A simple social media recipe for every business

It’s lunchtime, and I can smell the beautiful aroma of home made soup brewing in the kitchen, next to my office. The beauty of this smell is that I recognize it from last week’s menu. It’s ham and lentil, made from homegrown vegetables, marinated with ham on the bone – My favourite.

There is something special when the cook uses ham on the bone, as apposed to something pre-packed, and mass produced. I believe the traditional ham hock adds a substance of value, flavour, and sustainability to the soup recipe that makes a meal well worth buying.

Taking the key elements of this story, I wonder what you would find to be at the core of your social media strategy as you think about the key ingredients you have chosen to bind it together.

Here are three essential questions to consider when evaluating your marketing plan:

  1. Are you adding value to the end consumer?
  2. Do you bring a distinct flavour that sets you apart from the crowd?
  3. Are you sustainable within your market?

There is plenty of exposure, and press on the importance of social media, but what sets a Tesco value meal apart from Tesco’s finest, is substance and quality.

We need more than a social media presence to stand the test of time. We need a sustainable strategy that doesn’t just look to be outsourced (mass produced), but one that puts social at the core.

If you would like to find out more on how we can help you, or attend one of our Social Media Workshops, get in touch today.

Our next workshop, will be brought to you by Tailor Made Social, and Vital PA. Subscribe, and stay tuned for more info coming soon!!

The Billion Dollar Question?

To many, Facebook’s takeover of Instagram will be last week’s news, but today I’m using this story to highlight an after thought from this story that will hopefully add value to your business.

To give you some context to my inspired moment, I must take you to Facebook where my friend (distant from the world of marketing) innocently asked; “So all this chat about Instagram being bought by Facebook for wan billion or however much…What does this actually mean? What changes?” – That’s when I had my moment of inspiration, right there, and then.

It suddenly dawned on me how easy it is to work in marketing, and business and still miss communicating our point to the consumer. My friend caught wind of the billion dollar sale, but he failed to understand the impact this sale would have on him – as the end-user. Should he bare the responsibility for this, or should we – the marketer, writer, and communicator take responsibility and communicate our news in a way that is effective, and relevant to those that matter.

The answer is, none right now. Mark Zuckerberg released a statement highlighting the reasons behind the decision, and their intent is to ‘try’ to continue building and growing Instagram independently.

The fact of the matter is that this sale came at a very interesting time. Facebook are positioning themselves to launch into the stock market next month, and Instagram has just broken record to be one of the biggest app releases on the Google play platform, in its history.

In March, the app hit 1 million users in less than 24 hours of its Android Launch.

Selling at this moment in time may seem perfect for many, but disconcerting to many of its users.

Perhaps, if we keep this in mind when we write our tech savvy articles, content, and informational material we wouldn’t cause so much of a scare to users who aren’t always interested in how much your company sold for, but instead more interested in how your sale will change the user experience?

The bottom line is that there is a danger to many media sharing, information platforms, and businesses that we are still so consumed with the structural changes happening in our culture and effecting every inch of our business that we are failing to have some form of clear communication with our end users – who are not tech savvy, but a faithful and dedicated user of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Don’t believe me then just take Facebook’s shift to Timeline. I lost count of the number of people lost and confused on the subject matter of Timeline. Questions like, what is it? How do I change it back? – Came flooding in their droves. As I continued to explain there was no going back, and the implications that Timeline could have on their profile privacy. Most users were shocked, and certainly unaware of the implications caused by the face-lift.

Of course Facebook informed marketers of the changes, but this didn’t filter through enough to the end-user, and that’s my point today. How well are we filtering information through to the end-user?

As effective as I believe social media marketing can be. It is meaningless if we don’t have well-informed users on the other side of each tool. We’d all do well to keep this in mind.

Make yourself at home

Make yourself at home… In my culture, this is an endearing phrase used to welcome guests into ones home.

I wonder how many British businesses in total have truly grasped this concept of making their consumer feel right at home? After all without the consumer, there is no business. It’s not enough to set up shop, and demand money from your customers anymore. For too long chain stores have got away with pocketing our hard-earned cash without so much of a smile, or a thank you for your custom in return – and what’s worse is that for a long time, we, the British public put up with it!

…It’s worthwhile stating that when I say, at home, I mean at home in your shop, website, or office. The line between virtual, and physical presence has become a blur over the years, and what you put on the front-page of your website matters just as much what you put in the display of your shop window.

How are we making our customers feel at home? Technology, and the way we interact online has changed our culture in such a big way that we cannot afford to bombard our websites with forced speak, technical information, and confuse our customers with false advertising.

The way we communicate with our customers is a vital as communicating with your friend, or spouse. If we get things wrong, then we should be man enough to step up to the mark, and be honest enough to fix our mistakes.

Where more and more chains are folding on the high street, this is a perfect opportunity for smaller businesses to rise up to the challenge and really go the extra mile for the consumer. Not only will you build brand awareness, but you will build a growing customer retention, just by making them feel right at home.

Here are a few suggestions that will help us stay in business.

1. Say “Hello” with a smile – Whether in person, or via a 30 second video clip. Showing our white pearly teeth is a great way to let customers know that you are a business that values their custom.

2. Be clear always – Businesses that are built on this principle will stand the test of time. Transparency is key to the success of your tomorrow.

3. Be reliable –  We must say what we do, and do what we say. It’s as simple as that. With the shifting posts of government illustrating a perfect example that people lose faith in something that cuts deep corners, and doesn’t deliver. With lack of care and attention, consumers lose interest, and businesses fail.

The great thing about all three is that they can be applied across the board, from social media, to the shop floor. This is a friendly house keeping post for all business, and marketing departments.

If you would like help with developing a social strategy for your business, assistance in training, blogging, or help transforming your brand communications, then look no further. Get in touch with a freelance social savvy copywriter, right here, or leave your thoughts below.