Podcast 36: Panel Discussion – Using Social Media to Grow Your Business

Panelists discuss using social media to grow your business

Welcome to episode 36 of the Waiake – My podcast to help you take your brand to new heights online.

In this episode I wanted to share with you the wisdom of my three co panellists from the recent Harcourts Real Estate Conference. We talk about digital marketing and using social media to grow your business.

We were interviewed by Troy Rawhiti-Forbes who has for the last few years been the conduit between New Zealand’s largest telco and our nation on Twitter and Facebook. Having experienced the highs of branding brilliance and the lows of national outages and email hacks Tory is in good space to bring out the best in my fellow guests and to prompt me to say a few things of merit too.

Coming from quite different backgrounds it was really interesting to get some diverse perspectives – yet hear some common themes as to whats best when using social media to grow your audience and business.

I’ll let you hear Tory give the impressive introductions (I cringed through mine) and I hope you find it of worth as the topics covered work in many industries.

If you’re keen to follow along the other panelist are:

HR

Key takeaways:

  • Know your Unique Selling Points and incorporate this into your online presence and SEO.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new networks, find out what fits best with you.
  • Always be transparent in your actions.
  • Think – “What would I want to hear from a brand?” and “How does this help my customers?”

HR

Using the POST Method to define online initiatives

The POST Method – is a method for defining strategy that’s been around for the web equivalent of a lifetime.  Back in 2007 the good folks at Forrester coined the POST methodology. I’ve found it to be a fantastic tool for making strategic and tactical decisions around projects online.If you haven’t guessed it’s not a strategy around posting things on blogs or social media, it’s an acronym.

The method starts with People

Scrum stand up

Clearly defining who your target audience is and what are they like is key to any project – it labels who you are trying to reach.  the tighter the description here the better. Most marketing and communication fails by trying to appeal to too wider audience. There’s a  are a phrase I love around this – “If you try to please everyone, you please no one”.

Everyone with a pulse or middle aged men is not a defined target market.

Now you could leverage buyer personas  – which are kind of like an ideal profile of your target. You could use existing client data to find the median person. the  demographic and psychographic profile of your main customer.

One simple way to do this is to go check the demographics of your facebook page fans. I wrote a post on this last month for insiderCXM if you’re interested. With a simple look at your stats you can see your median age, sex, and their location. You might be surprised and find out you’re targeting the opposite, but lets hope it fits with what you were thinking.  Dig a little deeper by looking at the pages they like and you can start to get a feel for their psychographic profile too.

Now if your target audience is not on Facebook or if you’re properly into this you should slo do some market research and interview some existing and or potential customers. its the best way to create the perfect persona.

What partnerships could get you to this audience?

The second part to this people equation is working out what partnerships could get you to this audience and how could help you communicate with them? Your research might show that they are all fans of a big sports team – so partnering with them and doing a little brandscaping might work.

Someone must be accountable for driving this to success

The third part is working out initial thoughts on a RASCI chart for the initiative, who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed about it. You may not have all the seats, but for anything to happen someone must be accountable for driving it to success.

Ok so you’ve got a clear idea of who  you want to reach and who’s involved. What do you want to tell them. What’s the Objective of what you’re doing? the O of POST.

Objectives: Here you can outline the message or action or goal you have for this audience.

What are your goals? Are you more interested in listening in order to gain insights? are you messaging to them or communicating an initiative or campaign?  Do you want to engage with brand ambassadors or just get someone along to a gig? Once you know what you want, then you can drive how  you will act.

That’s The Strategy – Let’s say I start communicating as the CEO with my fans on Facebook or Twitter – what will my company do if people reply – what if they say something bad, what if they have great ideas – how do I get them in a backlog , how do I prioritise them. This is the strategy – planning for how you change your relationship with customers? What do you want to get out of these relationships? Which direction do you want to take and what is the underlying proposition?

With these strategic decisions made – then and only then – do we get onto the final part. The part where most people start. You know the phrases – “We should be on Facebook, everyone’s there” or “are we tweetering this?”

Choosing the right Technology

It’s here you define the medium that best matches your audience, the message you want to give and how you will change your organisation when you meet your objectives.

you look at what applications or websites you should you use? SEO, SEM, and how much time should this take? This step reflects the choices you make in the first three steps. if the people you want to connect with aren’t on Facebook or hate video messages or will demand transparent rapid responses – something your P O and S answers have  determined –  then making a viral cat video to post on Facebook is just wrong.

So once again – People first, Objectives and goals next, Strategy and then LAST – Technology that will help you get there.

If you like to hear more about this and a few other things that i think are really useful check out my latest podcast

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How brands survive in a photo rich online world

#Latergram . Throwback to Wednesday's sunset.

A post shared by Nick Allen (@nickwallen) on

With the latest Twitter update your stream on desktop and mobile features landscape shaped thumbnail previews of photos. This coupled with Twitter cards for blog posts, videos and many more media types, means far more images in what was originally an SMS like feed.  Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and the attention Pinterest is getting all echo the fact that social media sites are getting more visual every day.  Pinterest and Tumblr are just outside the Top 20 sites in New Zealand.

Thinking through our Facebook feeds and what gets me “like”-ing I’ve come up with a starter for Five.

Five image subjects that will appeal to 90% (made up stat) of your audience. Sharing a picture that includes or combines one of these five should out-do a branded/text filled ad. I think they apply to videos too.

In no particular order, but in one that rolls off the tongue well it is:

  1. Pets
  2. People
  3. Places
  4. Faces
  5. Food

Each in moderation of course, and linked to your brand. The images should support your brand’s perception, yet be honest like the images you would see from friends in your feed. Some might have a great Canon or Nikon, but remember most friends don’t have professional lighting studios.

That said they might share pictures of a pristine Ferrari, a meal on a white background, or an airbrushed pop star from time to time.  Some of my favourite TV shows are behind the scenes, the making of and brand stories. Unpolished and engaging.

So let us see how many I can work in over the coming months.