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Social Media, part one.

In just over a decade social media has gone from being a novelty Myspace page with glittery unicorns and dancing babies, to an internet juggernaut. The number of users for social media is staggering;

  • Facebook –Over 2.2 billion monthly active users.
  • YouTube – 1.8 billion monthly active users.
  • Instagram – 800 Million monthly active users.

These are the top 3, other social medias relevant to businesses and marketing

  • Twitter – 336 Million monthly active users.
  • Pinterest – 200 Million monthly active users.
  • LinkedIn – 106 Million monthly active users.

Looking at those numbers, that is a lot of selfies, photos of food, and dirty laundry being aired for the world to see, it is also a lot of potential customers, just waiting for you to solve their problems.

Why you should care

The sheer numbers alone should be enough for you to care, if Facebook was a country, it would have the largest population in the world. Add to this the relatively cheap nature of social media advertising, the ability to target specific audiences to see your marketing, and the ease in which you can interact with your potential clients in real time, something you can’t do on any other format, it should be a no brainer.
There would be many people out there who will tell you TV and Radio advertising are still the best option. It is true they continue draw the most attention for now, TV viewing hours are dropping every year, but they are still the most expensive. They also make it harder to target your key audience, if you are part of a huge company, with a marketing budget bigger than Scrooge McDuck’s money pit, then sure, go for TV advertising, and raise brand awareness. However, if you are a smaller business who is trying to be money savvy, social media marketing, with a catchy call to action is the way to go.

The social media line up

Let’s take a look at the usual suspects and how they can help you

Facebook

Facebook is the perfect all-rounder. You can post status update, movies, photos, audio clips, make a live video and create an event. If you could only invest time into one social media outlet, Facebook would be my recommendation, you have the freedom to write 1 word or 1,000 words, use pictures, don’t use pictures everything is ok in Facebook land. Combine that with their cheap ad prices at the moment and you have a sure fire winner.
Best use – Combine photo’s or a video with text. Are you a butcher? Post a picture of a prime piece of meat, include in the post the recipe for your favourite casserole, or how to make sure the meat is cooked to perfection.
Hairdresser? Why not a video of you styling your hair a certain way, in the text talk about when you would style your hair like this, or what kind of accessories you could use. In all uses of Facebook, make sure you include your website address and a call to action.

You Tube

At 1.8 Billion users a month, You Tube is not something you can easily ignore. Experts have stated, in the next 3 to 5 years, people will consume more content on You Tube than on the TV. The convenience of being able to pull out your phone or tablet and watch your favourite You Tube channel is rather appealing.
Many of you may be concerned that you don’t look good enough for a video channel, or your business is not video worthy, how do you get people to view your channel? Firstly, you are 100% good looking enough for You Tube, the beauty of You Tube and most video content sites, everybody is accepting and inclusive. Sure you might get one or two trolls, but if people are trolling you for having a crack and working to grow your business it says more about them, then it does about you. As far as your business not being video worthy, remember a video of a child being bitten by his younger brother has garnered over 800 million views
One idea to keep in your mind with You Tube, production quality does not matter as much as content quality, worry less about star wipes, and special effects, just make sure your content is, informative, entertaining, entertaining and informative. Not sure where to start look at the videos of people who are in the same field as you, and see where you can do better.
Best use – Be creative, don’t sit in front of the camera and talk at it. Show some passion, be excited for what you are doing, unless you are a mortician. Let people see into your life a little, if you run a florist, create a video when a new season has begun and your favourite flower is in bloom, explain why you love that flower whilst demonstrating how to create a lovely arrangement.
Do you run a fishing company? Create a video of you talking about a great local fishing spot. Grab a couple of different rods and go fishing with both of them, compare the two, and give preference. If you don’t catch anything, don’t stress about it, as long as your content is quality people won’t mind if you don’t catch anything.
Remember, video is a great medium to let people see you doing something you are passionate about, don’t try to stifle that, let it shine through.

Instagram

Originally ridiculed for being a tool for narcissistic Gen Ys to take duck faced selfies, Instagram has become a budding photographers dream, and an incredible marketing platform. Still associated with fun, with a majority of users being under 30, Instagram brings with it, a crazy, youthful vibe that can help you hit a younger audience. Of course this still has its risks, if you are trying to market life insurance for example, you need to create the content in a way that talks to people in their 20s, this is a vastly different demographic to the people you would normally target.
Hashtags are a big deal with Instagram, this will help you target your marketing so the people you want to see it, see it. The hashtags have to be relevant to your content or people will just become annoyed with your deceptive nature, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. My favourite part of Instagram is creating unique funny hashtags that almost no one will ever search for, but people will laugh at when they read them. I create hashtags by looking at trending tags relevant to my field / content, pick some of the more popular ones, and then I throw in some little quirky ones, if no one else does, at least I get a giggle.
Filters are also a big part of Instagram, be sure to play around with them, they can make an ordinary picture look like an eye catching masterpiece, people on Instagram are visually focused so make sure your pictures or videos stand out from the crowd.
Although Instagram allows you to offer both photo and video content, I personally lean more towards photos, I can use You Tube and Facebook for video. However, that is just a personal preference, I would suggest everyone give it a go and see what they prefer on Instagram.
Best use – Create a dynamic attention grabbing picture or video, and then pump out those hashtags, remember to be creative. If you are life insurance company, don’t post a picture of a dead guy in a coffin, with a horrific hashtag like, #yourenext. Meet your target audience where they are, post a picture of a group of twenty-somethings, having fun on the beach, make it so you can almost feel the suns warmth, especially effective if it is winter where you are. Do some research on hashtags, currently the highest trending hashtags for life insurance are #lifeisurance (probably shouldn’t be surprised), #lifeinsuranceagent (I would personally avoid using it), #lifeinsuranceawarenessmonth, and #lifeinsurnaceawareness. They have a combined total of over 175,000 public posts. Pick three or 4 popular hashtags, intersperse them with your own creative hashtags. Off the top of my head, #lovinglife #feelslikeyoucouldliveforever #incaseyoudont #haveyouthoughtaboutlifeinsurance.
They were hashtags I thought up in 30 seconds, but you will spend more time working on yours because they can be the difference between a viral post, and an invisible one.
This concludes part one of my social media blog, come back next week where I cover Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and tell you about some up and coming social media platforms you should keep your eye on.
In the meantime if you have any questions, or would like me to work with you on your social media marketing,
feel free to email me at ash@akwriting.com.au
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