Small business

Social media map

To catch a Social Butterfly

So you want to have fun, engage in this social stuff catch a few million social butterflies and continue the good reputation of the company? Where do you start? You have a Facebook account right!!

Well according to Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) their five points to using media are, choose your Social Media application carefully, there are many Social Media applications and you cannot participate in them all. Choose a Social Media application which is populated by the demographic you are targeting, be active where ever your customers are. Pick an existing application or make you own. For most NZ SMB designing your own application is not a possibility so they will use an application like Facebook or Twitter. The benefits of using an existing application is reduced setup costs and access to their user base. The disadvantage is they can charge you what ever advertising rates they want and you are stuck with their application limits.

Ensure activity alignment. Consider how your products show on Social Media applications, or do you need to use a combination of applications? An example of this is a YouTube video embedded in a Facebook feed. Media plan integration then becomes important. How will this Social Media integrate into your tradition media. Kaplan and Haenlein states integration is the key, your message should be same no matter if on a bill board or on your Facebook page.

Their final point to using media is create access for all. Make sure sure your business employees have access to your Social Media website this will allow them to see what is happening and visualizes the companies direction. Singing from the same score sheet rings in my ears.

Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) also give five hints about being social.

Firstly be active make sure your content is fresh and you answer questions or comments posted by your customers. Participating in open active conversation shows your business listens to its customers. Be interested boring content is not worth reading, relax spice content up gives better engagement. Ask your customer what they want to hear about, then develop content based on this research.

Be humble social media was around before business saw it as a marketing opportunity. Make sure you understand the rules and terms of use of your chosen Social Media application. Play by the rules! Now here is a twist be unprofessional you do not need to employ professional writers and designers. Users do not mind the odd mistake or that a standard theme is used. It the message that is important remember be humble.

Be honest your social reputation can be bruised very quickly, especially if you do not follow the rules, remember your customers using Social Media are technologically capable and talk to each other. Where are you going to hide?

Have a question or something to say leave a comment below.

Kaplan, AM & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world untie! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons 53(1), 59-68.

Social Media Tool Belt

Tools to attract a Social Butterfly

Blogging, Microblogging, Podcasts, Tagging, RSS feeds and Wiki’s are all tools available in the tool belt of businesses wanting to attract social butterflies. Which one to use is really depend upon the strategic marketing plan a business has. Remember the primary functions of social media are the 4 C’s,

  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Collaboration
  • Connection

If connecting and communicating to your customers is your goal, blogging or microblogging are the tools of choice. A blog’s main purpose is to allow a business or author to write about topics they are passionate about. Blog tools allow feedback in the form of comments. Comments can be favourable or not, either way this stimulates strong conversation and discussion on blogged content. Several different platforms are available for blogging probably the most popular is Blogger.com and WordPress.com. Blogging has the advantage of forming groups of people with common interests called followers and everyone knows two heads are better than one. Like minded people are more likely to comment and give answers to questions asked within a blogs content.

Microblogging is also aimed at a target audience or followers but is limited to 140 text characters. This limit is due to their delivery mechanism being a simple message service (SMS) gateway as used by mobile phones. The world has many microblogging sites, to name a couple Plurk and probably the most popular Twitter. Products such as Facebook and MySpace also provide a form of microblogging through their status updates.

Communication by blog may be a weekly or monthly posting as information is gather and processed by the author where as a microblog is instant and can be banged out with provocation or without. Several famous actors and singers have sent out Twitter messages (called tweets) without thinking about what they were really meaning to say. The consequence from their fan base has been instant.

For an example the Latin post states “Justin Bieber just tweets, ‘Yeah, Beliebers, go hard’ when they’re attacking somebody,…” Whats up with this dude? This is young man so drunk with fame he forgets his shirt every time a photo is taken and recently was caught with drugs in his home. I suspect his fan respect is being lost in his drug haze. Justin Bieber is a business brand so how did you think this tweet effected his reputation to the parents of his fans? The media love this stuff and are quick to reblog as news. The power of a social network is clear in a case like this.

Business can use microblogging and blogging to communicate new services, products to their fan base. The trick is gaining that fan base in the first place, people who engage in conversation via social networking sites are very aware of their social profiles. The social butterfly is able to be your friend one day and the next not. Justin Bieber who?

Have a question or something to say leave a comment below.

How can Social butterflies ring the till?

What attracts a butterfly in real life? Food substance, the need to live or propagation. Then the same can be said of an online digital social butterfly. So how do we attract this species? How do we feed its needs while making a dollar?

A MYOB report (October 2012) states 86% of NZers use the internet every day. I am guessing probably the other 14% of NZers live in the bush without internet or are too small to reach the keyboard, smartphone, tablet or TV remote. This same report indicates NZ business, specifically small businesses are slow to take advantage of social media yet 35% have their own website.

The reasons given for this slow adoption of social media by small business owner are, not being “tech-savvy” or stating we already have a website why do we now need social media as well? The report is clear social media is treated as low priority when comparing it to core business functions, mainly due to a lack of resources or expertise.

When the internet first exploded down our dialup modems at the alarming speed of 9600 bits per second we were continual warned the internet is dangerous. “Do not let your firewall down or who knows what sorts of digital bugs can come in?” I believe this type of comment has instilled a fear in managers and owners of small business of internet use. Perhaps they have past experience of virus attacks and the following large IT costs required to repair broken software have left a strong miss trust of placing their data in the cloud.

According to NZ Ministry of Business small businesses dominate our industries in New Zealand and likely to be run by a male aged between 40-59 years old. When these managers or directors were at school computers were larger than cars and the internet was still a dream. No wonder social media is struggling to gain traction.

So how can small business (SME) use social media to bring in more business? You could encourage connecting to your customer base through a Facebook site, or maybe write a blog about your products or services, ask for feedback on potential product changes. Good communication with your customers or potentials clients will give a business the knowledge and strategy of where their business needs to head.

My title asks the question “How can Social butterflies ring the till?” By using social media you gain a better connection to your clients and gain more clients as you explore into their social networks. Sites like Linkedin help build relationships with suppliers or similar business and help human resources, source new skilled employees. All without using expensive consultants and social media tools to create these links to clients are free, so get started today. If you are in the over 40 plus bracket in age maybe you should ask your kids how to use Twitter or Facebook first.

Have a question or something to say leave a comment below.