Social Media: It's Not About You

By Cathy Ives and Shirley Platzer-Stocks
Really, social media is not about me? It is true, thank goodness although we did have to figure this fact out for ourselves, at first we thought it was about us! But we soon learned it was more about our whole optical community.

Social media is a great way of reaching a lot of people very quickly, which is why it has rapidly become a major marketing tool. But like any tool, no matter how good the tool is, it is only as good as the skills of the person using it and has to be done consistently.

We soon learned that people are quickly turned off unless they are ‘engaged’ and interested in the message or if there isn’t any give and take. It is like a conversation, we soon get tired of the “bore” who only talks about himself no matter how interested we might be in the topic of conversation.

Maybe you think you don’t need to use social media for your business but this is where it is not about you! You should embrace it and here is why:

• 73% of people are on social media daily

• 90% of marketing people know that social media is important

• Your competition will be using social media They will be using it to reach your customers

• Your customers are already using social media

Let’s concentrate on the stats for the top two social media tools, Facebook and Twitter, this is where you can get immediate results. These are amazing stats and a clear message about how world communication is evolving and we have to evolve along with it.

THE FACTS:

Facebook

• 500 million+ use Facebook = 1 out 13 people in the world are on Facebook

• 50% log in everyday

• Average user has 130 Friends

• Every 20 minutes on Facebook over 1 million links are shared, 2 million friend requests are accepted and almost 3 million messages are sent

• 48% of young people said they now get their news through Facebook

Twitter

• 1 Billion Tweets posted per week

• 572,000 Number of New Accounts created 3/12/11

Going Viral: The True Power of Social Media

The power of social media is the exponential reach achieved through other users. You have all heard the term “going viral.” This is when others start to share your content and it goes ‘Viral’. Your content is now viral to thousands of would-be followers and likers. How cool is that!

Embracing social media as part of your business communication is not as difficult as you may think. Many initial mistakes and stumbles have already been made by the early adapters. We recommend you start with either Facebook or Twitter or both. Here are a few FAQ’s to get you started:

What are the Benefits?

Think about your goals and what you want to achieve from SOCIAL MEDIA and this will help you approach it the right way. We recommend you approach it with these benefits in mind:

• Generates exposure for your business

• Increases traffic to your Web site due to improved search engine activity

• New business leads and improved sales

How much time?

As with all things, the more you put into Social Media, the more you will get out of it, more Friends, Likes, Followers and Readers. The more time you put in, the bigger your reach will be. A good webinar on this can be found here:

http://theopticalvisionsite.com/marketing-social-media/free-webinair-review-state-of-social-media/

Generally speaking most social media experts recommend adding Social Media into your daily activities to build up to at least 5 hours a week. We spend at least an hour each day on Facebook and Twitter, some days less, and some days a lot more. At first you will need to spend longer because of setting up accounts and getting through the learning curve. It is okay to miss a day or two here and there, no one is depending on your tweet!

Facebook: Posting on Facebook or Twitter is very easy, the time is spent responding/ making comments with and to customers, looking for Friends or Likes, reading the updates etc. In order to be effective with Facebook, there is no need to post something every day, but it is important to log in and see what is happening. You only need to post on Facebook 2-4 times a week. This is where it is not “about you” but about your customers. Liking and commenting on posts helps keep the posts current and encourages dialogue.

Twitter: The same principle applies to Twitter. The days of people posting about taking a walk are over. Now Twitter is a fast moving news and product update. Twitter has all sorts of tools to help you to automatically tweet—you can do feeds from Facebook and blogs. Because it is so fast, you can Tweet up to 30 times a day. A Tweet takes about 30 seconds. What takes time is reading through the tweets of the people you follow and Retweet updates.

Who would “like” (Facebook)/ “follow” (Twitter) me?

Many of your customers already have Facebook and Twitter accounts so they are ready and waiting for you. Once you open an account you can easily find them on the site. “Like” their Facebook pages and start “Following” them on Twitter. All you have to do is use the search in Facebook and in Twitter. You will also find many of your customers, potential customers, suppliers and industry associates. Then you can message them to Like and Follow you, too. Who knows what lurks in the minds of Likers and Followers! The one thing we have learned is to never pre-judge what people like, read and especially share. To top it off, it changes all the time, but you will find a formula and interest that people will like and follow you. As an aside it does not all have to be optical related, you can do events in your neighborhood, trivia, social media updates, and lots more.

What About Employee Involvement?

This depends on the nature of your business, your employees and your customers. The important thing to remember is that your Social Media is your brand. If you have trusted employees that you know will build your brand, you can delegate some or part of your social media marketing to them. Just like any other part of the business, you need to establish clear lines between personal and work use, just like personal phone call time, for example. Once you have opened a business page on Facebook, you can designate anyone to be an administrator and conversely undesignate them. The same goes for unwanted friends. You can block them from your site if you need to. It is rare that you need to do this but good to know you can!

What do I write about?

This is not as difficult as you might think as you can link to articles and posts from the optical media, vendors, or the news with a dozen or so words of your own as an introduction. It is good to post some original photos on your Facebook page such as employee appreciation days, customer service hard at work taking care of customers, your products etc.. People are visual and they love to see pictures.

Look at what others are doing, see what interests you and it will stimulate ideas. As you comment and retweet on others posts you will know what to do.

How do I Track?

Facebook and Twitter provide stats so you can see how many impressions a post or tweet generated. You can see how many new people are joining your community and who they are. After a couple of months you can analyze the most popular posts and see what people are responding to. Don’t get too hung up on the stats as it takes time to build traffic. Remember it is not about you, be sure that you are participating in your customers’ activities as this helps them and they will appreciate it and remember you!

How much does it cost?

This is the best part, you don’t have to spend actual money. It is all free, although you can buy ads. The cost is time and effort. You have to make it part of everyday business just like answering emails or anything else.

We hope this brief overview helps you get started. For a couple of good examples of labs using social media check out Laramy K Optical and Midwest Lens.

References: Statistics provided by Hubspot and Social Media Examiner Webinar April, 2011

Cathy Ives and Shirley Platzer-Stocks are co-founders and owners of the daily retail Optical Blogs www.theopticalvisionsite.com and www.opticalvisionsresources.com. They both have extensive sales and marketing experience from working in the optical industry for many years and strive to provide useful, often quirky, sometimes -amusing but always thoughtful daily optical blogs. If you need help -creating your own social media program you can reach them at -theopticalvisionsite@gmail.com or call 858.945.2562.

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Labtalk May/June 2018