Holly Rodgers of "coming soon" Peppy Creative has a background in advertising, marketing, social media and also the modelling industry.
Holly’s experience has enabled her to build contacts in various industries across different sectors. Here she writes some handy thoughts on using social media to develop your SME...
"For SME’s, big advertising campaigns and lavish PR events are just not an option! Sorry to break it to you!
I know you have probably been dreaming about having your adverts plastered in all major cities, in glossy magazines and in every subway station. Don’t worry that will all happen in time, but for now try what I am doing to grow my business and embrace social media to build brand awareness. I stepped into the world of Entrepreneurship eight weeks ago and started generating profit as of day one.
I bet you are sitting thinking ‘how did she do this?’ Well I used social media to keep in touch with people I had met at events, networking events and also online connections. I updated the page regularly with what I have been working on, asking questions (great tool for market research) and sharing content with my followers and fans such as the latest tools, trends and features on social media. Many businesses find social media does not work for them because they use it as a one- way street only posting about themselves and trying to sell their products and services instead of using it to build relationships and raise brand awareness with their fans, if you do this it will only lead to your followers and fans unfollowing you.
The possibilities presented by social media are endless, but how can businesses ensure that they use them in the right way, to support their business objectives rather than wasting time and resources? It is all too easy to think ‘we need to be on social media’ and not get any further than that. Unsurprisingly, however, a successful social media campaign needs a strong strategy behind it. Social media is also a great listening platform and a fantastic way to quickly and easily find out about trends in the industry but more importantly see what people are saying about your brand and also your competitors, not sure if you seen Jim Duffy’s tweet earlier this week? Check this out!
Ok now you know how to sweeten Jim up, buy him a coffee and a cake from Greggs and hand it to him with a big smile. Also this is a great example of how you should use social media to keep an eye on why your potential customers are going elsewhere and what they are looking for.
Before making the move onto social media, you must go back to basic marketing principals. You must understand your brand and the message you want to get across and ensure that this message is consistent. Equally, you need to ascertain who the target audience is, what market you are trying to reach and what tools you are currently using to try to reach that market. These key elements must be used to shape strategy and then social media can be used as a tool to deliver it rather than the other way around.
Just having a presence on a particular social media site is not enough to drive business advantage. You need to first find the right platform for your business then work on cross promoting and populating the profile to build a decent following where you can work on building relationships with your current and potential customers. When it comes to interacting with social media, one of the great benefits SME’s have is that they can be more agile in their communication. You are able to be more creative with your content and the way you use the platform because you are able to make decisions more quickly and also if you have a marketing assistant they can obtain approvals for content faster than they would for any other medium.