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Effective use of social media

If you are selling any kind of products or services, either offline, online or though both, you know that the quality of your offering should be your paramount consideration, since your aim is for prospective clients to trust you and set what you are offering apart from your competitors rendering your their vendor of preference. However, communicating to your existing and prospective clients the right messages about your products or services is equally important and if that is not done through the appropriate communication channels, then the outcome will definitely be far from desirable.

All stakeholders in the commerce industry, both offline and online, are aware of the challenges they are faced with in today’s fast paced modern world, where the internet and online communication drive the way. To illustrate the importance of social media channels, even in a small market such as Cyprus, where many might think that offline marketing techniques are still King, please take a moment to evaluate the importance of the proven fact that according to the latest statistics, over 80% of all Cypriots have a Facebook account!

The prevalence of social media channels might lead some to falsely believe that promoting a service or product through such channels is made easy and simple. This is not the case. On the contrary, a website and social media account administrator for any business today is faced with such intense and increased competition and a plethora of information and content being published on a daily basis that standing out and earning the attention of consumers becomes harder and harder. To achieve this then, social media administrators need to be constantly inventing and coming up with new imaginative and innovative ways to effective communicate their message, attract attention and create trust and engagement.

The valid questions that arise then are what does a social media page need to be considered effective and successful and how difficult is it to convince a user to follow your business on social media? Is there a right management formula to be applied that runs across the board or is social media management fully dependent on the product or service to be promoted and/or the kind of crowd that your followers are made up from?

Having worked with several firms in Cyprus and built with them their social media strategies, the team here at start-business-online has highlighted some success stories and effective methods and tactics that we shall share below, as rough guidelines or food for thought. Remember that for an in-depth analysis and detailed consultation specifically for the needs of your own online business, we are always at your disposal to help make your own vision reality and help you reach online business success.

Our experience with certain highly successful firms in the retail sector of the Cyprus market reveals that administering their Facebook page and other social media accounts is a very demanding, yet interesting job. The greatest challenge comes from the need for daily interaction with the messages and comments received from the users and followers, as well as the constant need for renewing the content due to new deals and offers that need to be communicated.

Since the rhythm and pace in the social media world is much faster than in conventional communication means the background in which you are called to operate is constantly moving and changing, making it difficult to nail a bullet-proof recipe for success. However, carefully observing and analyzing the habits, preferences and reactions of your followers, you can in time find the success formula by striking the right content mix. By default this is always a trial and error case, while you always need to be on the lookout for new trends which you have to recognize as soon as they arise and integrate in your communication strategy as soon as possible.

As a general rule having a presence in all the different social media channels is better than being present in just one or two. However, each medium is different and requires expert knowledge and experience in the administrators’ team. Facing the different challenges that emerge on a daily basis as a team, on a collective level, but also drawing on each member’s unique understanding of the peculiarities of each different social medium, the team of administrators needs to be able to cooperate and coordinate but also be creative and innovative.

All team members need to be working under a long term social media communications strategy, based on which a clear daily and weekly schedule of posts and other actions is created and implemented. Such clear plan and coordination means a clear division of labour and ensures that fresh content is uploaded regularly, and it is relevant to all the different groups of social media users.

By nature, the social media are a means of communication which is more relaxed, interactive and friendly. Therefore, the language to be used when communicating with consumers via the social media need to be friendly too, since the absence of a friendly tone and friendly approach towards the client, will create a distance between the customer and the brand/product/service/company. Moreover, since the majority of social media users are of the younger age-groups, although this is not always the case, the spirit of posts needs to be more youthful and fresh in order to capture the attention of this particular crowd.

Experience has shown that the posts which receive the greatest response from social media followers and users are those which offer them unique content that has been purposefully prepared. Furthermore, interactive posts that manage to create interaction and discussion between the user and the brand or among users are also very effective and popular, as are all posts which contain humour.

A good idea and best practice is to try to adjust posts according to the target audience and try to approach each client or prospective client separately. However, to enhance credibility and inspire mutual respect, the messages conveyed through the social media communications strategy need to conform and be in line with the overall communication strategy of a firm/brand and also be consistent with its overall image. Also, if a firm has both an online and an offline presence, it should ensure that it offers the same level of service both online and offline and also ensure that this message passes through across all media and communications channels.

Perhaps the most important conclusion we can reach when it comes to the use of social media and based on experiences of firms who have successfully done so in Cyprus is that the content posted should be interesting and updated and this is enough to make a consumer follow a page. Constantly renewing and improving the quality and relevance of the content uploaded however, which makes the followers to anticipate and look forward each next post, is what it takes to turn a mere “follower” into an “ambassador”, in essence a multiplier of your messages, a follower who will be talking about your content and sharing it with others.

The second conclusion is that the usage of social media also entails a trap that should be avoided at all costs. Remember that the moment your followers start feeling that you are treating this communication channel solely as an advertising and marketing tool, then will start to abandon you. Reciprocity and mutual respect is of paramount importance and consumers need to feel that through the social media you have two-way relationship and contact that is important and meaningful for both sides.

The importance of social media in today’s commercial world cannot be stressed enough since they give the opportunity for direct contact with the public. It is a fast and direct means of communication, available at all times, and an interactive model of communication which has reshaped the way all firms view and communicate with their consumers. An added benefit is that social media allows a firm to get to know its customers better and give them the chance to offer feedback in an easier, friendlier way, providing invaluable insight as to what could and should be improved to better serve and satisfy customers. And we all know that a happy customer is a loyal customer and the best advertisement a firm could ever have!

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Posted by

Natalie Wallace

SEO Expert, Marketer

Natalie is a prolific part of the global SEO community worldwide and she regularly contributes to e-marketing and promotion publications on and offline as well as best practice guides and round tables.

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