’s going to get the business?

Most small businesses start out ‘doing’ social media by posting lots of ‘sales’ type messages.
Then wonder why people don’t respond. Guess what? People go on social media sites to be social!
Obviously you can sometimes post about your products, especially when you have special offers.

What are you going to do with Social Media? Have you got both a Social Media policy and strategy?

      • Have you clear guidelines for employees?
      • Do they know what they can and can’t post to their own SM profiles?
      • Are you going to manage your 5M campaigns or are you going to appoint someone in your company to be responsible?

Either way you need to have a plan of action. You need to know what you want to achieve, how long it should take and how you’re going to get there.
You need to know the steps along the way and what tools you should use.

Tools you ask? Yes, tools, things to engage people and get them participating in SM with you.

  • Polls
  • Contests
  • Questions
  • Survey
  • Images.
  • Videos
  • Podcasts.

All these are tools you can use to connect and interact with your existing and prospective customers.
Ask them what they want, how they feel. Post images to make them laugh, cry or wonder. Post videos that do the same.
Create videos that educate them about your product or service. Do it in a way that entertains (see Will It Blend on Youtube).

  • Create competitions for them to create content for you.
  • Help them understand how to get the best out of your product or service.
  • Ask how they use your product or service, share it with everyone.
  • Offer discounts only available to your followers.

Remember always that there is fierce competition out there and that the consumer has more choice today than at any other time.
Consumers are better educated now too, research is so easy to do, so always bear in mind the question the consumer is asking. “What’s in it for me?”
Will it save them money, improve their life, make them smarter, better looking or raise their status.
What exactly will your product or service or the content you post on Social Media, your blog or anywhere else actually do for them?
This is at the heart of how to use SM for your business. By focusing on how you can help the consumer, you automatically position yourself as the expert they can trust.
You begin to dominate the place the majority of your customers hang out on line, Social Media.