Social thinking Using social media to market your business isn’t just about sharing posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. It’s not just about paying for ads or boosting posts. It’s not just about promoting what you’ve got for sale. It’s about thinking as a social business. It’s about thinking of every single interaction with clients as a social interaction, no matter what part of the golden marketing thread you’re at with them. So what does thinking socially mean? It’s about building community, sharing your story, sharing local news and events that will be of interest to your target audience. It’s about making them laugh, or inspiring them. It’s about looking at every opportunity to create a social story/content that will engage, excite, interest and motivate your customers and prospects to think about your business, or what you have for sale, or for them to share their stories that they’ve created by doing business with you, with their social connections or friends on social media. It’s about building connection, trust and visibility. People hate being sold to. Even if it’s something that they really want. They want to be advised, they want to know what’s available for sale and be in control of the decision making process. They want to check out your reviews to make sure the after sales experience they receive is going to be as good as when they bought from you. They want to know that their questions will be answered promptly, even if that means out of hours. They want to know the value or benefits of what you have for sale, but they also want to feel good about that buying decision. They want a great customer experience, online as well as offline. They want to know who they’re buying from. They want to know that they’re dealing with an ethical company, and that the people within your business have integrity. Here’s 12 ways that you can think more socially which will have a massive impact on your social media marketing:

  • Get your team involved – if there’s more than just you in your business, then it will give you a massive boost if all your team members are also thinking socially. That way you have more ideas, more content, more photos, more points of view, more ways to connect with your customers. Encouraging your team members to provide you with information/content to share on social media is great, as with the wall of content available, it’s not always easy to be creative. Each of your team has a different experience in your business depending on their role, and each interacts with your prospects or clients within their role in their own unique manner, so will see and hear different feedback and customer experiences. That’s great information to guide you when considering what you’re going to share on your social media channels. It could be that they take photos at a trade show, conference or event, share traffic news if they’re out and about on the road (when it’s safe and legal to do so of course), tell you what’s selling most and what people are asking for most and why.
  • Engage your team in social media – ask them to comment, like or share your business page posts online. (don’t ask on the post itself though, as that’s “like baiting” and will mean that less people see it
  • Introduce your team on your social media profiles, this builds trust and helps people to recognize team members when they show up to buy (#MugshotMonday is a great way of building online relationships with your team – the idea is that you take a photo of the team member, and share that on your social channels, along with a summary of what that team member does within your business – it’s always good to add some personal interests in their too – for example – Meet Rob, our head of operations. His job to ensure that our customer experience is the best it can be. Think we can do something differently? Why not drop Rob an email and let him know? Rob loves comedy, but don’t ask him to tell you any jokes, as you’ll be there a while….)
  • Almost everyone in your team has a smart phone now – so they can create content for your social media channels anywhere now, whether that be a photo of your customer with their new car, or something funny that they saw whilst they’re out and about, or a photo of the team at a social gathering, or celebrating someone’s birthday in the office. These posts work so well on social media
  • Recognise your team publicly for their achievements on your social profiles – your customers probably won’t want to know who is the top sales person, but they’ll want to know about great customer feedback received, especially as reviews are vital in the buying decision process.
  • Use POS in your business to encourage your customers to be social – ask them to check in – take photos of themselves with their new purchase, and share on their social profiles – you could always incentivise checks ins with a prize draw at the end of each month.
  • Remember to ask your visitors to like your page
  • Ask your customers to leave reviews for you on Facebook or Google + (as well as trust pilot etc.)
  • Add a social call to action on any give-aways that you provide with purchase – i.e., a keyring with your brand logo and a call to action to “follow us on Facebook”
  • Talk about the weather, or even better, take a photo! We do love to talk about the weather – crazy but true, and weather posts are great for engagement online.
  • Share about how you’re involved in your local community – whether you sponsor a local football team, actively support a charity, attend or host an event – let your social followers know – this again builds trust and shows that you’re more than just a business who is only interested in sales.
  • Buy some social frames and take photos in your business using the social frame – they’re great fun to use, and a good reminder for people to follow you on social media

This doesn’t have to take up lots of time, it’s about embedding social thinking into all that you do, so that it’s standard practice, and not just another job to add to the to-do list. The more your team buy into the reasons that you’re a social business, the more likely they are to participate, and the more likely they are to benefit from the rewards of doing this (more word of mouth referrals, more sales, better reviews – all have an impact on your bottom line, their commission and your overall brand reputation). So, what will you do differently?