Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook: what do they have in common? They are all free social media platforms that businesses today are using to broaden their customer scope. But if you are a business owner and have not used social media before, where do you start?
They are all free social media platforms that businesses today are using to broaden their customer scope. But if you are a business owner and have not used social media before, where do you start?
In today’s digital landscape, customers are using online tools more than ever before to browse for inspiration, brands, and even basic information, such as trading hours and payment options.
The first step a customer will take in choosing a timber flooring option will most likely involve some level of online research.
By engaging with digital tools such as social media platforms and smartphone apps, business owners can reach and service their customer quickly and efficiently. However, even with the benefits, there has been a low uptake of businesses using social media (see below).
So, keeping that in mind, how can more business owners take up the opportunity to tap into the digital space?
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The first point to remember when launching a social media presence is to know your customer, and research how they buy.
Put simply, the more you know about your customer (which includes having information such as location, age, occupation, and so on), the easier it will be to sell to them. By establishing a customer persona, you can effectively understand your potential buyer, and in turn, predict their online browsing behaviour.
An effective tool is to brainstorm the most common features of your customers, and create a ‘customer personality’. This will assist your business when setting up a social media page or campaign.
If you are a long-term business owner, you should – by now – have an established ‘brand voice’. It is important that this voice is present across all social media platforms you decide to engage with, and that it is consistent. If you are unsure of what your brand voice should be, ask yourself, “How do we want to be known as? Funny? Knowledgeable? Passionate?”
It is important to maintain a sense of professionalism across social media when you are acting on behalf of a business account While it is a delicate balance to ensure you express your brand personality (humour, posts that are in tune with news events) as well as a professional voice, this balance can be achieved by ensuring you double-check all written content for relevance, appropriateness, and spelling and/or grammatical errors.
It is important to understand that not all exposure is beneficial. While there is a large variety of social media platforms you can be a part of, it does not mean you should be on all of them. Many platforms serve different businesses in different ways.
Pinterest and Instagram are primarily visual platforms, whilst Facebook and Twitter provide more conversational exchanges with customers.
Take the time to understand which platforms suit your business, for example; if you are wanting to show off your timber flooring products in their final placement, and you have some great photos sent in by customers, specifiers or architects, Instagram or Pinterest may be the most suitable social media platforms for you.
ASH Sustainable Hardwoods have an aesthetically-pleasing Instagram page, showcasing their timber being used across various residential and commercial projects.
Daniel Wright, ASH’s Victorian sales and marketing manager, said being present on social media is an innovative business tool, and mutually beneficial for promoting timber.
The company has had a number of specifiers select their product due to coming across them on social media sites such as Instagram.
“Being able to publish our consumer’s use of GoodWood Vic Ash has created a unique ‘sharing’ relationship between us and our customers, that wasn’t there previously.”
“We now have a visual means to communicate and share information, and are able to work together towards a common goal, which I can see only benefiting the timber industry as a whole in the long term,” he said.
Creative agency Thirst Creative has recently released a free eBook for small businesses, available online here: thirstcreative.com.au/blog/how-to-get-your-small-business-started-on-social-media