The business world has changed – no longer are websites anywhere near enough to attract attention online. Today, social media is a non-negotiable – a crucial element of your marketing strategy. Yet the struggle is real for many SMEs – keeping pace with a world that’s forever evolving is no easy feat, and when you have a busy equestrian business to manage day in, day out, the time that social media should demand can swiftly canter away.
We understand your challenges, we appreciate just how busy you already are, so here’s a no-nonsense guide to social strategies that will boost your business, without demanding advanced technical skills or impossible to keep schedules.
1. Time’s short – Get a helping hand from automation
Chatbots – they’re revolutionising the way in which customers interact with businesses over social media. They’re also replacing customer service agents – saving time, saving money.
Platforms such as Chattypeople, MEOKAY, Facebook Messenger Platform and Smooch make this seemingly intimidating technical step relatively simple:
– There’s no coding required
– The chatbots can answer your customers’ questions
– Chatbots on Facebook Messenger can take orders
– The platforms are all also integrated with every major payment systems
2. Make your social strategy personal
Chatbots are far from the impersonal, robotic experience that you may imagine – when done right, your chatbot could deliver a truly personalised experience for your customers.
Try linking your adverts directly to messenger windows where your chatbot awaits, by doing this you’ll…
– Boost your sales
– Create fans
– Address any questions that may be stopping your prospect from purchasing
– Challenge the view that your prospects are there only to be sold to
3. Create quality content and streamline your content marketing strategy
Your blog posts, media and visuals must grab attention and deliver value to your audience – two mission-critical elements of quality content.
Look to your competitors – what content are they creating and how are they addressing your target market’s hopes, fears, pain points and concerns? Consider using tools to take your content marketing strategy from beginner DIY, to Pro, here are some of our favourites:
– ClearVoice – This versatile, complete content-marketing system streamlines your workflow and merges your branding, content creation and publisher communities.
– Outbrain – This platform is going to be super useful if you struggle with publishing and distributing your content to platforms beyond social media (such as news sites and niche networks).
– Buzzsumo – Wondering which social platform will be best to post on? Want to know which influencers or competitors are gaining the most social ground? Buzzsumo is an essential for all of this, as well as for helping you uncover topics to create content around.
Still struggling with what to talk about? If you’re socially shy, it can be difficult to put together any form of content strategy. Break the ice with these content and post ideas…
– Recommend tools, products or services
– Start a debate
– Write an eBook
– Create a How-To Guide
– Hold a live online discussion
– Give instantly actionable tips in Pinterest style form
– Create a list of useful resources
– Share memorable quotes
4. Communicate your brand personality
People don’t buy from companies, they buy from people. This notion is especially true out there in the big wide world of social media, where many companies can seem the same if care isn’t taken to inject personality and a human voice behind the pixels.
Here are some ideas for ensuring your Facebook pages are more ‘vibrant community’, less dull, uninspiring constant sales pitch:
– Address your audience directly – ask them questions and engage them in informal conversations
– Share news that’s helpful and interesting to your audience, rather than just pushing your own content
– Make it a two-way relationship – like and share your fans’ comments and questions
– Organise live Q and A sessions via webinars or Facebook live – this is the best way of showing a human side to your brand
5. Invest in social PPC
Creating exceptional content is great for organic social growth, but let’s face it – social media marketing is tough, and can be incredibly time-consuming. Paid social however can deliver instant results and rapid growth of followers and fans, and it’s not as expensive, nor as complex, as you may have thought.
We’re BIG fans of Facebook when it comes to PPC – it’s simply the most powerful in terms of targeting an audience (and given the niche that is the equestrian business, the ability to target VERY specific people is a must).
6. Create brand advocates in your employees
Your people are your brand, and increasingly businesses are realising the power and value of their employees when they become advocates of their workplace.
Key to an effective employee brand advocate scheme are two fundamentals – trust and freedom – trusting in your employees to create content that reflects well on your business and providing them with only basic founding social guidelines to stick to.
A few examples of businesses really working this tactic are:
– Zappos – A brand which encourages their employees to share what they’re doing at work – whether a fancy dress party or Monday morning meeting. A simple idea, but one that really adds the human element.
– Starbucks – A company that has a dedicated Twitter account for employees, and that’s invested heavily in motivating store managers to go social – these steps have led to flourishing social accounts which now have 44,000 followers on Twitter, and more than 340,000 over on Facebook.
– Vodafone – This communications giant allows employees to use their personal accounts at work, as well as regularly featuring the talents of their employees on their corporate blog.
Further tips for creating an employee advocacy program that becomes a true marketing asset include:
- Using a dedicated employee hashtag for your employee advocacy (Zappos use #ZapposCulture and #Zapponians and Starbucks uses #tobeapartner).
- Encouraging your employees to show plenty of personality – and motivate them to jump in feet first, perhaps with an in-house competition between your workforce.
- Make it humorous, but make it useful – The posts your employees share should include plenty of light-hearted fun, but they should also be encouraged to share posts, links and information that your customers will find helpful too.
7. Sell online? Then you most certainly should be selling on social
“56% of consumers say that they follow brands on social media to browse products for sale, while 31% say that they are specifically on the lookout for new items to buy” – Marketing Week.
In short, if you sell online but not on social, then you probably have a ready, waiting and willing collection of shoppers that you’ve so far overlooked.
In the past few years, the ability to sell through social channels has got ever more advanced – Facebook has its Offers feature, as well as its integrated stores; Twitter has partnered with American Express to allow purchases with just a hashtag, as well as now introducing Product Cards, and YouTube has a ‘Shoppable’ Channel Gadget, which allows consumers to connect directly with retailers.
Presspoint Pro Tip: Thinking about selling through social? Then consider the power of video product demonstrations. Research shows that four times as many customers prefer to watch videos about products as compared to reading plain old textual information – Animoto blog.
8. And finally… Take time out to assess your progress
How’s it all going? Any idea? Investing time and money into social media means that you need to know whether your investment is paying off and, more to the point, what’s working well and what isn’t.
Once more, there are plenty of advanced, yet super easy to use, tools to step into the breach. Here’s a summary of some of the most popular (and each is totally FREE)…
– Buffer – Buffer offers a free plan, which is pretty comprehensive to say the least. For every single post that you create on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn, you’ll see a whole load of insightful stats.
– Followerwonk – This tool is a real visual treat, breaking down your follower and page activity into a series of great looking, interactive charts.
– ViralWoot – This tool is solely for Pinterest, and it provides for much, much more beyond analytics. With this platform you can schedule pins, promote pins and gain new followers. All super helpful stuff if Pinterest is amongst your social platforms.
– Quintly – Quintly is an exceptional tool for seeing in an instant how your engagement metrics are fairing – view likes, comments, shares and follower growth in a single screen.
Social media is a time-consuming, budget-sapping journey that you must be in for the long haul. But it’s also incredibly rewarding when done right. If you’d prefer to leave the heavy lifting to the professionals, we’ll be right here when you need us. Contact PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian – call our experts on +44 (0)1953 851513 or email: [email protected]