Social media marketing has become the done thing in recent years and if your business isn’t on some kind of social network then you may well be missing out. However, the thing about social media marketing is, for it to be successful and grow, you need to interact with your audience or they won’t want to know. Social media has enabled people to feel connected to the brands they love and feel like they have a real input on products and services, without your interaction this feeling of connectivity just does not exist. In this blog, we will be giving you some top tips to interact with your social media audiences and keep them coming back for more.
A brilliant way to interact with people on social media platforms is to offer something a bit different, by making your interactions fun and light-hearted you will draw people in and enable people to feel a personal connection like they might have with friends.
Take an Interest
Interaction will NOT work if your audience doesn’t feel that it’s genuine, and the best way to make your audience feel like you are is if you take an interest. Both in what they are saying to and about you, as well as what they are saying about themselves. Everybody wants to feel special and taken notice of, this feeling is utilised all the time in social media marketing (user-generated content, for example, hinges on it). By taking an interest in the individual when you engage with them you are ensuring that they come away feeling positive about your brand.
Like in life, with social media marketing you get out of it what you put in and by spending time interacting with your audience you will reap the rewards. Interactions such as responding to comments and taking an interest in your audiences’ content will encourage brand loyalty and new audiences and therefore increase your exposure.
The restaurant industry today is no longer just about how good your food tastes, don’t get us wrong that still VERY important but you also need to create a buzz about your restaurant and employ the right marketing strategies to promote your business.
Social media is a creative and cost-effective way to draw attention to your restaurant and let your potential customers know what you're all about. In this blog, we will be looking at some super simple and inspired social media marketing strategies for your restaurant.
Write a Food Blog
Let’s start off simple if you run a restaurant you really need to be thinking about writing a food blog. It’s a great way to promote the food you serve as well as building a brand identity for your restaurant. If you’re a vegan restaurant, for example, its great way to tell the story behind your food as well focusing not only on the food but the lifestyle choice. Social media is the perfect way to share your blog and in turn draw attention to your restaurant so don’t forget to think about the latest food trends and piggyback on some popular hashtags!
Create a Legend
When creating your restaurant’s social media profile, a great way to make your business stand out is to create an awesome backstory! This can be completely true, slightly exaggerated or a work of pure silly fiction it doesn’t really matter as it’s about creating something exciting that will entertain people. This gives your restaurant more personality and builds a brand identity that could easily draw customers to you rather than your competitors.
Give Your Star Dish its Own Personality
A really quirky way of getting your customers attention is creating a social media account for your restaurant’s signature dish. You can post different photos of the dish along with thoughts and opinions as if from the perspective of said dish, always linking the content back to the restaurant. By doing this you can create a cult following and really set yourselves apart.
Be it, the amount eaten, the time taken or your chilli heat tolerance everybody loves a food challenge! Having an in-house food challenge will really do wonders for bringing in new customers. By offering a small incentive, for example, if you beat the challenge your food is free, and by advertising it prominently on social media people will actively seek you out to take part. It’s also a great way to exploit user-generated content as people will always want to take photos of a spectacular food challenge and share it with friends, so don’t forget to create a memorable hashtag!
Show off Your Staff
Family run business? Or do you just have really great staff? Then use that to your advantage, show them off. By including pictures of your staff and featuring their personalities on social media (don’t forget to ask first!) you will immediately make your restaurant more appealing to customers. If people know who is going to be serving them they will feel more connected and reassured that they will receive great service!
A great social media strategy is the perfect way to create a personality for your restaurant, and this will help set you apart from the competition. It is also the perfect platform to advertise any special deals or gimmicks your business has going on. By using social media to get your customers through the door they will have a chance to taste your amazing food and then, in turn, will promote you on social media, it’s a fantastic cycle!
Social media has become an undeniable force in the marketing world and is vital for small businesses wanting to promote themselves and reach their full potential. However, we know that managing your business’s social media accounts can be a little daunting and certainly time-consuming! In this blog, we will be looking at some of the best social media management tools out there to help small business owners.
The following tools have been designed to help with all aspects of your marketing strategy, making it quicker and more effective leaving you time to focus on growing your business.
Hootsuite is a popular social media management tool that allows you to schedule your social media posts in advance. Great for small businesses you can programme content for all your social media accounts at once to ensure consistency and flow between them. It’s super easy to use, it’s simple to add accounts as well as different account managers so it can be a group enterprise! The tutorials and teaching tools are perfect for a growing small business as they not only teach you how to use their tools but provide great insights into how to run a social media strategy.
Whilst not strictly a social media tool Google Analytics can be invaluable when it comes to focusing your social media strategy. Using social media to drive traffic to a website is vital when it comes to small businesses. By using analytics for your website, you can track which social media platform and conversations you are receiving the most traffic from and therefore help you make the most of your content.
Like Hootsuite, Commun.it is a social media management tool designed to make managing your social media accounts quick and painless. However, Commun.it is different in that it helps you manage your relationships on social media rather than your content. Currently compatible with your Twitter and Facebook accounts Commun.it will look at your social media community and highlight who is supporting you and your content (by favouriting, liking, retweeting or mentioning). It will also highlight any posts that you may need to reply or engage with as well as showing you who like or follows you and who doesn’t. This is great for small businesses as it’s a great way to cut down on your social media time by streamlining your engagement.
Mailchimp is moving away from social media a little but nevertheless a very valuable weapon to have in your arsenal. A brilliant way to promote and sustain a small business is emailing out newsletters and offers to previous customers to entice them back. Mailchimp is an invaluable tool for doing this, an email marketing and newsletter service it takes care of everything you need to think about it when it comes to sending things out to customers. It also makes it really simple to set up a database of contact details which you can add information such as age, gender and location to create targeted campaigns.
Making the most out your social media doesn’t have to be a chore, by using these tools you can really cut down on the amount of time you spend as well as making the most out of time you do spend. However, this being said if you prefer a more human approach to your social media you could always use a marketing agency that will look after your social media and website for you.
LinkedIn, despite being popular with small business owners, entrepreneurs and big businesses alike, still remains a mystery to many. In this blog, we will be looking at what exactly LinkedIn is as well as it’s strengths and weaknesses to help you decided if it’s right for your business.
Embarrassed at your lack of LinkedIn knowledge? Well, you shouldn’t be, despite being one of the most popular social networks many people are still at a loss as to what LinkedIn is and how to use it. In it’s simplest form it is a professional social media platform that enables businesses to network, promote themselves and carry out marketing strategies. Professionals can also keep up to date with new innovations and business news as well as look for new employment opportunities. The best way to think about it is an online networking platform, where lots of businesses and professionals are in the same place looking to make connections in the right fields.
Strengths of LinkedIn
Weaknesses of LinkedIn
As you can see there are many positives to LinkedIn and not many negatives, however, that one negative is very important to consider when it comes to using LinkedIn. For making connections within your business, no matter what sector you are in it is invaluable but, if you want to build a consumer-driven brand you are definitely going to need other social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook alongside your LinkedIn account.
User Generated Content (UGC) is when companies advertise by inspiring and then curating content produced by their audiences. By surrendering the role of creator to their fans, brands can produce honest and effective adverts. The content is provided by happy customers and unpaid contributors, and the types of content include:
Due to the varied range of UGC out there, it is a very versatile way of advertising, it can be used on a large scale for ad campaigns or small scale using social media marketing. In this blog, we will be looking at the reasons that make UGC such a successful marketing tool and why you’d be mad not to include it in your future marketing strategies.
Reason One: It’s Trustworthy & Authentic
Consumers have become wise to many of the tricks used by adverts in the past, we don’t necessarily trust the unrelatable beautiful people we know are being paid to promote a certain product. This mistrust is what has made UGC a game changer regarding adverts, because who we do trust are people like ourselves who have tried a product and genuinely love it. Happy customers creating positive content can often convey the love and loyalty they have for the brand better than even the most successful in-house content. Authenticity has become more important to customers than a slick advert and 60% of consumers say that UGC is the most authentic form of advertising (Stackla). If people believe your products are the genuinely loved by others they will buy them.
Reason Two: It Promotes Connectivity
In today’s society, content sharing on Social Media seems to be some kind of unstoppable juggernaut. People now more than ever want to feel connected to their peers by sharing every aspect of their lives, including their shopping habits! Brands are using this need for connection and recognition to share consumer stories and promote their products and the lifestyle they endorse. If used in a genuine way this can lift engagement and strengthen customer trust.
Reason Three: It Inspires People
UGC used in the right way by companies can be a powerful source of inspiration. For the release of the iPhone 6, Apple used visual content taken by its users to form the base of a billboard and print ad campaign with the hashtag #ShotoniPhone6. By using the best and most inspiring images Apple enabled it’s customers to feel moved to go out and buy an iPhone and take amazing photographs. Showcasing content that reflects customer’s post purchase excitement, means that, that excitement becomes contagious and inspires people to buy.
Reason Four: It’s Cost Effective
UGC is not only a very successful marketing strategy but it also makes sense financially. It is generally much cheaper to edit and coordinate content that has been produced by other people than to create content in-house. Your consumers are creating your content for you and then sharing it with their own audiences, making less work for your brand!
Between the rise of influencer marketing and the popularity of UGC, society is definitely moving towards a much more transparent way of looking at advertising. This transparency is great for consumers but can also be great for businesses. UGC is an authentic, engaging and financially smart way of advertising your brand and used correctly it not only boosts sales but builds trust between you and your consumers.
Whilst Pinterest may not yet be as popular as Facebook or Instagram, it is a rapidly growing platform that boasts nearly 200 million monthly users. Pinterest is a network where people go to be inspired, a huge part of this is looking for the perfect product that will help them achieve their desired lifestyle. By using aspirational pins to promote your products you expose your website links to a wide and eager audience. In this blog, we will be outlining 5 simple steps to building the perfect Pinterest page for your business.
Step One. Build Your Profile
One of the most important aspects of setting up Pinterest for your business is adding that all important Pinterest SAVE button to your website, this will allow your customers to Pin products they love and boost your Pinterest popularity. Once you have added a SAVE button and created your Pinterest business page you will need to customise your profile. This is like any other social network profile, it needs to stand out and represent your brand’s personality. Achieve this by using custom images, colour schemes and your company logo. It’s not only the visual branding, use your company bio to attract your target audience, not forgetting those all important SEO words.
Step Two. Get Pinning
Now your profile is ready to go it’s time for the fun stuff, pinning. Before you start we recommend you install a Pinterest browser button, this will enable you to pin images quickly from your website. When creating your boards, think carefully about the title, it will need to both explain what your board is about as well as grabbing your pinners attention and if you want to avoid being cut off it will need to do it in 20 characters or less! Pinterest is a visual platform so think carefully about you board cover picture, is it the most eye catching image you have? If not, it should be!
Step Three. Be Visual
Pinterest is designed to inspire people through pictures, so your images need to be flawless! They should be clear, well lit and in focus as well as the correct size, any taller than 1560 pixels and it will be cut off, spoiling the effect. In order to stand out from the crowd and get your pins circulating, you will need to showcase your products creatively, remembering that lifestyle shots outperform product images with 30 percent more click throughs. Don’t forget to make the most of the descriptive field, including important keywords so you are hitting all the right searches.
Step Four. Analysis is Key
Pinterest analytics are your best friend! They will tell you:
Step Five. Don’t Forget to Socialise
Pinterest is still a social network, you need to engage to get results! Follow other boards and profiles within your industry (non-competitive of course) as well as liking and engaging with related pins. By doing this you create an audience around your brand like you would any other social network, with other brands following you in reciprocity. You could also create a group board, inviting employees and brand evangelist to contribute.
By following these 5 simple steps you can create a successful Pinterest page that will grow your business and place your products on everybody’s wish list.
Ethical marketing essentially does what it says on the tin, it is when companies not only advertise the benefits their products have for the customer but also the positive social or environmental impact. Ethical marketing should be:
Customers are changing, these factors and social and environmental responsibility have become top of the list for the Tech Generations when it comes to choosing products. Studies show that 91% of Millennials are more likely to buy products from ethical companies and Gen Z is interested in racial, gender and income equality, as well as environmental issues. Companies now need to connect with their customers through shared values not only through the products themselves.
In this blog, we will be looking at some of the companies successfully leading the way in terms of ethical marketing.
This cosmetic retail giant has made its name through having social and environmental campaigns at it’s heart. Whilst the recent ‘Spy Cops’ campaign has caused controversy, Lush’s commitment to inciting change is what makes it such a well known brand (that, and it smells divine!). Products are 100% veggie and non-animal tested, facts that are advertised boldly over all their products and ad campaigns. They use their LUSH PLAYER (a forum of TV clips and podcasts) to educate their consumers on a variety of social issues, including the issue of the build-up of plastic waste in the world’s oceans. To raise awareness of this they opened their first naked store in Milan (products with no packaging) to coincide with World Oceans Day on the 8th of June. By raising awareness for these causes they are also very cleverly marketing themselves and their brand message.
This year LEGO will be launching it’s first range of sustainable bricks (‘botanical’ elements) made from plastic sourced from sugarcane. Partnering with WWF the range, made up of trees, leaves and bushes this is part of LEGO’s ambition to “make a positive impact on the world around us”. This runs alongside what they call their ‘Responsibility Ambitions’ which are highlighted on their website. As a toy manufacturer, they use fun interactive campaigns such as the LEGO Planet Crew to promote both their product and their values, using the slogan ‘help protect the planet with the power of play’.
TOMS was founded with corporate philanthropy as their core value and their powerful ‘one for one’ message is present in all marketing. The idea was born from witnessing extreme poverty in Argentina, where the children were living without shoes. TOMS have carried this social consciousness over to all newer aspects of the brand, with them now providing:
through their shoe, eyeglasses, coffee and bag sales. TOMS’ message is given equal emphasis to their products on all advertising, leaving customers in no doubt that in buying from TOMS they will be doing good.
Looking at these examples it’s clear that a customer’s desire to make a positive difference in the world cannot be underestimated when it comes to marketing, by promoting a brand’s values customers are able to connect and therefore tend to develop strong brand loyalty. Not only are these companies making the world just that little bit better, they are also cementing a customer base (Gen Z) that is expected to account for about 40% of all consumers by 2020.
As a Millennial (those aged between 20-35) I am what is considered to be the first of the two true tech generations. Technology like computers and the internet have been commonplace for more of my life than not, however, compared to the new Generation Z (those aged between 11-20) I am a bit of a technophobe. To Generation Z the things I grew up with; myspace, dial-up internet and only 5 free TV channels are strange concepts. They have always had the answers they need with the click of a button and a social media world on their smartphone.
I have found whilst most brands know how to market to Millennials, Gen Z remains elusive. In this blog, I will be investigating some of the differences between the two generations and how to win over Generation Z.
To Millennials, social media is a way of connecting with friends and sharing aspects of our lives. However, Gen Z views it much more as a way to entertain themselves, favouring visual content such as videos and memes. Brands need to capitalise on this by creating content that they want to watch and share with their friends. Gen Z consumes content at an alarming rate, due in part to the culture of instant information they have grown up with, they are a generation who with smartphones have always had the internet in their pockets.
My first phone was Nokia 3310 (remember those) all you got were calls, texts and of course snake. Gen Z however, has been using smartphones from the get-go and view most content through either a phone or tablet. Therefore, mobile-friendly content is vital if you hope to connect with them.
Whilst we were the first generation that demanded less fakery from the internet (we have a particular dislike for photoshop), Gen Z has really taken it to a new level. They don’t want to just be the subjects of another marketing campaign they want to feel part of a movement, to see behind the scenes. This desire for authenticity from both generations has led to a rise in the popularity of influencers, particularly amongst Gen Z.
Social Media Platforms
Unlike Millennials, Gen Z has grown up having access to a wide range of social media from a young age, this has led to them using more platforms at once. They can bounce between up to 5 screens at a time, as opposed to our 3 screens, this makes Gen Z much harder to reach than Millennials. In order to get through you need to focus on the platforms they favour; particularly Snap Chat, Instagram and YouTube. Gen Z tends to favour these platforms over Facebook and Twitter (our favourites) as they are more fast-paced and visually lead.
Like most young people Generation Z wants their independence and to be taken seriously, hopefully by looking at the differences between the two tech generations it will enable you to market your brand to both groups more successfully.
Since their first appearance on Twitter in 2007 Hashtags have become a prominent feature in the social media landscape, with nearly every platform from Facebook to Google + getting in on the action. So, we all know what they are (handy metadata tags that create searchable links) but how can they be used to their full potential to promote your business? We have come up with 7 golden rules to help you navigate the exciting world of hashtags!
#RuleOne: No Spaces or Punctuation
Hashtags should be a continuous string of words, spaces and punctuation will complicate things and make your hashtag unsearchable. Instead, use capital letters to highlight words as searching for #FoodAddict will also show you results for #foodaddict keeping you audience broad.
#RuleTwo: Less is More
Limit your hashtags to maximise impact, too many and your posts will look spammy. Keep it to a few hashtags per post, no more than 4, however, with Instagram you can add a couple more (between 2 and 10) to maximise engagement.
#RuleThree: Keep it Short and to the Point
Limit yourself to no more than three words per hashtag, the longer the hashtag is the fewer results it will yield. Do not overcomplicate things, make sure you keep your hashtag relevant to your post and leave out any obscure references.
#RuleFour: Switch it Up
Remember to keep alternating your hashtags to keep your profile looking fresh, using the same hashtags every time may cause your audience to get bored or see your posts as spam.
#RuleFive: Do your Research
ALWAYS do your research before using a hashtag. By doing this first and foremost you will make sure your hashtag isn’t being used for something irrelevant or negative, but you will also find out which hashtags are most popular. You can search for popular hashtags using the search bar on your chosen platform.
#RuleSix: Know your Platform
Each social media platform uses hashtags in a slightly different way. Whilst (most of) our rules can be applied to all social media platforms you will need to bare a few things in mind when hash-tagging across different channels. On visual platforms (like Instagram) hashtags are used in a descriptive way, such as #delicious, whereas content-based platforms (like Twitter) they are used as topics such as #wednesdaywisdom.
#RuleSeven: Be Creative
Try creating your own hashtag that is connected to your company, this will add to your online brand identity. You can also use them as part of user-generated content campaigns, competitions for example.
With these seven simple rules you will be well on your way to mastering the art of the hashtag, and with tweets with hashtags creating two times more post engagement these rules are well worth following.
In Part One we looked at the reasons why the right images are so important for your social media profile. In Part Two we will be looking at what factors make up the perfect social media image from making an impact to size specifications. The ideal social media image will be:
As we mentioned in Part One audiences today are skimming through their social media feeds more and more rapidly, so a well-placed and striking image will help to break up your news feed grabbing their attention. Important points to remember are:
Think about your target audience and who they are? Whether it’s your current customer base or people you are trying to entice over to your brand, you need to make sure you are posting images that are relevant to them and their interests. For example, if your target audience is teenagers you will want to avoid images of families with young children and focus more on current trends.
Part of creating a successful brand identity online is ensuring consistency across your social media platforms. Your images need to be recognisable across the board and portray the same brand message, this recognition over different platforms will give your brand more staying power. When ensuring consistency, you will need to remember to use the same:
The Right Size
Now you have the perfect image there is one last thing to think about, size! The one size fits all approach won’t cut it here, you will need to tailor your images to each social media platform. We view Facebook and Twitter in a column with the pictures set beneath the text, therefore ideally you want a landscape image to make the most of the space. This is in stark contrast to Google+ and Pinterest which are viewed as a sort of grid with longer vertical images. Instagram is also viewed as a grid, but the images are a trademark square. Most importantly make sure your customers can see ALL the image!
Remember image is king! By ensuring your images are striking, relevant, consistent and to the right scale, you will be able to stand out and place yourself ahead of the competition by attracting the right customers attention, inspiring loyalty by building your brand and looking slick and professional.