Social Media for Your Business: Five Keys to Success

No matter what business you’re in, social media can help you get to know your customers better and strengthen your brand if it’s used in the right way. Fleur Revell shared her top five keys to success for 2015 with Wares New Zealand magazine.

In an increasingly digital world, you’re more likely to hear about your salesperson’s exceptional service from a post on your Facebook page than in person, or about a product being found cheaper elsewhere via a customer’s tweet instead of during a chat in-store.

Customers are often turning to social media now to find out information about companies, provide feedback, and feel a connection with a brand or business, according to social media expert and director of Impact PR, Fleur Revell.

However, while it’s simple to set up a Facebook page, Twitter account or Instagram feed, it’s not always easy to know what works best. Here, Revell reveals five key rules for social media success.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media

It’s tempting to think of Facebook as a place where people post silly videos and pictures of cats, but it’s important to give social media time and resources if you want to make it work. “Consumers are spending hours every week on Facebook and other social media sites. Your company’s social media account may be the first impression you make on potential customers as they research options or follow up on recommendations online,” says Revell.

Additionally, sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also the first place many people go to complain or ask questions, making it essential they are monitored to address issues and solve problems. “Many companies I have worked with on social media have had an attitude that its not very important, but it should be considered one of the most important parts of your online strategy,” adds Revell.

Plan your social strategy

“One of the most common mistakes we see businesses make with social media is to have flurries of activity and then nothing new for a long time, which leads to a lack of fresh content that will keep drawing people back or entice new customers to the page or feed,” says Revell.

Planning a regular and consistent schedule of material, and checking that it fits with your brand, as well as appealing to your intended audience, is key to your social media appearing well maintained and interesting – which will reflect well on your company. “If you aren’t sure how to plan a social media strategy, then seek out an expert in PR or marketing who can help,” Revell suggests. “Having a plan of key times to post, product images or info you want to use will ensure you make the most of your chances to interact with the public.”

Close up of a social media business plan

Be a person, not a product catalogue

While it may seem like a good place to post endless product information or plug sale items, the key to good social media is to offer your customers the chance to learn about or talk about the things that interest them first and foremost.

“The reason people love social media sites is because they find funny, thought-provoking or useful things on them to talk about or share with friends and family,” says Revell. If you are simply trying to sell products, it’s unlikely you’ll see much engagement, she explains. Instead, think about your customers and talk to them about the things they are interested in. “It may be a news article, an image from a customer of their latest project, or a piece of news about one of your team. If you intersperse this kind of content with more commercial posts, you’re more likely to grow and retain your followers.”

Consider promotions to help grow your following

Growing a good following on social media may mean investing in some promotions or advertising to help kickstart your audience, says Revell. “Competitions and giveaways can be a great way to get people engaging with your social media, and sometimes supporting these with advertising, particularly on Facebook, may also be worthwhile,” she explains. “When thinking about a competition or promotion, make sure you choose something of value to your customers and preferably something they might share with friends as well, so that you increase your exposure to as many people as possible while rewarding your followers.”

Be flexible

Social media is, like all of the online world, constantly adapting and changing its capabilities and offerings – which means any company using it as a marketing tool needs to be open to adjusting their approach too. “While Instagram used to be a place for images only, it’s now seeing a surge in the popularity of video content, which means companies using it need to change their approach in order to look relevant and up-to-date,” Revell explains.

“No matter what your business, it’s important that any of your public profiles reflect your brand and represent it positively,” says Revell. “Make sure that social media is treated with plenty of respect and it can become an invaluable business tool.”

Fleur Revell

Fleur Revell

Director at Impact PR
Fleur Revell is one of the country’s most eminent PR consultants and public relations practitioners with more than 20 years industry experience behind her. Fleur is also a three times Qantas Media Awards winner and Feature Writer of the Year; and has an exceptional working knowledge of the New Zealand media landscape and its accelerating evolution in the digital age.