Marketing your business in this increasingly digitally connected world is no mean feat. For small businesses, it’s increasingly difficult to get traction with limited resources and budgets to play with. However, social media can arguably level the playing field.
Social media is now an integral part of a brand’s marketing push. The proliferation of platforms only adds to the number of possibilities to promote your business, but it also creates headaches for business owners trying to tackle this sometimes complex area of marketing.
However, the effort can be worth it. We’ve all heard the success stories of brands turning to social media to market their business, experiencing phenomenal sales growth in the process.
The 2017 Sensis social media report surveyed 800 Australian consumers and 1100 businesses to understand how social media channels are being used.
It found that about half of social media users who research products and services on their favoured platforms made a purchase, and 61% of them made that purchase online.
Moreover, the survey found that 64% of consumers are more likely to trust a brand if it interacts in a positive way with its customers on social media.
Therefore, it’s paramount for businesses and marketers to establish a connection by engaging with people in a meaningful way, such as sharing stories about your brand, products or services in a compelling and engaging format.
The report explains that tangible benefits also attract customers, such as discounts and giveaways.
Protecting your business
It is important to bear in mind that while social media provides a valuable two-way dialogue for brands, it still carries the same risks as any traditional form of communication in a public arena. For example, conversations can get out of hand pretty quickly in the heat of the moment as pointed out by The Communications Council: Social Media Code of Conduct.
The code recommends that brands start with a crisis management plan, which is imperative given the possibility of negative publicity and subsequent damage to brand reputation. Transparency, accuracy, professionalism, fairness and being responsible is also paramount, it says.
From a risk management point of view, it’s important that you have a clear goal when you set out to post, and that you are regularly dipping into social media throughout the day to keep on top of comments and shares that relate to your business.
The other important piece of the puzzle is measuring the effectiveness of your social media presence. There are plenty of free and paid-for platforms to do this, listed here.
Make sure that you’re adequately insured at this point. When coming up with a social media strategy, insurance is often the last thing on your mind.
However, it is absolutely critical that you cover your business for any unexpected issues that arise from operating online, such as a cyber hack. Make an appointment with a Steadfast insurance broker to see what options are available.
How a Sydney fashion retailer used social to become a fashion powerhouse
Brands like online fashion retailer Showpo, which launched from a Sydney garage in 2010, used social media to help turn over more than $30 million by 2017, with an ongoing strategy to turn over more than $100 million in annual revenue by 2020.
Founder Jane Lu turned to social media to build loyal customers and brand ambassadors. While initially defeated by the overwhelming amount there was to learn about it, the business soon began to get some runs on the board.
Today, Showpo boasts 1.3 million Instagram followers, a Facebook community of more than one million and a YouTube account with more than 57,000 subscribers.
Lu admits she made a conscious effort to spend time learning how it works, and spent 70% of her marketing budget on social media.
“We put in way more time now as we have so many more channels, and have increased the posting frequency. Obviously, our team is bigger than early days, so we have a few people managing accounts but I never take my eyes off them,” Lu says.
When used effectively, social media can have all the benefits of word of mouth, but on a larger scale. If you’re utilising the right channels for your business, it can also help you reach a high number of potential customers. Then there’s revenue generation, brand development, attracting customers, networking, recruitment and improving your brand’s online presence, as this Federal Government business website points out.
Steadfast Group Limited (ASX: SDF) is the largest general insurance broker network and group of underwriting agencies in Australasia, with growing operations in Asia and Europe. The broker network has 361 general insurance brokers who receive superior market access, exclusive products and services backed by the size and scale of the Steadfast Group. Brokers in the network have access to over 160 products and services which support their business and allow them to focus on their clients' insurance and risk management needs.