Demystifying social media
Digital Platforms – Web, Software & Apps, SEO, Social Media Marketing, App development, Website design & development, e commerce websites – South Africa
For many business owners social media marketing remains a mystery. NZBusiness engaged top social media strategist Pauline Stockhausen to explain why it can no longer be ignored as a marketing platform.
NZB: How did you first become involved in social media marketing and what’s the attraction for you?
Pauline: I was an early adopter of social media and had a blog very early on. I loved Facebook for keeping in touch with overseas friends but when Twitter came out in 2006 I was hooked. I owned a small art school back then and used Twitter to get my business messages out. People worldwide would tune in and see what we were doing each day and I was soon being asked to help local businesses get the same traction.
With social media you can easily reach a larger audience. It helps bring people to a business who they may not have known about.
Mostly I love the communication of it. How to transcribe an interesting message that will get the reach and cut through. Social media helps you gain loyal fans, who in turn become customers and ambassadors or friends of your business.
NZB: What are some of the basic rules of social media that apply to business?
Pauline: The key is to be authentic to who you are and your brand. One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is not getting started with social media and realising the potential of their unique offering. Take Facebook as an example. There are many options on how you can get your brand story out there and be seen, such as Facebook Groups – and engaging with potential customers, building a presence on your Facebook business page, or creating some very targeted advertising to build awareness and sell products.
Facebook gives business owners the ability to be creative and equally measure the effectiveness of each activity. Instead of just putting an ad in the paper, with a social media presence you have the opportunity to draw out a conversation and, more importantly, tell a great story.
Remember that people don’t go on Facebook to be sold to, but to check up on what family and friends are doing. Most of the time they are jumping in to be entertained. So be entertaining!
If you are in business you need to be online, and on some social media – Facebook is a great start. People click into Facebook over ten times a day. They use the search function to find businesses and locations. Business owners must adapt. In the ‘old days’ it was the phone book; now it’s Google and Facebook.
NZB With many business owners failing to engage with social media, what are some of the myths and misconceptions that must be shattered?
Pauline: People often say social media is “just a fad” or too much work. But consumers are changing and business owners need to change with the times. However, I’m a big supporter of using all media – everything has its place and when we design campaigns for clients we include radio, newspaper and magazines.
Social media, when done right, lets you build a presence with thousands of followers. You can deliver and navigate your own messages. It gives you the ability to sell outside of your physical 20k radius. With social media you can create loyal followers who’ll drive 60k to eat at your café!
NZB: What ‘top tips’ can you share on social media for business owners?
Pauline: Start with a plan. Social media is a long game. Have objectives each week. Set yourself rules. How many posts are you going to post a week? I advise at least two a day. How much time are you going to spend time in Facebook groups? What is your advertising budget?
Advertising works like it does in traditional media – repeat, repeat, repeat. Look at all the different ways you can advertise within Facebook and get very targeted.
How are you going to post? Be visual! Facebook LIVE gets a lot more reach, and next in line is video – so how can you incorporate those in your weekly posts.
Developing a content plan is also important. There is nothing worse than sitting at your computer thinking “What am I going to post today?” Have a clear path.
Something that helps my new business clients is dividing up content into categories to help get started. Create a post on each category. For example – education, entertainment, inspiration, community, charity, day-to-day business, call to action.
My top tip? Play where your audience is. If your audience is more engaged on Snapchat, LinkedIn or Instagram, then try those platforms to get traction.
NZB: What case studies can you share that demonstrate the power of social media for certain sectors?
Pauline: I worked on a campaign with Dynamic Martial Arts to get them brand recognition as a new business and develop a loyal customer base. We used Facebook Groups to have discussions with locals on community projects. We also utilised local online influencers to come on board with a 12-week programme. An event at the end of the programme sold out. Through social media the club became well known in the community and every class was full within six months of starting the campaign.
The club now uses social media to update members and supporters. With a large loyal following, owner Dave Sawyer can easily bring in new initiatives.
You don’t require a huge audience to get traction online either. With Good Life Financial Advice we worked on a more conversational campaign within local Facebook Groups. We engaged the admins of local groups and collaborated with them to give owner Daniel Carney the opportunity to do educational videos and pinned posts. Daniel was able to provide good advice while sharing what they do at Good Life.
We used Facebook Groups as our playground, and LinkedIn. Our goal is to drive traffic to his website, with its rich content. Leads have increased 40 percent within four months.
The added benefit of video is that people feel they already know Daniel and that helps them feel comfortable in making an appointment.
NZB: How do you see the social media landscape developing?
Pauline: It’s exciting to imagine the future where technology advancements will give us even greater ‘connectedness’ between devices, AI, VR, appliances, home, car, clothing, even our own bodies. Social media will intersect with all of that.
How we decide to ‘choose and use’ will continue to be guided and influenced by our friends’ recommendations and information shared online.
According to Nielsen, almost nine in ten New Zealanders use social media. In an average week, 3.1 million Kiwis aged 15 and over spend 14 hours online – the equivalent of two working days a week – and our FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is insatiable.
Businesses should be investing in their social media presence now. As the use of social media becomes even more prolific and sophisticated, companies will need to commit greater attention and budget to engage with ‘always-on’ customers.
There will be completely new business opportunities that come from the ongoing disruption of industries. New businesses are still to be created, new social media platforms are still to come.
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