Here is the third in a four-part series of interviews I gave to Alan Coote of local digital radio station 5 Digital for his weekly business programme Let’s Talk Business (@ltbshow)
Alan: With the Social Media landscape constantly changing, managing it can seem like a full-time job. It’s all too easy to get it wrong and waste valuable time. So how do you get it right? Online guru Katherine Hanson from Soci@lite is here to navigate us through the Social Media maze. Katherine, there seems to be pressure for people to constantly update their profiles. Is this a common phenomenon?
Katherine: Yes. Probably the most common one I come across. People feeling the obligation to post but also the obligation to be on lots of social media channels, which isn’t necessarily the advice I would give them.
Alan: It’s almost like a weight around your ankles, this social media thing. What can we do about it?
Katherine: If you’ve been using social media, it’s about taking a step back and appraising what channels you use, how you’re using social media –, how often you’re on it, what sort of response you’re getting from people. I would say it’s better to use one often than lots of them sporadically because you’re not really committed if you’re not using it very often and it will appear half-hearted to your followers. I know a lot of people who say, right, I’ve got a Twitter account and I’ve got facebook, but I haven’t touched facebook for three months because I prefer twitter. Well if that’s the case, only use Twitter and don’t be on facebook.
Alan: Well that’s good because the alerts I get on Facebook are slightly annoying on my phone all the time. That probably is a good point; do people have their favourites as well? It might be the wrong favourite that they have, come to that.
Katherine: I don’t think there’s a right or wrong. You need to be where you feel comfortable because ultimately it’s your voice. You may be writing predominantly about your business but the person following you isn’t doing so because they want to know purely about your business. They want to get an insight into the person or people behind the business; it’s that age old mantra of people do business with those they know, like and trust. I believe that however technologically advanced we become that will never change. So be where you’re comfortable being, where you feel realistically you can be posting and being active often.
Alan: The other side of that coin is that there’s no point in being somewhere where your customers aren’t, in a way.
Katherine: Exactly. If you really want to get technical about it there are ways in which you can have a look at where your customers are. But it’s a case of looking at what’s best for you and what’s best for your business, not which social media profiles are on trend or where everybody else is telling you that you should be which I often come across with businesses.
Alan: You mentioned being technical about it. Are there places on which you can analyse where people are talking about you on social media, or where you need to be on social media?
Katherine: At the very base level if you have Google Analytics for your website or you have somebody managing it on your behalf, you can simply add a social element to those analytics. You can sync it with Facebook, Twitter, whichever social media profile(s) you have and it will then tell you what traffic is going back and forth from your website through social media, what people are saying on facebook for example, which posts that you’ve written are getting the biggest response from people. But within the social media channels themselves there are also tools you can use to analyse what’s going on with what you are writing about, what’s resonating with people. Additionally to that, you can use tools such as Social Mention which provides real-time social media search and analysis. In other words, it will tell you everything that’s going on around a topic or key phase – that may be something as simple as your business name or your name and anything that’s online which mentions it, social mention will tell you about.
Alan: You have to have followers whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of them; you’ve got to have people interacting and wanting to interact with you in the first place to get that social proof. How is that done?
Katherine: Yes, that is a bit chicken and egg. I think the first place to start is with what I call your captive audience. So that may be connections you have on LinkedIn who are completely separate to what you want to promote, it may even be as simple as your friends and family on your Facebook profile. Sharing your content to those people to begin with is a really good place to start because they are a captive audience; they are connected with you because they want to be. But whilst to you they may be friends and family, there are going to be people among them who are business owners themselves or who know other business owners and so on. You don’t know who someone knows.
14 October 2013