8 Crucial Lessons I learned from The Social Chameleon – Guest Blog By MJ Satterthwaite

As a small business owner entering into the world of social media was rather daunting and not to mention time consuming. Lucky for me…I met Carma, The Social Chameleon!

If you are about to embark on a social media journey, here’s the 8 crucial lessons I am thankful not to have learned the hard way!

1. Chat…and someone will chat back!

Conversations evolve if you start them. Social media is the perfect platform to use to engage in a two-way communication strategy with your target audience. You are always doing something interesting in business, so share it! You’ll be surprised at the response when you do.

2. Get in the saddle.. the horse is bolting!

If you are not actively building your business brand on a digital platform you are not connecting with all of your target market. If you haven’t engaged a Social Media Specialist you are riding bare-back; fun for a while but damaging long term! Invest in a professional and enjoy the ride.

3. Provoke thought

Always ask a question or elicit an opinion when you post; encourage your target market to engage with you. End users shape and mold the future of your business….so listen; listen actively!

4. Develop and stick to a Social Media Strategic Plan

The Social Chameleon knows I am not so good at this one! I always get excited and post more than we scheduled! Agree to a plan and stick to it; your audience gets used to hearing from you and will start to look forward to your interactions.

5. Don’t just ‘give it a go!’

Always seek professional advice. You wouldn’t buy a car without learning to drive; so what makes you think you can navigate the world of digital media without an instructor! We enlisted a professional to ensure that our messages were always congruent with our brand messaging and that we were on track to connect with our target audience.

6. Blog! Create! Seek thought credibility

Be passionate about what you do and share it! You go into business as an enthusiast and often a specialist on a particular topic; share your insight with others. Gaining ‘thought credibility’ from your target audience is the best gift they can afford you.

7. It takes time!

Social media marketing takes time, as the Pantene commercial states “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen!’ If your strategy is aligned with your vision and your messaging hits the mark; your target market will engage once they know you are there. Time, patience, persistence; you need to take a longer term view than you may be used to in business; once planned your vision will become more than a dream.

8. Be awesome; be authentic; be you!

Know who you are and what you want out of the digital world. Is it sales you are after? An increase in brand awareness? To be seen as a thought leader in your field? The approach you adopt will be different depending on the outcome you seek.

There is one similarity regardless; always stand out from the crowd; be awesome; be authentic; be you!

 


Maria-Jane has customised and delivered initiatives for the Department of Housing, Department of Transport, Royal Perth Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, Armadale Health Services, West Australian Police, Western Australian Museums, WorkCover, Colonial Leisure Group, Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, Holyoake, Brightwater Care Group, The Centre for Cerebral Palsy, Paramount Health, Airflite, Air Services Australia, Automotive Holdings Group, AMCAP/Covs, Western Australian Cricket Association, Fulton Hogan, Ertech, Western Power, Logsys Power Services, Future Grid, Perth Power Lines, Mobile MOUSe, Home Base Expo, Australian College of Beauty Therapy and the Australasian Academy of Cosmetic Dermal Science, just to name just a few.

Integration: Commonly Misspelt & Undervalued

Some of you already place a value on making sure the marketing of your business is integrated, and by this we mean using consistent messaging and branding – but more than that; by making sure the types of marketing you do and platforms you use are supporting each other to maximum benefit. Integrating your marketing will help you in increasing your brand’s awareness, helping to build strong communities, and saving you time and money.

Awareness

We need to keep our brand elements and messaging consistent so people recognise what our business does and stands for, also making it easier for users to find us and subsequently buy our things and use our services. But just as importantly we need to make sure none of our marketing platforms operate in a vacuum.

For example – if you have an amazing new glossy brochure of all your products, why wouldn’t you use it on your website too? Why not pin the items individually to your Pinterest boards, post on Facebook where people could get hold of your shiny masterpiece – or better yet, make a Facebook app to house it so people can see it from there.

You could target some advertising directly to it, and send the web link to your email subscribers. Then with the help of Google Analytics, your email software metrics and Facebook Insights you can track your views, clicks, etc to see what kind of impact it had.

This is just  a small example of how digital, social, print, and email marketing can all come together – and it might sound like more effort than just producing the brochure alone; but what’s the point spending time making a stunning brochure if you’re not going to make sure as many interested people see it as possible? That would be more of a waste for sure, because we all know we’re only as strong as our weakest link.

But this doesn’t mean you have to do all of this yourself! There are people who can help you in your business and outside of it. Having an integrated marketing strategy doesn’t mean you must have a huge marketing budget and a large team with endless resources. It just means you have a plan – and that plan is thought out to ensure all your channels speak the same language and support your messaging.

Having worked on many social media accounts in the past few years, The Chameleons know the difference between companies that do this well and those that struggle. We’ve seen many lost opportunities where businesses have had major events, sales or received awards and not communicated this to their teams, missing the chance to increase awareness – but more than that in the case of social; letting their audience feel part of their band at grass-roots level.

Growing Your Communities

Your social media communities (providing they have been built the right way) are interested in your business. They want to know about what’s happening in your world because they feel like they are friends with your brand. How would your friends feel if you went to a party without telling them? Or won an award without sharing it with them? Once they found out they might start to question your commitment to the friendship.

Email Marketing & Social Media can work hand in hand: with you being able to convert your customer database to social followers and vice versa. And don’t forget to upload your database to Facebook to use them to help your advertising targeting as mentioned in this previous blog post.

You can also use your offline efforts to promote your social communities. Make sure collateral like business cards and flyers contain your social icons, and use internal venue signage to encourage people to check in, review or follow you while they are in store.

Time Is Money

At the end of the day having an integrated strategy might take more time to come up with, but when you’re ready to roll out you’ll have all the necessary tools to make your efforts a success – without needing to resort to ad hoc methods that ultimately leave you further out-of-pocket.

Often marketing can be about playing a long game, building awareness and trust of your brand. Doing this consistently across all your channels will help you reach this goal more quickly than deciding on Wednesday to do a newspaper campaign that starts Thursday without giving your other channels the time to plan their part.

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As the famous African proverb says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”

Social Media: What Does it all MEAN?

So you have decided to “do” social media for your business. Great! Why? What are you hoping it will help you achieve? It’s knowing the answer to this question that will determine whether your efforts will bear fruit, and the reason so many businesses fail, or simply give up on their social media (or indeed any online or offline) marketing.

The Chameleons hear all the time about how “Facebook doesn’t work” and “Facebook advertising is a waste of money” and “Social Media can’t help my business sell our products” These statements are mostly wrong, but it all depends on what you want out of it as to how you need to go about executing your strategy.

[bctt tweet=”It can be as simple as merely knowing what you want to achieve and taking the steps to do it.”]

It’s pretty simple when you think about it, but because we all use social media profiles we are often blinded to the realities of using it from a business perspective. Let’s take something that’s been around for a bit longer as an example of what we mean, like Television for instance.

Old TV

 

If you were a brand that sold kids toys – would you make a TV ad with lots of dark, gloomy colours? Would you use formal language? Would you show those ads late at night? Of course not! Why? Because it’s not going to [marketing cliché alert] speak to the desired demographic.

It’s the same with social media. You need to understand who your target market is, how they interact online, which platforms they use and try to [another cliché alert] speak their language.

Ok, we get it – but how?

Well, we don’t think there’s one magical recipe for working this out. In the old days there were focus groups, surveys and buyer personas – and yeah, they’re still around, but what it all boils down to is finding out what your customers and potential customers want and need.

[bctt tweet=”You need to understand who your target market is, how they interact online, which platforms they use and try to speak their language.”]

Big brands spend loads of money doing this, often tracking your spending habits with fancy reward programs to give them insight into your spending behaviour. But what can you do as a small business or a brand just starting out?

Ask your customers. Network with other people in your industry who understand your specific industry challenges. Ask people who use your competitors why they chose them and not you. Use what it is that makes your business different and work this into your strategy. And when we say strategy we don’t mean write a 60 page university-style marketing document.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97vPNAUYJsc]

It can be as simple as merely knowing what you want to achieve and taking the steps to do it. Your social media success will not just happen. It needs to be built, crafted, nurtured…do we sound a bit crazy? Maybe. But we’re crazy about doing a great job at social media marketing, and that’s what you become when you promote your brand on social media, social media marketers! It’s probably one of the many hats you wear as someone with a small business!

So back to your goals; here are a couple of quick examples of social media goals your business may have and how you might go about achieving them:

Say you are a new brand, at first you may just want some likes on your Facebook page to give you a little credibility. As social media marketers we can tell you likes don’t matter – but we know that there’s a certain gravity to a page that has fans – the same way you don’t trust eating at an empty restaurant. If this is a short-term goal for your brand you will need to harness the power of your networks.

  • Ask you friends and family to help by liking and sharing your page.
  • Set up your email signature and your website with social buttons so people know that you’re a social brand.
  • Always use the social media icons utilised by your brand on all your printed materials like flyers and menus.

Facebook keyboard

 

But mostly, and you’re probably not going to like this – you’re going to have to run some like ads. Remember, just like with the TV ad example – make sure they will resonate with your desired audience. Use imagery and language they relate to at the times they are watching and you’ll receive the best return.

Say your social media goal is to use it to get more people to your website – you could:

  • Run some web click ads!
  • Post relevant content from your website as links on your social platforms
  • Start a blog to share your original content
  • Have your developer embed some tracking pixels on your website to help you measure your social traffic
  • Set up Google analytics and monitor your social media refferals

Before you do this we suggest you make sure that your site is truly reflective of your brand and has strong messaging. We all know we skim read and make very quick decisions as to whether we stay on a website for more than a few seconds. You need to make sure those seconds count or all the advertising in the world won’t help.

There’s too many different goals you may have as a business to go through them all here – but we did want to touch on one more just quickly.

[bctt tweet=”Social Media is a conversation, and a huge part of conversation is listening!”]

Social Customer Service

Whatever your short terms goals for social media are – always bear in mind the customer service opportunities social media will present you. If you haven’t yet you will at some point have a customer reach out to you on your social media platforms for help with your brands product/s (or service/s) and you need to LISTEN to them.

Social is a conversation.

And a huge part of conversation is listening – and not just to the words but also the tone. If someone reaches out to you about your brand, positive or negative they want to be heard. Obviously positive feedback is much easier to handle, but negative comments are just as important, if not more so.

Someone has taken the time to tell you that something was wrong. Whether it was with the service, the product, the expectation wasn’t met, the delivery, the colour, size, fit – could be anything, but you have the advantage because they came to you so you can fix it. You know why someone is unhappy. That’s infinitely more helpful to your business than your product just not selling, right? Because odds are if one person says it, there are others thinking it too that weren’t “brave” enough to speak out.

conversation bubbles

 

Acknowledge!

This is why you must always take the time to acknowledge their concerns and not pass them of as an isolated incident, even if you’re sure they are. Other users can be waiting to see how you respond, judging whether they too should speak out based on how you handle the situation.

Flip it!

Anyone who has run a business knows that an unhappy client can often be won over into your most loyal fan if they are listened to, acknowledged and have their issues resolved to the best of your ability. And with social media you have the opportunity to do this publicly where you can turn around the opinions of more than the one upset customer, but the others following the progress of the interaction.

Seems a bit scary. Obviously we are referring to regular types of grievances, not major meltdowns or crises, which need to be dealt with in a more cautious way we may cover in a future post.

The last type of interaction with your social media following we want to cover is the neutral post. They aren’t happy clients or disgruntled (love that word – so fun to say) customers, they just have a need for further information about your brand. Embrace them, love them, be excited about the potential of doing business with them in the future! If someone wants to know more about your offerings they want you to talk them into using your business, so don’t leave them waiting and try to share as much friendly detail as you can. They’ll appreciate the effort and you’ll at least get some social media brownie points – and at most a nice fat sale.

So to finish here’s our top tips for what it’s all about:

  • Work out what you want out of your social media presence and plan for that outcome step by step (it won’t happen overnight)
  • Use your target demographics preferences to present your brands images, profile pictures, tone etc that appeal to THEM
  • Always answer ALL your comments as quickly and helpfully as you can
  • Don’t forget it’s SOCIAL – so listen to what your market is telling you

We hope this helps you to make a plan for your social media marketing and set you up for success! As always we’d love your feedback either as comments here or on our social platforms 🙂