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Regardless of whether you are tech savvy or not, you have probably heard the term Social Media. If not (you should probably call us for a workshop date ;p). Social media is a useful tool that has risen since late 2008. The best way to succeed on Social Media is to ensure that you tie it in with your marketing plan as this will allow for communication consistency, provide a concrete base for your brand’s image and give your customers a sense of ‘belonging’. Most people think that just because they don’t like the social media platforms or social media as a concept, that buys them their exit ticket; Wrong. Regardless of how you feel about Social Media, your brand should be there.

Why?

There are a lot more people online; (I will not bore you with stats as you will probably enjoy the many info graphic videos available on YouTube) this is how they bump into your competition. If you are nowhere to be found, they will choose the available competition screaming great deals at them. The cost to set-up a social media platform versus the cost of losing many customers is relatively low, in-fact it is almost free. Convinced? Glad you can see the light… Here’s how to get started!

1.Create Accounts:

If you think your customers, family members or peers will set-up a ready account for you, you’re wrong. New business owners should recognize the importance of this step and set-up accounts on their own in all the social media platforms they wish to be present in. This is also a good way to ensure that you are maintaining your brand image and not cropping logos or titles, after all, I’m assuming you are connected with your brand. Your famous platforms with a high population in the MENA region are: Facebook & Twitter.

  1. Assign or Hire Account Admins:

You need to assign and brief a social media manager who will maintain these accounts. As soon as you are online, you need to be prepared to engage in conversations, what will you say when a customer asks you a simple question and it is

a) neglected? b) No one knows the answer?

You need to ensure that your social media manager is the following:

Briefed on your brand’s tone of voice Understands the ins-&outs of your company (This does not mean they should know how the HR & Accounts departments work, this merely means they should know your service offerings or products like their life depended on it.

Online and receives notifications to allow for prompt responses (If I’m complaining about a product, the last thing I want is to wait for a week for a brand to get back to me… You wanna know what I’ll do during that week? Bad mouth the brand on all the platforms I exist in… and even after they resolved my issue, I’ll probably forget to tell everyone and won’t really care… Customers!! Can’t live with them, Can’t live without them.

  1. Break the Ice:

Don’t sit around and wait for your customers to a) find you b) start talking to you. In this day and time, customers need to see you almost every day to remember you, and especially if your business does not have a reputation that speaks for itself. The easiest way to start interaction with the right people is to create a small plan. List all the ideas that you would like to communicate through to your customers and create “status updates” for each. Keep in mind, this plan is not writing on stone, it is an on-going process. You need to maintain and amend depending on what your master marketing plan is. (Remember we spoke about how your social media strategy should be aligned with your marketing plan?)

  1. Measure Your Performance

This is probably the one area of social media which remains unknown territory to most. Social media can be measured in the beginning, just not with the same variables that spell out CASH at the end. This comes later and with constant persistence and on-going determination. Track your new fans, Invest in FB ads which can be targeted to appear only to your target audience.

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