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Make social media work for your SME

by Alan Robbins | Jul 22, 2016
  • If you run an SME, engaging with both existing and potential clients via digital platforms should be a priority. We take a look at how to get started promoting and growing your business effectively on social media.

    Online marketing is essential

    About 74% of adults on the internet use social media and 81% of consumers conduct research online before deciding to buy a product or use a new service.

    In addition to this, online marketing allows smaller enterprises the kinds of marketing opportunities that were previously only available to bigger companies with large marketing budgets.

    In order to take advantage of this dynamic marketing landscape, you’ll need to approach your online marketing strategy in a measured and strategic manner.

    Identify your platforms

    Identifying which social media platforms your clients prefer is crucial for success. Users are on a variety of social media networks and targeting two or three that are relevant to your clients is a must. For adult users, the most popular social media networks, as of May 2016, are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    Facebook tends to be more personal, while LinkedIn tends to be more business-orientated. YouTube may or may not be relevant to your business, while Twitter is a mixed bag of users. For instance, B2B clients tend to prefer using LinkedIn, while B2C operations find more success through Facebook.

    Research which network your customers are likely to use. By focusing on the platforms that matter to your business, you are more likely to build a community around your brand.

    Plan how you will interact with clients

    Social media has given customers unprecedented access to businesses. By going online, your company will be directly accessible to the masses and you will have to be cognisant of this.

    Ensure that you have a coherent strategy for dealing with queries, reviews, compliments and complaints. A lot of correspondence and customer service is now done through social media platforms, so it is important to stay on top of this.

    Being online means staying in touch

    A good social media strategy requires you to be proactive. There are a number of software utilities that can help you monitor various social media platforms. Using applications like Hootsuite can make it easy for any small business to monitor its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.

    In addition to monitoring, you can set specific terms that will show up in your feeds when they are mentioned publicly by users on any of the major social networks you have a presence on. This will enable you to join public conversations around issues pertaining to your business or industry.

    Engage, don’t invade

    It will not always be appropriate for you to join a conversation and start promoting your business. Be wary of entering into online conversations where it may be seen as intrusive. There are no hard and fast rules and you will only learn through observation and practice.

    Either hire a social media marketer or monitor your platforms yourself, as this will help you stay abreast of what’s going on in your industry. Take note of the questions people are asking and develop answers to these. Put these answers into an answer bank; when the question comes up, you will be able to answer it quickly and easily.

    Speed and accuracy are important. The more your customers can see that your company is engaging in an efficient and helpful way, the more likely they are to be brand-loyal.

    Have well-defined goals

    Do you want your company’s social media accounts to be places where people can contact you directly? Do you want them to be a source of news for your clients and prospective clients? Some businesses choose to have a mixture of both.

    Whatever you decide, you will only know if you have succeeded by setting clear goals. Do you want to raise brand awareness, or do you want to engage with your audience? Depending on your answer, you will have to focus on different metrics.

    If you know what you want, you can measure this yourself or you can measure the performance of someone you have hired for your social media management.

    Stay on top of things, as these platforms can change quite rapidly.

    Sable International’s SME team specialises in offering UK-based SMEs expert bookkeeping, accounting, and financial management services. Give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7759 7553 or send us an email to find out how we can help.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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