5 ways to promote your business on Social Media this holiday season

5 ways to promote your business on Social Media this holiday season

‘Tis the season to be shopping! In the midst of the year’s holiday shopping madness, have you wondered how social media is affecting or will affect your holiday sales as a business? Do not limit your social media existence to just “another channel to have a personalized dialogue with your customer.”

Making the most out of your online presence these holidays can be challenging. It is not easy to get news about your deal, your special event or your new product heard above all the rest of the online noise, louder especially during the holiday season. These tips may help your business stand out online and translate hopefully to the achievement of whatever goals you set for your business.

 

  1. 1.      Give to your customer

Giving to your fans/followers should be a big part of your Social Media Marketing strategy especially during this festive season. Let them feel special. Give something exclusive to your online followers only. Whether it’s a free download or a discount make sure it is relevant and it matters.

 

  1. a.      Discounts and offers – Reward your fans with giveaways.  According to Forbes, 79% of consumers LIKE a brand on Facebook exclusively for offers, discounts and incentives. A simple status update that highlights a sale can reach a large number of your business’s existing fans. Facebook has an ‘offer’ feature. If at least 50 people have liked your Page, you can create an offer from the ads tool at a cost.  This is going to be promoted by Facebook and will reach a targeted number of people depending on your budget.
  2. b.      Organize an Event – Depending on your business you can organize a party, or networking meeting. This can be a special day for all your followers to meet and mingle. This should be used as an avenue to share something of value as a group. A TV show which focuses on raising toddlers for example can organize a Christmas event for mums to share ideas on better ways to organize their working days.
  3. c.       Reservations and customizations – Customize products or services for your online followers. For example inscribe the names of your online faithfuls on your products if possible (you can customize diaries, pens, mugs). Give autographed cd’s if you are a musician, provide special reservations for online followers if you are a restaurant.

 

  1. d.      Self-help tips and advice – Make your customer feel special this season; share a tip, trick, how-to of or about your product or a recipe.

 

  1. e.      Contest – Run a contest for a few of your fans to be able to win something from you.  The contest can be about which of your songs should be packaged on a cd for Christmas or which of your products should be included in a Christmas hamper etc.    Figure C below shows an example of giving back to online faithfuls by Airtel. They pose the question ‘what does Christmas mean to you?’ Two randomly selected responses will be awarded airtime!

Figure C –

 

 

 

  1. 2.      Decorate and join the fun

Most of the popular social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc allow you to change your profile pictures and cover photos. Bring out your Christmas lights and trimmings. Use this opportunity to virtually decorate your online spaces.  You can include your holiday wishes and season’s greetings in such photos. You can also incorporate your offers and giveaways in such images. Use good graphics and images.  At this stage in the year many people are tired and looking forward to the break at Christmas, anything that makes people feel close to the holiday is a good idea.  Please see two examples of how two different businesses in Ghana have ‘decorated’ their page for Christmas.

Figure A – An example of a Christmassy cover photo from a Cake Gourmet Bakery.

 

Figure B – An example of a Christmassy cover photo from a Cake Gourmet Bakery.

 

Figure C – Another example of a christmas cover photo update

 

  1. 3.      Give back to society

This is a season of giving so give, give and give! Donate to a cause you believe in as a brand! Use your business page to advertise a good cause. Your followers would like you more if they can see your business’ humanness!

 

  1. 4.      Advertise

One of the best places to advertise sales is Facebook. Why? Boasting 1.15 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers businesses a very inexpensive and effective way to develop brand awareness. However not everyone who likes your page sees the content you post. It is even getting harder for fans to see your content as Facebook keeps updating its algorithm.  Advertising helps you to aim that is, put your message right in front of your targets. Advertising on Facebook is one of the most cost effective means of promoting a business as long as it is done right. Do not be tempted to hit the ‘PROMOTE PAGE’ or ‘BOOST’ buttons.  This may be a waste of your precious money and may not produce the desired results. Use Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor, you can also contact me anytime if you’re looking for help in getting started with Facebook Advertising or assistance in developing your Online marketing strategy.

 

YouTube advertising is also a great way to reach your targeted audiences with videos. YouTube has been ranked the world’s second largest search engine. It is thus a very good idea for your brand to promote your business on this key platform especially this season.

 

  1. 5.      Motivate your customers to share your brand

Motivating consumers to share their purchases, their experiences and their likes with their friends is a great way to promote your brand. Involve your followers, let them share something they will enjoy sharing. For example, if your business is a home décor or furniture outlet, let your fans share pictures of how they have used the items they bought in your store to decorate their homes for Christmas. You will be giving them an excuse to show off at the same time rewarding them by creating an opportunity for their hard work to be noticed.

 

You can increase the scope of your promotional efforts almost instantly if you are able to convince your fans to tweet about your business.  Depending on the nature of your business, you can ask your followers to tweet an answer to a specific question and to mention your handle or include a #hashtag in their tweet.  For example, if you run a boutique, you could ask people to tweet Christmas must-haves.  You can then randomly select a winner from everyone who participates. Nokia is running a campaign this Christmas season across social media using the hashtag #holidayrealness by asking their followers to share their own photos or stories of how they celebrate the festive season.

Videos on Vine, Instagram and YouTube can also be great ways to engage your fans and inspire them to share your brand. Ask your fans to use their phones, tablets, laptops, digital camera’s etc to create a short video of themselves doing something with your product. For example a fashion brand can ask their followers to put up a 12 days of Christmas wardrobe ideas, where they demonstrate how they would wear their fashion pieces during the Christmas holidays etc.

I wish you all the best the Season has to offer! Merry Christmas!ImageImage

Promoting your business with Instagram

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You may have wondered if it is necessary for your business to be on Instagram. Or maybe you have set up an Instagram page but you are wondering how to maximize this social media platform for business.

Well Instagram has about 150 million monthly active users and that is a good audience for most businesses. The question is how to leverage Instagram in marketing that brand/product/service etc.

I have been trying to answer this question myself since I noticed a new follower on my Instagram account. This wasn’t someone I knew. I curiously clicked on that follower’s link and interestingly it was a business – ishopGhana.  Well I thought that was a smart way to get my attention and the attention of most people they used this approach on.

I want to share a few other tips on how to use Instagram for building your business. I hope they are of help.

1.       Engaging interactions

  • You should like and comment on posts, especially those related to your brand and customers.

 If you are a Mother-care Shop for example, you can like and comment on baby photos.

  • Target and follow prospective customers. They are bound to notice you and there is a high probability of them clicking on your profile. This will take some of your time but you can go through people’s profiles and target those with kids. (It sounds creepy but let’s just call it customer intelligence or prospecting!)
  • Be creative in your comments, advertise yourself where and when you can. Look out for needs you can meet within a prospect/clients post.
  • Use popular and relevant #hashtags  to your business. for a Mother Care, your hashtags may include #strollers, #bibs etc. depending on the products you have in stock or the services you offer.
  • Tag your followers in posts they may be interested in. You may be able to tell from a prospects profile, what they are interested in. You can also use the offline purchasing history of your customers. For example a Mummy who buys Huggies diapers, may be interested in new products from Huggies you have in stock.

2.       Engaging Content

The content (pictures or videos) you post must be relevant to your brand and customer. This will get their attention and keep them following you for more.  For example, Instagram has 15 seconds of video, use this to give a helpful tip about using your brand.

A cake bakery for example can give tips on how to display cupcakes for a party.

I saw a video a Comedian (Funnyface) put on his Instagram page. He was doing a dance after the Black Stars won a match. It got  a number of likes and  comments. Am sure he achieved his aim of entertaining his fans!

Your post must be something your viewer will consider interesting. The content you post must strike a clean balance between fun and business.

Sandra Ankobiah (hostess of a TV3's sunrise) uses the video application to give a sneak peek into the making of the show! I am sure her followers would be interested!
Sandra Ankobiah (hostess of a TV3’s sunrise) uses the video application to give a sneak peek into the making of the show! I am sure her followers would be interested!

 

A brilliant way of marketing an event by MSimps
A brilliant way of marketing an event by MSimps
Notice the use of the profile and pictures?
Notice the use of the profile and pictures?

Do you have any other ideas on using Instagram for business? Have you used Instagram to promote your business? Please share!

The potential of WhatsApp in lead generation and sales.

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For most Smartphone users in Ghana, one of the most common means of communicating with family and friends is through WhatsApp.

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging application (app) which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger works over Internet data or Wi-Fi and is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Android and Nokia.

Giving its popularity and the number of smartphone users who subscribe to it, this app (application) can be leveraged for marketing businesses. I will like to throw more light on a few of these and give examples of how some businesses in Ghana have adopted WhatsApp in the marketing of their products and services.

 

For starters

You may not have acquired a database of clients or prospects on WhatsApp yet, however you can use your friends and people on your contact list to start your promotions.

 

Messaging

As a small business owner or a start-up, WhatsApp can be used as a quick means to introduce new products, offers and promotions to your prospects and customers by way of sending instant messages. This is a platform for the small business owner to get creative. Your messages can be simple text, descriptions, tips and ‘how-to’ use/clean your product etc. It can also be very graphical – a poster, picture of your product etc. I will go for a picture anyday as the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words!” It can even be something outside your product/service like a simple inspirational message or greeting. Find a way to incorporate your logo, phone number etc. subtly into such a picture. This will be a great advert for your business if this image goes viral. With Whatsapp, you can easily incorporate hyperlinks into your messages to direct clients and prospects to your websites landing pages.

 

Profile picture

It is a known fact that pictures engage and draw attention. A business can use this small space for advertising new products. For example a bakery can put up a ‘delicious’ photo of its latest cake as a profile picture. A profile picture can also be the logo of the brand or poster advertising a new offer, the possibilities are endless. The marketer must make sure however that the picture used as profile picture is one that would cause his/her audience to want to view. Below (Figure 1) is an example of a boutique using the profile picture feature to advertise new clothes.

 

Figure 1

Status  

Statuses are a great way for marketers/business owners to get creative with short messages intended to command attention. It can be an announcement or even a conversation starter. For a clothing boutique for example, the status message can be the prices/sizes of the clothes you are advertising in the profile picture as in Figure 1 above. As a business owner, you wouldn’t want to leave your status as: Hey there! I am using WhatsApp (we can see that) or Available!

In the example (Figure 2) below the business uses its logo as the profile picture. The status message is promoting an up and coming service/offer.   There are a host of icons and smileys on WhatsApp to incorporate into your message to make it more interesting.

whatsapp2

Figure 2

Building a database

You need to build a database of interested/prospective clients. How do you do this?

In the adverts you place about your brand elsewhere (Online and Offline), advertise your phone number and ask people to:

  • drop a line/ say hi or something to you via WhatsApp
  • tell you what they think of your brand
  •  save the number for future inquiries even if they are not interested now

Save all inquiries – ask if it is the person doing the inquiry’s number and ask the prospect politely if you can save his/her number to get notified about future events/products/services from your business.

You can go a step further by politely asking for their name. This will add a personal touch to your marketing efforts when you are able to address them in the future with their names.

 

Using Groups

Group chat is a great way to segment and target your customers. Depending on the product or service etc. you offer you can create groups around similar interests. This is an easy means for ‘mass communication’. The group chat can also be used as a forum for discussions and feedback by the small business owner. It is convenient for receivers to share with friend groups in their social network; this has the potential to cause your message to go viral if the recipients find the need to share with their friends.

 

Constant engagement

Keep the conversation going and the relationship alive with constant status updates and profile picture changes.

BlueStacks – Using PC’s and Laptops

You can still use WhatsApp if you don’t have a smartphone or if you would want to use your laptop or PC to run WhatsApp for your business. Although there is no official WhatsApp application available for Windows PCs, you can still use it by applying a workaround. You would need to download and install a mobile emulator software like YouWave or BlueStacks to your PC, and install it like a regular Windows application (doing this will be a discussion for another day.)

You would also need to use a modem with a sim card to access the Internet. Note that Whatsapp only allows one account per phone number and so you can’t use one phone number for both your smartphone and PC/Laptop.