Use social media marketing to your advantage

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Use social media marketing to your advantage
Aakar Anil Ghimire is a HubSpot Certified Marketing Technologist from Nepal, currently looking after Inbound Marketing at CloudFactory. As a social media marketing expert, Ghimire taught young entrepreneurs the nuts and bolts of social media marketing and web space visibility at the Udhyami Seed Camp. In this paraphrased interview with STARTUPSNepal’s Dikchhyanta Bajracharya, Ghimire discusses the key social media marketing issues every business needs to know, sheds light on the different tools and techniques needed to survive and thrive in these changing times and how a startup can up their social marketing game.

In this day and age, it should come as no surprise that businesses can reach out to their potential customers via online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and so on. There are many companies, big and small, who actively use these online platforms of interaction to keep customers interested and engaged. 

In fact, before making a purchasing decision, people predictably look up the business on the internet. Potential employees do the same as do potential investors. It is safe to say that a business’s online presence adds to its credibility.

However, just being present online is not enough to market yourself through social media. Marketing your product at zero cost does sound like a marvelous idea, but as is the case with all great things in business, there’s a catch. “You have to invest your time and energy, and after you grow to a certain point, freebies may not be of much help anymore,” says Ghimire. Here is a list of things that he suggests you should be concerned about before even coming up with your social media marketing campaign.

 

Know your buyers

So, who are the people that actually make you money? The beauty about going online is that you can get to know your customers. Now, knowing your customers does not mean you just know their first names. You should know who they are as a person, the areas they live in or visit, their circle of people, or just a few details that you can leverage to turn them into your potential customers. For instance, if you start a fast-food chain and you find out that most of your regular visitors come during their lunch hour, what action would you take to drive profitable results from them?

 

Goals

“Goals should be realistic, time bound and set with regards to actionable metrics,” says Ghimire. Metrics refer to the measures to make quantitative assessments of your company. Say, you have 20,000 followers on Instagram or a million subscribers on YouTube: these are vanity metrics unless you are aware of your exact activities that brought you those numbers. Actionable metrics are the measures that you can use to make your next decision.
Let us say you want to drive your sales up by 20 per cent within the next two months. To achieve this, it is obvious that you have to create a bigger demand for your product or service and therefore inform more people about it. Thus you have to know where/who your next buyer is and the information or the value of your product or service that induced your existing customers to make purchases. Once you know these things, you can come up with a campaign to reach and impact your targets.

 

Channel and content

“You need to figure out where can you best reach and how you can best impact your target customers,” says Ghimire. Is it Facebook or Instagram? Should you make a video for YouTube or a write a blog post with infographics? Or would a tweet suffice?

A content could be anything related to your product or service. It should be something that people will think about looking at. For that, the right content should be released at the right time. Furthermore, the information that you convey should be genuine enough for your target audience to place their trust in you and what you do. “For example, a restaurant’s social media marketing campaign during Dashain could feature the various ways of cooking mutton curries,” says Ghimire. 

If it is the reach that you are concerned about, then it is highly recommended that you try and breach the barriers that are there. For instance, your reach would definitely extend if you were to incorporate both English and Nepali languages into your campaign. “Samsung did not take the Nepali market for mobile phones just because of the range of market segments it caters to, but also because it offers good native-language support,” says Ghimire. 

 

Know your tools

Besides being persistent in your approach to connecting with your customers, knowing how to best use the tools at your disposal also gives you an edge. The edge, in this case, has to do with how easily you can get your customers to find you so that you can further engage them. 

“It is highly recommended that you learn how to be listed on Google searches. This is known as Search Engine Optimization,” says Ghimire. Start by choosing a unique brand name for yourself. Learning how the search engine operates is the next step. For instance, Google has https-secure websites in its preferences, so keeping your website updated is definitely the way to go. “You also need to think about the little things. People have, for example, faced the issue of not having their product or company pictures not showing up on Google despite having a unique brand name,” says Ghimire. “Such issues might have arisen because the file that they uploaded on the web did not have the same name as the name you wanted to be searched as.” Factors as seemingly inconsequential as these make all the difference.

Google also offers Web Master Tools, known as Search Console, to help people build great websites for free. Using Google Analytics for monitoring the activities on your website is also a good way to collect your site data. 

Once you have the data, you will find out when you have the most visitors or viewers. This information can be used to schedule posts through Buffer. It provides support for all the social media channels you can think of—whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus or LinkedIn. Using tools like Buffer, you can write one post to share on all social media sites. Furthermore, you’ll have a wide range of options to create your own content.

Hubspot is another great tool that teaches surface marketing, sales and customer relationship management—free of charge. They help you pursue growth as an objective. They allow you to generate leads, speed up sales and also develop deeper insights on them. They call themselves a one-stop solution for inbound marketing. Unfortunately, the courses that they provide do not come for free.

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Guest Monday, 23 October 2017