- GETTING STARTING IN SOCIAL MEDIA
- SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS
- MONITORING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
- ONLINE TRAVEL REVIEW SITES
- LINKED IN
Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, describes social media as a “term used to describe the type of media based on conversations and interactions between people online”. It encompasses things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and FourSquare.
Social media presents a new way to market your business. Did you know that your customers might be:
- Taking a photo at your business and then posting it on their Facebook wall.
- ’Checking-in’ at your business on Facebook so that all their friends can see where they have been and what they have been up to.
- Recommending or criticising your business to their friends via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Your customers could be talking about you whether you like it or not. Can you afford not to join in?
STEP 1 – RESEARCH
Research where your business is being talked about and ask your customers which social media platforms they are using and what they are using them for. This will give you a better idea of which platforms will work for your target market.
STEP 2 – ENGAGE AND INTERACT
Start to participate in the platforms that your business is being talked about and that your customers are using. The easiest way to do this is to comment on posts, ‘follow’ relevant pages and persons, and respond directly to comments about your business.
STEP 3 – START YOUR OWN CAMPAIGNS
If you have followed the first two steps you are now ready to start your own social media campaign. Just remember to use all the information you have gathered in your research to target the right customers using the right platforms.
- Social media is about connecting, communicating and relationship building.
- Don’t SPAM your customers, sometimes less is more.
- Don’t spruik your wares; social media is not a tool for selling!
- Don’t try and tackle all social media at once, pick one or two things that are going to work and focus on those.
- Treat social media as a massive word of mouth marketing tool.
- Use the demographic and geographic tools of social media and hone in to your customers as much as you can.
- You don’t need to post something new and exciting every minute, once a week is plenty.
If social media forms a large part of your marketing plan, maybe you should consider spending time monitoring your various social media platforms to gain a better understanding of your customers and your competitors. Here are a few monitoring services that specialise in social media –
Facebook is a social networking site for individuals and, more recently, businesses. It is used as a tool to stay in touch with friends and keep up to date on events and topics. Many businesses are using Facebook to form a community with their customers. It is free to set up a Facebook business page that people can join by hitting the ‘like’ button.
Facebook advertising works in a similar way to Google AdWords in that it is 'pay per click' or 'pay by impression'. It appears on the right hand side of a user's Facebook page.
The features and benefits include:
- Being very targeted - age, location, sex and interests
- Having massive exposure for minimal costs
- The ease of set up/removal, controlling daily spend and key words
- The ability to add an image
7 BASIC FACEBOOK TIPS
- Secure your Facebook URL www.facebook.com/yourbusinessname
- Don't use Facebook as a way to sell. If you find an interesting article on the internet post it onto your Facebook page.
- Include a 'like' button widget or link to Facebook on the home page of your website. This may lead to more followers and activity on your website.
- 'Like' pages that are similar to yours. A flow on effect may happen if your name is out there.
- Don't be afraid to comment on other peoples' posts. The more activity the better.
- Use Facebook to promote an event you are hosting in your region, or use it to promote specials or packages.
- Brand your Facebook page. It will be clearly recognisable as your business.
Twitter can be described as micro blogging. Users send ‘Tweets’ that are text-based posts of up to 140 characters. It is sometimes described as "SMS of the Internet." Twitter tells people what they care about, as it is happening in the world, in real time. Businesses owners use Twitter in a similar way to Facebook, to stay in touch with customers, build relationships and offer educational insights.
- Use Twitter's search function to find out what is happening. Is your business being 'tweeted' about? Are your competitors using this marketing tool? What is being said about your region?
- If people are talking about your region, do you have anything interesting to add?
- Engage and add value and people with automatically start to follow you.
- Keep the information fresh and fun. Have several employees tweeting.
- Ask your potential customers what they are looking for. Twitter is great to get opinions.
You Tube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos. It is not just for posting outrageous videos of animals doing weird and wonderful things; it can also be used as a powerful business tool.
YouTube is free, easy to use and consumers love watching video footage. Video is also great for search engine optimisation. You Tube is operated as a subsidiary of Google.
YOU TUBE IDEAS
- Upload recordings of presentations you’ve given.
- Create short videos of useful travel tips for your region.
- Video someone famous enjoying your experience (get permission first!).
- Post customer video testimonials.
- Put together a fun, creative video explaining your product or service.
- Video something weird and wonderful from your region. What you might find ordinary will be extraordinary to someone else!
- Video snippets from an event that you have hosted.
- Ask others to use your business or product in their videos (like product placement in movies) and cross-promote each other.
- Run a contest on You Tube - ask people to load videos showcasing their experience or tourism region and give a prize to the best entry.
- Add Call-to-Action overlays to your videos to drive traffic to your web site.
- Display company information in every video including name, URL, phone number and email address.
- Answer customer-specific questions using videos. Imagine how surprised a customer will be when you point them to a video with the answer!
MONITORING YOU TUBE
You Tube offers every user free analytics data via the “Insight” button on every uploaded video. This free-to-view info can offer you some valuable insights about your target market, including how users came across your video and the popular links they followed to get there.
To get started with You Tube visit: www.youtube.com/t/about_getting_started
Many people who are about to embark on a holiday like to get the inside scoop on what a destination or hotel is really like from genuine tourists. There are some websites that have been established for this very purpose. They post reviews given by actual tourists about their experiences, whether they are good or bad. Some sites also link to booking agents and have travel blogs and forums, for example:
These websites can be an excellent way to promote your business as they often have marketing options for businesses and tourism associations. It is also a good way to find out what people are saying about your business – if it is bad, then act on it. Write a comment apologising for the bad experience and offering some sort of compensation.
You can receive notifications of new reviews via email, or through a link from your website to the reviews, enabling you to track your customer satisfaction performance.
Blogs are ‘web logs’ or online dairies. They are an easy way to drive traffic to your website, generate a following for your business and are also fantastic for search engine optimisation! Blogging is free to set up and use and anyone can do it.
There is no need to post something every single day, once a week is fine, just try and be consistent.
Two well known free blogging sites are
- Write from the heart, be creative, and DO NOT SELL! Let your passion for a topic shine though in your writing.
- Interaction is the key for blogging. Encourage people to comment - you can screen and remove comments if necessary.
- Don’t get bogged down with jargon or corporate speak, write like you would talk, make it friendly and conversational.
- It is important to link your website and your blog so that your website constantly has new information - Google LOVES fresh content!
- Read other blogs before you launch into your own. Maybe try commenting on a few relevant articles and get a feel for what people are interested in.
- Why not plan ahead and map out what you will be blogging about for the next six months. It may take months before you start to get any interest.
Linked In is a business-oriented social networking site. It is mainly used for professional networking. The purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. Linked In is free to set up, easy to use and a great place to store contact details. It is also a great place for employers to look for potential employees.
- Display a photo in your profile. People like to put a face to a name. Try to get a professional head/shoulder photo.
- Take the time to complete your whole profile. The more detail, the more confident people will be to recommend you.
- Search LinkedIn's directory. Find industry networks to take part in.
- Share relevant or interesting information with your contacts. Actively participate in discussions.
- Some contacts will ask you to write recommendations. Be honest and clearly describe the attributes of the individual.
- Opt to have notifications sent to your inbox. This will allow you to respond promptly.
- Use LinkedIn to alert your contacts of new offers or products. It is an excellent tool to use for promoting an event.
- Use the many forums on LinkedIn to share your knowledge. This is a great opportunity to win new business.
Flickr is an image and video hosting website. People can upload their photos for free for others to view. It is great for photographers and artists, and also good for anyone in the travel and tourism industry as you can promote your region or tours.
- Use your URL as your screen name. Everything you do on Flickr will have your screen name attached.
- Upload photos of your product or region. For example, an accommodation provider could upload photos of their rooms
- Name and describe every single photo you upload. Describe each photo accurately, but avoid the hard sell!
- Join in discussions with groups to connect with your target market. There are groups on Flickr for just about anything.
- Comment on other photos, join discussions and became an active part of Flickr. Remember, everytime you do, your screen name will show.
Foursquare is a location-based social networking website, software for mobile devices, and also a game. Users "check-in" at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application. They are then awarded points and sometimes "badges." Foursquare is great for location based businesses, such as cafes or shopping centres, as it encourages consumers to ‘check-in’ at your business and allows you to connect with your target audience in a fun way.