How does your social media measure up?

 

I was told once a long time ago “to understand how to do something well – you need to understand what good looks like” and she was right. Only when you know “what good looks like” can you put a structured plan in place to help you achieve it. So in this week’s article, we’re going to introduce you to what good looks like in the world of social media and give you the opportunity to understand where your business sits on the social media scale.

Goals and Channel Integration
One of the first things to note about social media, is that it’s not just about posting messages and following people. If you’re going to do social media well, you first need to understand why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve from it.
Social media is part of the customer journey. A person finds and follows your company on social media, then they see an interesting post from you and click on it to get to your website. Next (hopefully) you’ve got some kind of call to action or sign-up form and from there (if you’re really good) not only will you receive an enquiry or sale, but your visitor will also be fed into your e-newsletter list or a set of automated mailers. By putting this structure in place, it helps you to understand what posts are good for social media and what posts aren’t so good. Having an endless stream of links to articles on other websites for example (as many organisations do) is not going to add any value to your business.

Community Management
The next key point in this article is that social media is a 2-way communication platform. That means you need to be encouraging conversations and watching for and responding to your followers if they decide to communicate with you. If you’re really good – you’ll be actively searching the social media world for mentions of your organisation and proactively involving yourself in those conversations.
Content planning
Put your hands up if you have a 1-year content plan in place… anyone? What about 6 months… or even 3 months? Ok –   1 month?
The chances are, when you think of social media, you think of short posts and images – but the reality is that the majority (and most successful) of posts contain links to articles. If you’re not writing your own blog / regular article – then your only option is to post links to articles on other websites and that immediately throws your highly effective customer journey out of the window.
Devising and creating regular content is critical to the success of your social media. The further you plan your content in advance, the more strategic it can become and the more valuable it will be to your organisation.

Paid Social Media Advertising
If we think back to the customer journey – perhaps the most critical part of it is to make sure you get found in the first place and that’s where paid social media advertising comes in. Social media advertising is hugely powerful, allowing you to target specific age groups, interests, geographical locations and even times of the day. Not only that, but you can set goals tied into your advertising. Do you want to acquire more followers, increase web traffic, get app downloads or increase newsletter sign-ups? Anything is possible. Here at Business Hands, we put a strong emphasis on social media paid advertising because we believe it offers better targeting options, better results and better value than traditional PPC (pay per click) methods through platforms like Google AdWords.

Evaluation
Lastly and probably the least practiced – evaluation is the most value-add part of the social media journey. Let’s equate being a social media manager to a farmer. To get a high yield from your social media you need to invest in the right tools, you’ll need to try different strategies, you’ll need to nurture your crop (your community) and you’ll need to measure and evaluate everything you do. With the right technology in place, it very quickly becomes clear what is working and what is not and as time goes on you can fine tune your social media feeds to maximise audience engagement, drive website traffic and most importantly – increase sales.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this high level introduction into what good social media looks like. You’ll find a helpful graphic below to help you plan to take your social media to the next level and obviously we’d love to help you achieve that.

Business Hands offers fully tailored content, social media and email marketing packages for every size of business at very competitive prices. To find out how we can help your business, contact us today on 0207 458 4788.
Thanks for reading

Whcih social media platform for your business

Its generally known that to increase your brand presence, you need to be active on social media .
While that may be true, unless your company has a dedicated social media coordinator, finding the time to maintain every platform out there can be extremely time consuming.

So which Social media platform is better for your business??

The best social media platforms for business
If your company is just starting out on the Web and need to pick a few social media networks to rule over, here is our guide to choosing the best platform(s) for your business, and how to make the most out of them.

1. Twitter
Who should use it: Everyone – from individuals to the largest multinational corporations
What to share: Start, join, and lead conversations; interact directly with brands and customers
Post frequency: minimum of one time a day to multiple times a days
Twitter is the dominant democracy of the social-sharing economy. Relevancy, personality and brevity are the keys to making your voice heard.
Useful tools: Buffer lets you stockpile and schedule content in advance. Tools like this allow for posting around-the-clock, increasing the likelihood of snagging followers beyond your country or time zone without being working 24/7.

2. Instagram
Who should use it: Lifestyle, food, fashion, personalities and luxury brands
What to share: Share visual content- photos and short videos
Post frequency: Once a day
Instagram invites brands with visual content into their customers’ zone-out time. Create and post content accordingly.
You’ll want to experiment with your own userbase and followers, but it’s likely that the best time to target your posts will be to get to your audience’s eyes during their commutes, nights, and weekends.
Useful tools: Use the integrated sharing functions for Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter to repurpose your Instagram posts for more shareable media. Include a relevant hashtag to become more discoverable on Instagram and to track engagement across sites where you share the content.

3. LinkedIn
Who should use it: Businesses (especially B2B service providers), Recruiters and Job-Seekers
What to share: Job-postings, company descriptions, employer/employee research
Post frequency: Two to four times a week
Keep a company description and profile page mindful of keyword SEO, but your network of employees and contacts is your most valuable (and potentially damaging) content on LinkedIn. Make sure people in your organization are appropriate, professional and on-brand. There’s nowhere online where employers and employees are more intimately linked.

4. Facebook
Who should use it: Everyone and their cats (literally)
What to share: All types of online content, events, ads
Post frequency: Once or twice a day
Consider advertising or paying to promote your page on Facebook, but don’t make your brand’s Facebook page itself look like an advertisement. Inspire conversations and shares – and be sure to ask questions.
Of all social networks, Facebook is best equipped to share responses to a post asking a question or sparking conversation.
There’s no shortage of options for analyzing Facebook data so you can track the success of your content .
Useful tools: URL shortener Bitly does more than just shrink down links. Each time you convert a link, Bitly offers stats on clicks generated from that specific link, making it helpful to see how much traffic is brought directly from sharing to Facebook.

5. YouTube
Who should use it: Brands with video content and ads, anyone giving explanations or sharing expertise
What to share: Short (less than 1.5 minutes) video content
Post frequency: Once or twice a week
Google treats its own well, and YouTube is the prime example of this fact. YouTube videos feature prominently in Google search results.
Keep this in mind when naming and describing videos.
Useful tools: A subscription widget or link to your website can help convert single views into long-term influence.

6. Google+
Who should use it: Brands already on the other major social networks, B2B networking, bloggers
What to share: More formal and professional than Facebook; Hashtags have major search value
Post frequency: Once or twice a day
As Google’s proposed alternative to Facebook, keywords and search engine optimization are central to the appeal of Google+. Link often to content on your own website to direct this search boost where you want it most.

7. Pinterest
Who should use it: Fashion, food, design, travel and anything DIY;
What to share: Creative, visual content
Post frequency: Minimum of twice a day
Users pin and re-pin posts to Pinterest Boards, which naturally push the content on Pinterest into categories. This makes easily-categorized content most apt for sharing, and wisely-chosen keywords essential to successful post captions.
Pinning and re-pinning frequently is necessary to appear within current results for a given search term, regardless of how popular your content is.

 

Businessshands

7 Tips For Developing A Social Media Strategy

Most consumers are looking to engage and connect with their favourite brands on social media.
Developing a stucessful social media marketing strategy will help increase your brand awareness, followership, and drive traffic to your website .

Here are 7 tips to help you with your social strategy in order to build your business presence.

1. Who is your target audience

Knowing and understanding your target audience is incredibly important to your digital marketing strategy. Decide who you are aiming to reach so your efforts will be aimed at engaging that audience.

2. Use a Blog on Your Company’s Website

Whether you use your blog used for news and updates, sharing valuable knowledge or expressing an opinion about a relevant topic in the industry, every company should be using a blog on their website.

3. Know Your Social Media Goals

Do you want to drive traffic to your website or build leads?
Every post that you publish and share on your social networks should have a goal, and purpose.

4. Share Engaging Content

By sharing engaging content– offering helpful advice, tips, and expertise, you are working to position your brand as a leader in your field.
This same concept applies to your social media marketing strategy – the goal is not to solely promote your products but to share value so your followers view your brand as a valuable source that they can turn to for assistance.

5. Be Social

Just don’t share your content and hope people will interact with your business.
Comment, Like and share your follower’s content. When fans respond to your content, highlight them in the comments.
These small and personal touches can give you an edge with your audience.

6. Customize Your Company’s Facebook and Twitter Page

Is your company’s Facebook and Twitter page a fair reflection of your brand, products and services? Use a customized background to create a truly memorable Profile page.

7. Test your results

You need to test your efforts to ensure what you’re doing is actually working. A social media management tool like Hootsuite will give you access to analytics tools which enable you to get a better understanding of the shares and content which are generating the most engagement and those that are not.
This is invaluable information, as you’ll be able to determine which content to focus on and enable you to provide more to your audience.

 

Businesshands

Where does your business measure on the social media scale

 

Someone once said to me “to understand how to do something well – you need to understand what good looks like” and he was right. Only when you know “what good looks like” can you put a structured plan in place to help you achieve it. So in today’s blog, we’re going to introduce you to what good looks like in the world of social media and give you the opportunity to understand where your business sits on the social media scale.  You’ll find a handy graphic above  illustrating your social media readiness.

Goals and Channel Integration
One of the first things to note about social media, is that it’s not just about posting messages and following people. If you’re going to do social media well, you first need to understand why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve from it.
Social media is part of the customer journey. A person finds and follows your company on social media, then they see an interesting post from you and click on it to get to your website. Next (hopefully) you’ve got some kind of call to action or sign-up form and from there (if you’re really good) not only will you receive an enquiry or sale, but your visitor will also be fed into your e-newsletter list or a set of automated mailers. By putting this structure in place, it helps you to understand what posts are good for social media and what posts aren’t so good. Having an endless stream of links to articles on other websites for example (as many organisations do) is not going to add any value to your business.

Community Management
The next key takeaway in this article is that social media is a 2-way communication platform. That means you need to be encouraging conversations and watching for and responding to your followers if they decide to communicate with you. If you’re really good – you’ll be actively searching the social media world for mentions of your organisation and proactively involving yourself in those conversations.

Content planning
Put your hands up if you have a 1-year content plan in place… anyone? What about 6 months… or 3 months? Ok – last chance, how about 1 month?
The chances are, when you think of social media, you think of short posts and images – but the reality is that the majority (and most successful) of posts contain links to articles. If you’re not writing your own blog / regular article – then your only option is to post links to articles on other websites and that immediately throws your highly effective customer journey out of the window.
Devising and creating regular content is critical to the success of your social media. The further you plan your content in advance, the more strategic it can become and the more value it will deliver to your organisation.

Paid Social Media Advertising
If we think back to the customer journey – perhaps the most critical part of it is to make sure you get found in the first place and that’s where paid social media advertising comes in. Social media advertising is hugely powerful, allowing you to target specific age groups, interests, geographical locations and even times of the day. Not only that, but you can set goals tied into your advertising. Do you want to acquire more followers, increase web traffic, get app downloads or increase newsletter sign-ups? Anything is possible. Here at Business Hands, we put a strong emphasis on social media paid advertising because we believe it offers better targeting options, better results and better value than traditional PPC (pay per click) methods through platforms like Google AdWords

Evaluation
Lastly and probably the least practiced – evaluation is the most value-add part of the social media journey. Let’s equate being a social media manager to a farmer. To get a high yield from your social media you need to invest in the right tools, you’ll need to try different strategies, you’ll need to nurture your crop (your community) and you’ll need to measure and evaluate everything you do. With the right technology in place, it very quickly becomes clear what is working and what is not and as time goes on you can fine tune your social media feeds to maximise audience engagement, drive website traffic and most importantly – increase sales.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction into what good social media looks like. You’ll find a helpful graphic below to help you plan to take your social media to the next level and obviously we’d love to help you achieve that.

Business Hands offers fully tailored content, social media and email marketing packages for every size of business at very competitive prices. To find out how we can help your business, contact us today on 0207 458 4788.

Businesshands.

Social Media for Business to Business Marketing

 

Social media visitors will follow your business updates and promotional offers and will know more about your business than website visitors.

Decide what social media  platform to use
LinkedIn- Is more business orientated and allows you to connect with more clients and possibly a business partnership.
Facebook and Twitter – Represents a large source of potential clients because of its popularity.
Instagram and Pinterest– Allows  businesses  depending on the industry to promote itself with pictures. Post attractive images of your products and boost your potential client base.

Develop a strategy
1. Be clear on your target audience – Its important to know who you are aiming to reach as potential clients. Connect and engage with that audience.
2. Content Sharing – Use engaging videos and images and post links to blog content.
3. Have clear social media goals- Each post should be tailored depending on if you aiming to boost website visitors or gain more likes and shares.

Social media is very important for B2B marketing.  B2B buyers will conduct research before making a decision and  satisfied clients will spread the word via social media. Its important to be part of this process and be able to interact and connect via social media.

 

Businesshands

Get your blog on – a beginner’s guide to blogging

 

Better Google rankings, increased website traffic, improved conversion rates and growing brand awareness. These are just some of the benefits that a blog can give your business and so if you value any of the above, it’s important that you make time and effort to write and publish a blog regularly. But where do you start and how do you make sure, it’s not like 80% of the other blog posts out there which deliver absolutely no value to the reader and leave you clicking on the exit button before you’ve even finished the first paragraph? Well, here at businesshands, we write a lot of blogs for a lot of different clients so here’s our top 5 tips on how to produce a compelling blog.

Tip #1 – Understand who you are writing for

The first thing to remember when you are blogging is that you’re not writing for you. You are writing for the reader. Ask yourself what kind of person do you want to come to your website. What are their interests in relation to your offering? What questions might they have? What topics would they find useful? How can you educate them or excite them so that they go away thinking “I enjoyed that, I want to come back.” What value can you give them? Write down your thoughts. This should give you the basis for Tip #2.

Tip #2 – Write a content plan

So you’ve just completed a brainstorm about your ideal website visitor. You know who they are, what they like and what they might like to know. Now turn all of that into a content schedule. Build a list of weekly topics. Try to come up with an enticing title for each and underneath write a few bullet points to help frame what points you want to get across and any conclusion that is to be drawn.

Tip #3 – Structure your blog

Typically each blog post will contain an introduction, “the meat”, and then a summary / conclusion / call to action. Your introduction needs to be punchy, particularly in the first couple of sentences as this is what will appear in the preview when you post it on social media. For many writers however, it’s these first two sentences that prove to be the hardest to write. If you’re suffering a case of writer’s block, try pretending that you’re already two or three sentences in and start from there. You can come back and add the introductory first sentence later on, once your article is in full flow. If you’re truly stuck, and need the introductory sentence before you can get going, think about using a statistic and then building off it. For example:
“A recent survey found that 88% of B2B marketers see content production as the most important part of their marketing strategy”

Tip #4 – Pack it full of personality

The chances are, your company is not the only one offering the product or service that you do. As an insider in the company, you no doubt firmly believe you are unique, but to an outsider a hat shop is just like any other hat shop. A POS software company is just like any other POS software company, a legal or accountancy firm is just like any other legal or accountancy firm. It’s what you say (Tip #1) and how you say it that will make your business stand out so try and pull your writing away from corporate speak and give it a human touch. The more human and real you can be, the more powerful your blog will become. Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences and relate them directly to your readership… and don’t believe for a second that this tip is not relevant for the industry you are in. No matter how corporate or formal your industry is, adding personality and humanness to your writing will make the information you are providing far more digestible.

Tip #5 – Use great imagery

A good image can speak a thousand words and even if it doesn’t, it will be a powerful lure to bring more readers to your blog. It’s important then, to choose your image carefully. For many bloggers today, the standard practice is to use a google image search to find something they like and then use this on their own blog. But there’s a danger with this. Most of these images are not royalty free. If you are using an image without the consent of the image owner, you are liable and could face legal action or be forced to pay a fee for the use of the image. Better practice is to use a stock image or create one yourself.

Of course, there is a danger with stock images too… in that some of them look too much like a stock image. Shy away from bland, overly corporate or cliché images and try and find something unique that fits in with your topic. In our next blog, we’ll be providing a list of great websites you can use to get truly inspiring (and mostly free) stock imagery so watch this space.

So there’s five quick tips on how to blog for beginners… and here’s a bonus one which is probably the most important of them all.

Tip #6 – Content is nothing without distribution

You’ve done the hard work of writing and publishing your blog on your website but you’re not finished yet. Unless you promote your blog and distribute it to your audience, nobody will see it. A blog is typically distributed in one of two ways.

  1. Through a newsletter to your existing database
  2. Through social media – this can be posted on your company page and also be boosted to reach new audiences by turning it into an ad. Don’t forget with social media, you can post your blog multiple times, simply by changing the headline image and choosing a different message to display alongside the link to your blog

Thanks for reading. If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it with your connections and if you would like to discuss any of the topics covered, don’t hesitate to drop us a line on +44 (0)203 458 4788 or email us at info@businesshands.co.uk.

How to market any product or service effectively

You’ll find a million articles on the net these days about the virtues of different types of marketing and why it’s great. SEO fanatics will tell you about the importance of getting your business high up the list in Google, whilst social media bods will tell you the importance of brand engagement and emotional connectivity. Content writers love to tell a story which puts the consumer at its heart and email marketers will provide you with statistical analysis showing how they deliver ROI. And all of that is great except it misses out one vital piece of the marketing puzzle. One so powerful, it can render any marketing activity you do, regardless of the medium you choose – as completely useless. And that’s asking one very important question – “what exactly am I trying to sell?”

You see a spade is not just a spade. They’re big, the small, they’re tall, they’re short, they’re squared headed, they’re rounded headed, they’re wooden handled, they’re plastic handled, they’re expensive, they’re cheap. Each spade has a different set of properties and consequently, has the power to fulfil a slightly different need and that will make it more or less attractive to a particularly type of customer. The same goes for almost any kind of product or service you can think of. So with that in mind, here’s a few things you need to be thinking of before you begin to deliver your marketing message.

1. The problem

Does your product or service solve a problem, if so what does it solve? Not only that, why specifically is your product or service particularly good at solving this problem and why is that important to your customer?

2. The emotion

How will the customer feel if they have their problem solved by your product or service? Paint a picture and put them in the moment. Ahh, isn’t it just great having that problem solved? If your product or service doesn’t solve a problem, let’s say for example, it’s purely a recreational offering – that’s even more of a reason to pull on the emotional benefits of that your audience can expect from buying your product or service.

3. The user or the buyer?

The user of your product /service and the buyer are not necessarily the same person and it’s important to understand who has a greater influence in the purchasing decision and make sure you speak / market mostly to them. Take for example, a toy doll. The buyer will most likely be a responsible adult whilst the child will be the user and the person who influences the decision, hence most adverts for toys (except educational ones) are focused on selling to the child. Move that into a B2B environment however and you might have an expensive piece of software that you’re trying to sell. The users might be a group of salesman, but the buyer is the CEO. He’s the one trying to solve a business problem and he’s the one you need to direct your marketing towards. What problem are you solving for him / her and how?

4. The competition

No matter how good you are at what you do, there’s always experts in your field that you can learn from. More often than not, they’re the competition. Now I’m a firm believer in the idea that whatever you focus your mind on will grow. If you focus on your business, it will grow. If you always focus on the competition, they will end up growing because you’ll be distracted. But that shouldn’t stop you from doing some occasional research on your rivals. What are they saying? How are they positioning their products or services and is there anything that your product or service offers which theirs doesn’t? A little look at the competition doesn’t hurt, but make sure your research is objective and not artificially negative or biased and don’t get obsessive.

5. Define yourself

So now you’ve pulled together all this information and you have a better idea than ever of what it is you’re trying to sell and who exactly you need to be selling it to. Now it’s crunch time. You need to condense everything you’ve learnt into a series of short, well-defined messages about your product or service which you will consistently focus on through your sales and marketing campaigns. It doesn’t have to be many, in fact in many cases – the fewer the better. Make sure your messages are succinct and aimed at the right person and you’ll have a much better chance with your sales and marketing activities, no matter what medium you choose to push your message out through, be it social media, email, content or SEO.

We’d love to hear your comments below and if you like this article, don’t forget to share it with your colleagues and of course, if you need help with your marketing – don’t hesitate to drop us a line today on 0207 458 4788.

Thanks for reading

5 things to consider before you make your first post on social media

So I’ve just been working on the marketing strategy for a brand-new tech start-up that I’m bringing to life called Secret Think Tank and thought I’d share with you, some of the factors we’ve taken into consideration before taking the leap into social media with the new business. Let’s dive straight in.

What’s your goal?

It’s a simple question which for many people, proves difficult to answer. Many organisations we speak to have a social media presence because they think they should, but they don’t really know what they’re trying to achieve from it or what they should expect from it – and that’s a problem. If you don’t know why you’re doing social media, how do you know if what you are posting is helping or hindering your objectives. For our new start-up, Secret Think Tank, our goals are to increase brand awareness and generate registrations for the platform before the launch. With that in mind, we can now tailor our posts accordingly and build a strategy to maximise the reach of our posts to improve brand awareness.

Who is your target audience?

The chances are that you’ll want to target your ideal customer or at least, the person with the decision-making ability with regards to purchases.  The last thing you’ll want to do is publish a stack of posts giving them the hard sell so you’ll need to think about the interests, the values and the challenges that they have and how that coincides with your products or services. Think about how you can relate to your target audience and most importantly, how you can add value to your target audience. It’s important at this stage to also figure out where they hang out. There’s little point having a LinkedIn strategy if for example, you’re trying to sell to teenagers. But don’t be presumptuous about this. Go and do your research. Hang out on a range of platforms and find which ones work best for your brand.

What is your brand persona?

Now you might think we’re starting to get all “agency” on you, but this is a very important point. Your company will be defined to the online world by how you come across on social media. If your business is always posting negative things, you’ll come across as a negative company. If your posts are short and devoid of personality, that’s how your company will come across on social media. Think about your brand values and how you want to be perceived by your followers and make a sustained effort to adhere to that in every post you deliver.

How can you integrate your social media into the wider marketing strategy?

If you’ve got hundreds of thousands of followers, you’ll probably find that social media is a strong sales tool in its own right. But if you’re not that lucky, then you’ll need to think about how your social media fits into the bigger picture. How can social media be used to complement your sales and other marketing activities? Where does it sit in the process? How can you maximise the value of social media to your business, day in day out?

What’s your growth strategy?

Starting off with zero followers and no social media posts on your wall can be pretty daunting, so how are you going to get through the first few months and build a sizeable following that starts to deliver value to your business? There’s no doubt that in the beginning at least, you’ll need to allocate a decent amount of money to run social media advertising campaigns. If you’re a social media newcomer, that might come as a surprise. After all, social media is free… right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s a bit of a myth. Sure you can post for free, but if you want to reach anyone outside of your friends, family and work colleagues, you’ll need to pay.

There’s typically three types of campaign  you might want to run – (i) increase the number of followers (ii) drive traffic to your website or (iii) maximise engagement with your audience. Whether you choose one, two or all three of those options and how you split your social media budget between them will all depend on the answer to the first question – “what’s your goal?”

 

So there’s 5 things to consider before you even tap a hashtag into your keyboard. I’m sure there’s more. Can you think of any? If so, let us know and we’ll publish the best ones on a second blog and give you credit for them.

Thanks for reading and if you’ve find this article useful, don’t forget to share.

Chris Mayfield

CEO of businesshands

Founder of Secret Think Tank

5 Social Media Myths Debunked

Most organisations now have at least a skeleton presence on social media. For many though, social media is not quite working out how they thought. Is your organisation one of them? If you are struggling to find the value in your social media activities, it could be because you’ve fallen victim to one of these common social media myths… take a look.

The more followers you have the greater the success

This is probably the most common misconception about social media… that more followers = more results but that couldn’t be more wrong. This myth has given rise to a whole industry selling bundles of instant followers to boost your count and drive results. The reality is though, there’s no point in having any followers unless they’re going to interact with your posts and engage with your brand. The bundles of instant followers you see for sale are fake. Having 10 high quality followers is far more powerful than having 10,000 fake followers who don’t do anything at all. Engagement is the name of the game when it comes to social media. Your social media activity forms part of your customer journey. You need to incite action (either a like, a click through to a website, a share, a ‘buy it now’, a ‘call now’, or an enquiry).

And whilst you may think it doesn’t do any harm to buy a few thousand instant followers to make your profile look good, doing so will affect your ability to measure the success of your activity… and if you can’t measure the success of your marketing, how do you know if you’re spending your time and your money wisely.

You need to have a presence on every platform

We’ve covered this in a few posts recently but it’s an important point. Don’t waste time advertising in places where your customers won’t be. B2B companies tend to do well on LinkedIn, Twitter and surprising for some – Instagram. For B2C, replace LinkedIn with Facebook. But don’t take our word for it. Go and explore each social platform yourself. Are there brands similar to yours on that platform that are doing well? Are there people you would like to target, hanging out on these platforms. If you can’t decide whether a social platform will be good for your business, the best thing to do is dive in and give it a go. Put a 1 month, high visibility strategy in place and measure the benefits. This could be an increase in website visitors, enquiries or sales.

The key is not to make assumptions about your audience and where they might hang out. Here’s a few businesses you might not expect to do well on their chosen social media but they do.

Instagram

Biltwell (bike parts):                        https://www.instagram.com/biltwell/

King Arthur Flour:                             https://www.instagram.com/kingarthurflour/

Facebook

Mabel’s Labels (stationary):         https://www.facebook.com/Mabelhood

Brian Bilston (poetry):                   https://www.facebook.com/BrianBilston/

LinkedIn:

Farm and Stable Suppliers            https://www.linkedin.com/company/10342445

The Sausage Man                             https://www.linkedin.com/company/5343033

Twitter:

Severn Trent (utilities)                   https://twitter.com/stwater

Charmin (loo roll!)                           https://twitter.com/Charmin

Social media is not a sales tool

Ok, ok, there is some truth in this. But if you’re expecting to push out a few tweets and have the phone ringing off the hook or be inundated with orders, think again. Social media is a sales tool however, if you put a strategy in place and build it into your sales process and customer journey. Think about how your clients currently buy from you. The chances are they come through your website, right? If that’s the case, how do you get more people to visit your website? Through social media of course. But you’ll need to get creative. Social media offers so much more than simply the ability to push out post after post. Think about paid advertising campaigns, sponsored content connected to landing pages… what about a competition or a direct messaging campaign either through LinkedIn or Twitter? There are hundreds of ways to use the social media platforms to engage with your target audience… and as we mentioned before, engagement is the name of the game.

You can put all of your posts into a scheduler on a Monday morning and then forget about it for the week.

So this follows on from our point above. The more time and effort you put into social media, the more it will deliver for your business. Working with SMEs, we occasionally have to compete with social media freelancers for clients and typically they come in at about ¼ of the price. Now that might sound like a good deal to you, but if all they’re doing is putting a few posts in a scheduler once a week, you won’t be getting value for money. Stacking a couple of posts per day into a scheduler and ignoring it for the rest of the week is akin to standing in a shop doorway and occasionally commenting on the world or shouting out the occasional offer. It’s not an effective way to do business. Far better is to get amongst your customers, get involved in their conversations, grow brand awareness and build relationships. That’s when social media begins to deliver value to a business.

It’s impossible to measure the benefit to your business of social media

One of the core principles of successful marketing is measurement. It doesn’t matter if it’s door to door leaflet drops, a Google AdWords campaign, an email newsletter or your social media. So what should you be measuring when it comes to social media marketing? Well, that all depends on what the point of your social media is. If you’re posting blindly to your social media pages without a strategy and a set of objectives, you won’t have a great deal to go on… and furthermore, your social media won’t be very successful. First, think about what you want to achieve (brand awareness, a click through to a website, a share, a ‘buy it now’, a ‘call now’, or an enquiry). Next think about how you’ll be able to measure this metric. Take a measurement now, before it all starts. Finally, develop a strategy to help you achieve your goals and put it in play. Measure regularly and modify / fine tune your strategy as and when necessary.

With these 5 social media myths debunked, hopefully you’ll save time and money and getting better results from your marketing efforts in future. Here’s one last myth we should probably debunk. Social media isn’t free. You might frown at this as you sit there regularly posting on your favourite social media platform without paying a penny, but if you want to promote your organisation through a social media strategy, you will need to spend money on paid social advertising campaigns to see any kind of success.

If this all sounds a bit complicated or confusing… or you just don’t have the time or the skillset within your organisation to make your social media work, contact a member of the businesshands team today on 0207 458 4788 or email us at info@businesshands.co.uk.

PS: Don’t forget to share this post if you’ve found it useful.

10 Ways to Increase Sales in 2017

Yep, we know – there are probably a million articles on the net this week about how to increase sales in 2017. But this post is different – why? Because it’s actually useful. It’s full of real, no nonsense, genuinely implementable things you can do to increase your chances of getting new business in 2017. Are you ready? Let’s begin.

Revise your message

Take a look at the wording on your website and in your marketing literature. Is it still relevant in 2017? Are your clients still facing the same challenges? Do they still want the same things? What are your competitors saying? Is it time to modernise your message to remain relevant in the year ahead?

Go through your existing clients and upsell or cross sell

It’s a simple as it sounds. Pull up a list of your existing clients and ask what more can you do for them. Can you sell them a higher volume of the same product or do you have an alternative product that they would also benefit from? It might pay to look at their website and their social media and find out what’s going on in the company to give you a better idea of how you can add value. Unless you have hundreds or even thousands of clients, it pays to go through each one and create a unique offer just for them. It may be more time consuming but you’ll see greater returns. Send each client an email with their bespoke offer and follow up 24 hours later with a phone call.

‘Happy Meal’ your offering

This is an extension on the idea about and is a great way to increase sales and cross sell your products. Just like we do here at businesshands, why not try bundling a selection of your products and services together at a discount price and offering this as a package to your customers. This works well if you have a large client / prospect database. Try to create 2 or three different bundles to meet different needs and budgets.

Lure your old clients back

If you lost some clients in the past year or two, now is the time to put in a quick call or email. Acknowledge them as a previous client, ask them about their plans for 2017, find out about their current arrangements and if they’re happy with them. Next be brutally honest and ask them if you could do anything to bring persuade them to give you another shot, what would it be?

Turn your invoice into a sales tool

This is a real winner. Add a special / time limited offer to the bottom of every invoice you send in 2017 and we guarantee it will deliver results.

Ask for referrals and recommendations

Don’t be afraid to ask clients with whom you have a good relationship to recommend you to their connections, whether that be clients or suppliers. You may want to put a referral scheme in place. There’s been a lot of negativity around these schemes but done well, they can become a real business development asset for your business. Here at businesshands, we offer a 10% referral payment to our existing clients (in the form of a discount on their bill) if we get a new client based on their recommendation. We only pay out when the new client pays their first invoice. Our referral scheme is mentioned at the bottom of every invoice as are the T&C’s around it so our clients get a reminder of the scheme every month.

Invest in a quality social media strategy

Here’s two questions for you. (i) Is your business on social media? (ii) Has social media delivered any value to the business? Your answers are probably (i) Yes and (ii) No. We talk with countless start-ups and SMEs every month who are not getting anything out of their social media. Done well though, social media could be one of your greatest business development assets. If it’s not working in your business, get an agency that specialises in it to help you out… preferably us of course!

Do 5 prospecting calls every day

Nobody likes to make sales calls but if you really want to see your business pipeline skyrocket it’s a necessary evil. Try doing your sales calls first thing in the morning before opening your emails or getting distracted with other convenient tasks. 5 calls can take anything from 10 to 30 minutes of your time after which you’ll be free to carry on with your normal daily activities. Best of all, if your morning calls go well, you’ll be set up for a great day ahead. If you’re selling B2B (business to business) – you can create your prospects list from research on LinkedIn and prepare the day before.

Combine blogs and LinkedIn

If you’re a B2B business and you’re not writing regular high quality blogs/articles – you should be. Blogging is not only great for your SEO but it helps to define who you are as a brand, it helps to show your expertise and it helps to demonstrate you can solve your (potential) customer’s problems. A great way to maximise the visibility of your blog and get it in front of people who will find value in it, is to set up a LinkedIn InMail campaign. This will allow you to introduce your company to a very specific list of people which can be filtered by Job title, seniority, company size, location and many other factors. If you’d like to know more about this option – get in touch.

Exhibit

Exhibiting at a trade show is a great way to gather new leads and it doesn’t have to be expensive.  We have just booked a stand at a local trade show in February for just £130 + VAT. Don’t be afraid to haggle on price and plan the event carefully. You’ll need to think about what you do in the build up to the event, what you’re going to do and say at the event and then how you’re going to follow up afterwards.

So there you go, 10 ways for your business to increase sales in 2017. And because we’re full of new year’s cheer, here’s another one on us…

Network within your industry

Networking events might seem superficial but they’re not just about finding new clients. These events provide a great platform to make more contacts within your industry and make more people aware of your business. By growing awareness of your brand, you’re more likely to receive referrals and who knows, you may even be able to build a partnership with another non-competing business in your sector to help sales really take off.

If you would like any more information or advice on the above tips, why not give one of our team a call today on 0207 458 4788. Thanks… and don’t forget – if you’ve found this article useful, please share it with your network.