Those of you that know me will read that title and think "What the hell is Rich talking about? He spends all day online, why is he saying it doesn't work?", some of you will be thinking "I bloody knew it, I told you facebook and twitter is all about what people had for lunch and finding out which celebrity has just come out of rehab..." and those of you that do well from Social Media will be saying "He's absolutely right!". You see Social Media really isn't about selling, it's about building relationships. Relationships with your customers, clients, service providers to name but a few.
My name is Rich Brady, I'm Ecommerce Manager for Denbigh Army Surplus and over the last 18 month my role here has evolved from simply web design to Marketeer, for want of a better word.
I communicate all aspects of our business through various Social Media Channels; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. The same message will be broadcast across these channels, but that message will be tailored slightly as the one audience is not the same as another and that's the first thing you have to consider, not what you want to say, but what people want to hear.
We had a Facebook and Twitter account for a long time, before it grew in popularity. Once I'd realised that the majority of people interacting with us via Social Media were poeple interested in the outdoors (mountaineers, mountain bikers, bush craft enthusiast, etc) we made a concious effort to focus our conversation in that direction. The introduction of DAS Resilience, our monthly orienteering competition, that excites anyone that likes walking in the hills was the best decision we ever made. Which leads me to my next point...
Talk about real life, day to day goings on within your business, encourage fans to get involved with activities and events that you're part of and create a buzz. Don't fall into the trap that because people are talking to you via the internet that they're not prepared to get out of the house.
A constant stream of "buy this", "buy that", "these are on offer" isn't adding any value to your fans lives. If you use Social Media socially, do you really want to read a steady stream of sales pitches? No... you want to ask questions and may be answer a few, ultimately have a laugh and enjoy yourself.
Are you company that is prepared to invest time into having a conversation with someone and building a strong relationship with people that perhaps are not in the market for any of your products or services at this particular time? If not, then Social Media is not for you.
Going back to my original point, Social Media Does Not Boost Sales. On the face of it it doesn't and measuring ROI is very difficult, which is often why it's hard to justify the time. However, in the last 10-12 months, since embracing Social Media and understanding our audience more; we've featured in more newspaper articles and website posts then ever before in our 24 year history. We run a successful monthly competition that sees individuals travel 100s of miles to be in with a chance of winning some free gear and we're shipping product every day, all over the World, when the competition is struggling...
Top 3 Social Media Tips
Find out what your fans/followers want to talk about
Get them excited and involved in real life events
Don't sell. Promote and encourage conversations
Be engaging, if you must talk about a product or service then have an opinion poll, do a video or get some existing customers to write a case study. Don't get hung up on how many people are following your accounts, identify who is most active and get to know them. The oldest and best form of promotion is word of mouth that hasn't changed, only the medium in which it's communicated.