Hello again everyone. In my post last month I briefly mentioned social media, but this month, I will be going into detail and explaining why it is important for your business to have a social media presence.
I am sure everyone is familiar with the phrase social media. I know some business owners are scared of social media or assume social media is only for the younger generation but it is not. If you get it right, social media could be the most powerful marketing tool to help your business grow.
MyGlassesAndMe’s Experience of Social Media
There are many different social media platforms available to your business and choosing which ones to go for is tricky. For MGAM, we have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When the blog started 6 years ago, it was all about Twitter and Facebook.. We joined Instagram in June 2012 but didn’t start to really use it until 2016.
The reason why I have three different social media platforms for MGAM it is because as a blog, it is important to attract as many readers as possible and this rule applies to businesses too. You will find the different social media platforms attract a different age group and people with different interests. MGAM’s most successful platform is Twitter, followed by Instagram, then Facebook. Twitter and Instagram always work particularly well for blogs because they are short, snappy and more casual, which suits the tone of most bloggers.
Different Social Media Platforms
As a general rule, Facebook is a great B2C platform. Facebook attracts users worldwide and has the widest user age range, users from 13 to 65 plus are active daily on the platform. This is ideal for an optical practice because it is the type of business which attracts people of any age.
With a Facebook business page, you can manage your own advertising by paying a small fee if you wish to boost your post to attract more views. To run an advert on Facebook, you can pick who to target using age range, gender, location, interests and more.
[TIP] For a business page, just remember to use the correct settings as to who is allowed to post and manage it.
For MGAM, Facebook has been a good tool to attract optical professionals, therefore I mainly use it if I have optical news to share or whenever I have a new blog post which I think it could be of interest.
A typical Twitter user is from the age brackets of 18-29 and 30-49 (correct as of March 2017, sproutsocial.com). It is more targeted in age compared to Facebook, however, Twitter has been a popular social media platform when it comes to customer care. It is short (140 characters per tweet), quick and instant. For MGAM it is a great channel to remind people to revisit older blog posts which they may have missed the first time round. It has been a hugely successful reminder.
Linking back to the first post I did, if you do choose to have a blog area on your website, Twitter could work to your advantage like it has for MGAM. Twitter has also been great for giving my followers quick updates on what I am up to on a daily basis, especially when I am out and about viewing the latest eyewear. MGAM Twitter account attract both optical professionals and consumers.
Instagram has been a fast growing platform and gained popularity very quickly. Instagram is actually quite an all rounder in terms of social media platforms. It has the broad age range like Facebook, it is less complicated than Facebook to use and it is quick like Twitter. All it requires is for users to take a photo, apply a filter to enhance the photo (optional), add as much or as little writing as you wish and post. People can always engage with an image better than words alone.
Did you know ? Out of the big three social platforms, Instagram is the most engaged by users!
Using Instagram as a tool to click and buy has been extremely popular. Many fashion retailers uses Instagram to encourage consumers to shop on a daily basis. This rule can be applied to your practice. Take an image of a pair of glasses (sunglasses are always great in the summer), take a new photo of a pair of glasses each day, upload it to Instagram and add in a shop link to your bio page. That is the easiest way to do it but there are other ways too.
If your practice does not have an online shop, we can still use this method to show your potential customers what style glasses you stock. You can use up to 30 different hashtags in a single post to maximise the exposure of your image too. It’s all about using the right hashtag on Instagram and again for MGAM, it attracts both optical professionals and consumers.
[TIP] When you search for a hashtag on Instagram, For an example, #eyewear. You will see a figure on the right hand side. That is how popular #eyewear is. The more popular the hashtag doesn't always mean your photo will be easily found. In fact, it may be lost. So, try an alternative word.
Other Social Media Platforms
YouTube is one of the biggest social media platforms and is the second largest search engine after Google. It’s great if you want to make video content, however video production for Youtube can be time consuming compared to all the other platforms.
[TIP] Have you seen our digital resources to help you get started with video?
LinkedIn is by far the best social media platform for B2B, great for networking and finding out what is going on within your industry by following relevant businesses and organisations.
Snapchat users are typically under the age of 25. It is a platform for uploading 10 second video clips or images that are automatically deleted after 10 seconds unless you create a story, then they are available for 24 hours.
Pinterest is another visual lead platform which allow users to share (pin) images and videos to their own or other’s boards (like creating a moodboard).
Why is Social Media important?
Social media is a self promotion tool and it is free to set up, it does not cost your business anything to have an account. Everyone we know will have at least one type of social media account even if it is not used on a daily basis.
The fact is, almost every consumer has a social account businesses must proactively promote and market themselves. Let your customers step into your world and get them to understand what your businesses is all about.
MGAM Top Tips for Social Media
1) Pick a social media platform that works for your business. Things to consider are, types of customers your business attract and their age bracket.
2) Having more social media accounts is not always better to draw in different audiences because they require you to maintain them on a daily basis. Ideally, have no more than three so they are easier to manage. You can lose your customers' interest quickly by not regularly updating your account.
3) What to put on social media? Things which relate to your business, such as fun facts about your business, about your staff, about eyes, eye health, new stock coming in or promote that there are still appointments available. Also, post content that helps your customers and solves their everyday challenges.
4) Social media sometimes may feel pointless because you do not always get a response, but it is still important to keep going and keep updating them. Potential customers can see your business are active and approachable. If they have a quick question they want to ask, they can ask via social media instead of picking the phone up and calling, or waiting for an email response. It is another way to make it easier for customers to reach you.
5) Stick to a frequency of how often you post on social media. If you can only post three times per day on Facebook then stick to it on a daily basis. However, posting three times may work for Facebook, but may not work on all social media platforms. Twitter for an instant, will require a much higher frequency because in one swipe, another ten or twenty new tweets will pop up on the user’s screen. So, if you only post 3 times a day on Twitter, the chances of your audience missing your tweet is high.
6) Be prepared for criticism on social media. It is a space where people want their opinion heard whether they are welcomed or not, but how you handle and defuse the situation is the key. It will show your potential customers that your business is capable of providing a good service.
7) Social media is supposed to be a less formal way of communicating, so set a tone and stick to it, ensure all your staff are fully informed.
8) Create a hashtag as unique as possible for your business so it is easier to track, especially if you are going to run an advert. You want to be able to see results.
9) Try to use as many hashtags as you can, especially if you are new to social media or want to build an audience. This method works especially well for Twitter and Instagram because people do search for things using certain hashtags.
10) Always try to remember to reply to comments good or bad. One of the most important things about social media is to keep up with the engagement and that also means follow relevant people or businesses and retweet what they may say that could be of interest to your audience.
Social media is an in depth topic, what I have mentioned above, is just a very brief summary. I can go on for much longer but that would be far too long for a blog post, no one has time to read essay length blog posts.
This is why businesses actually employ people to manage social media activity because the general rule for social media is, the more often you post, the more followers and engagement you are likely to get. That equals to a larger audience and attracting new people to your business. There really is so much you can do on social media.
Social media is now part of everyone’s life in one way or another and it is silly for businesses to not use it to their advantage. For small businesses, you don’t have to do what the big companies are doing, you just need to focus on what you are doing and the area you operate in. If you are an opticians based in Birmingham, then take a look at how businesses in your local area use social media to bring in business.
Pick a social media platform you are comfortable with, you don’t have to follow the latest platforms and not every platform will work well for your business anyway. Most importantly, make sure you have the time to maintain it. Social media is a good way to reach out to your customers and vice versa.
Thank you for reading and see you again next month. In the meantime, you can follow @MyGlassesAndMe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what I get up to, or visit MyGlassesAndMe.co.uk.