Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Making the Most Of Social Media - Guest Blogger Jayne Graham

As you know, this month we're celebrating Mums in business. Today's Mum guest blogger is Jayne Graham. Jayne is founder of Colleagues on Tap and www.spaceontap.com. She is an experienced Business Coach & skilled strategist. Today Jayne is chatting about 'Making the Most of Social Media'. There's some fabulous hints and tips in today's guest blog so check out what she has to say.
Making the Most of Social Media
In 2004 I made the choice to set up business at home.  The driver was two-fold.  From a business perspective I really didn’t need an office;  a laptop, a phone and a lot of enthusiasm set me off on my journey as a freelance consultant quite adequately!  As a busy mum of twin girls, now aged 11, there was another driver – flexibility;  and being able to start work at ‘silly o’clock’ before my daughters started their days has become a survival strategy ever since.  The wee small hours between 4.30 and 7.30 am are now, genuinely, my best time of the day!

Discovering social media
So, fast-forwarding to 2010 when I needed to market my new businesses spaceontap.com and Colleagues on Tap, I wondered how I could get in touch with other people, en masse, who also freelanced or ran businesses for themselves, and possibly worked non-traditional hours like me, to tell them about my great new services.  Although as a ‘woman of a certain age’ my friends and associates were pretty sceptical about social media, I got stuck in, and very quickly found it held a treasure trove of opportunities.  I’m pleased to share some of these with you in this blog.
Social Media has grown in popularity over the past 5 or so years as a key device in the business marketing tool-kit. It provides businesses with a channel for communicating with a mass audience at a speed and scale that would be difficult to replicate through traditional off-line media, and certainly impossible to match through face to face networking activity. 
Traditional media and social media
The key difference between traditional media and social media is that media communications are, in the most part, one way, whereas social media provides for two-way and multiple interactions. This two-way dialogue is far more effective at engaging an audience, and can significantly enrich a customer relationship.
Social v business

I’m often hearing people’s concerns about the potential to get too personal on social media, however this tends to stem from a confusion between ‘being sociable’ and ‘getting personal’;  as long as a line is drawn between the two, positive relationships can be developed that are good for business.  Through having conversations we can understand more about our customers, and are therefore more able to anticipate and respond to their needs; and of course we can start to form relationships which can ultimately result in new, and repeat, business.

8 Reasons to Network your Business through Social Media
1.    Millions of other businesses are already doing it (including your competitors and future customers)
2.    It’s free to use, in the main, other than the cost of your time to participate
3.    It’s fast, and in some cases immediate
4.    Its reach is vast; it provides you a medium to improve brand awareness globally, providing access to a scale of audience that it would be impossible to replicate through traditional media
5.    People can easily share your information with their own networks;  champions for your business can quickly emerge
6.    It has a positive impact on search engine optimisation SEO as it enables you to build links to your website increasing the likelihood of people finding it.
7.    It allows you to have two-way interactions with your customers and potential customers, enabling you to gather market intelligence and build relationships
Its transparency enables you to quickly gain the trust of your potential customers.
If you’d like to know my thoughts on the 5 key social media applications for business get in touch and I’ll send you a link for you to download.
In the meantime, here’s my 5 Point Plan for ‘Making the Most of Social Media’
1.    Define your marketing objectives: who do you want to communicate with and what do you want to say?  If you’re clear about this in the first place you can use social media much more effectively.
        2.    Determine which social media platforms your targets are likely to be using; not every business can make great use of every platform, and it’s better to start with one or two and build on it rather than trying to tackle everything from day one.
3.    Make a commitment to maintaining a presence on your chosen social media, and realistically plan resources to enable this. 
4.    Remember to converse, rather than broadcast; social media enables a two-way dialogue.
5. Evaluate progress regularly, based on impact for your business, rather than volume of interactions, and adjust your approach accordingly.
Jayne Graham, Founder of Colleagues on Tap and Space on Tap http://www.linkedin.com/in/jaynegraham
Copyright Jayne Graham January 2013.
Thank you Jayne for your hints and tips on Social Media. Don't forget that Life's A Celebration has some fabulous Mother's Day bags. These delightful bags come with a pack of fabric pens for decoration and at only £9.99 (plus £1.50 p&p) they're a steal! Go - on treat the mum in your life! To buy or for more information just drop me a line.


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