For many small businesses social media is a step into the unknown. If done properly it can build brand awareness and your customer base, which in turn increases profits. But posting the wrong thing and could end in scandal, embarrassment and disaster. Sedge Beswick, social media manager at global online fashion retailer ASOS, shares some valuable advice.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to adoption of social media? And how would you tell businesses to overcome this?Right now, I am so lucky. ASOS are really leading the way with all things social but in a lot of businesses it’s about changing their mind-set and opening their eyes to the possibilities that are there around social. People/firms need to really see what it can do for brands/individuals though; hand holding and showing them the ropes is always a good start. For many, they simply don’t understand it all.
Will social media become an integral part of sales and customer service?As far as I’m concerned, it already is! I’m really big on the social service side of things, I couldn’t think of anything worse than doing an amazing activation on social and not helping the customers along the way or picking up their queries. It’s about the 24/7 engagement, social allows us to really foster relationships and advocate the brand… that in time, will increase sales. I love the role social media has on customer service, the immediacy, the simplicity. All of it! There’s constantly new ways to evolve and develop too. I believe that if you genuinely have your customers at the heart of every decision that you make; online and offline, then you have nothing to fear.
What are the most common mistakes you see SMEs making in the social media/digital marketing space?Everyone’s learning. If you don’t try stuff out, you won’t know whether it’s going to go crazy or be a complete flop. The main broad thing is setting up social channels without realising the on-going implications. It’s not like the olden days when you’d take down a poster and everyone would forget – if you start out on social you have to be prepared to work and really dedicate the time to it.
Are there any rules regarding how often SMEs should be using social media?There are no real rules around this. If you have something good to say that’s worthwhile and will benefit your community then go ahead and say it! The number of posts will always depend on the social channel and the brand. Personally, I’d never recommend going over three updates a day on Facebook but for a small start-up I’d opt for perhaps three in a week. For Twitter, six to eight a day… Google+, I’d say two a week for start-up. These are all just rough numbers as it does really depend on the content first.
If done well social media obviously has its benefits but is it for every business?I don’t think so, no. I do however think it’s something that every business should look at and weigh up, regardless of how big or small the business is. If you really think about what you want to get out of the social handles, you shouldn’t have anything to be scared of, right?
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