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Hello! Welcome to the first 123-reg on-demand webinar. In it we’ll be looking at why you should be using social media as part of your marketing and how you can make the most of it. Social media’s potential as a marketing platform is huge – a significant proportion of your potential customer base will be using it on a daily basis. In the webinar I’ll explain how you can take advantage of this situation. Click the video to get started and if you have any questions, please leave them as a comment below.

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Welcome everyone to today’s webinar – how to use social media. Now to handover to Nick Leech, Group Marketing Director at 123-reg.

Hi everyone, my name is Nick Leech and I’m the marketing director here at 123-reg. I want to wish you a warm welcome to our very first 123-reg webinar. Over the coming weeks and months we are going to be helping you out with lots of webinars that have lots of useful advice on how to run your business online to go along side all of our regular blog posts and videos. This week, I’ll be giving you some practical advice on how to use social media in your marketing mix. So let’s see what we’ve got in store.

To start with, I will show you why you should use social media and then give you an honest appraisal of the pros and cons. Once you’ve decided to use social media, and it’s something you can fully commit to, I’ll talk you through a framework you can apply to your social media to get the most out of it and encourage people to interact with you. Finally, I’ll show you how to turn your followers into sales and how to integrate social media into your website.

So why should you use social media as part of your marketing mix? Clearly social media is here to stay, and is still growing. There are more than a billion people on Facebook and if you believe the numbers there are more than a billion on Google + apparently.

But the user numbers don’t alone justify it. So why should you allocate any of your time to it as part of your marketing? The fact is, that not only is your audience on social media but your audience is choosing to interact with and talk about brands. 36% of UK consumers use social media to interact with brands; 39% of Twitter users have tweeted about a brand; 58% of Facebook users have liked a brand; and 42% have mentioned a brand within a status update. Finally 41% of Facebook users have shared a video, a link, or a story about a brand. More than that, consumers expect to be able to interact with a brand via social media. The fact is, your customers are having conversations about you and your brand whether you’re on that network or not.

So what are the pros and cons of social media? Well on the pros side and in contrast with other marketing channels, where you have to broadcast as a brand to many people, social media gives you the chance to have a one-on-one relationship with your customers, almost like meeting them face to face. This can give you the chance to engage them on their terms and personalise your message. By referring to expert content on your and other sites, you can position yourself as an expert in your niche. You can use social channels to distribute deals instantly – no need to get a webpage, print advert or email designed and coded – just get straight out there and launch your offer. By the very nature of the medium, businesses spend next to nothing on their social channels apart from their time.

On the con side, social media is not a fire and forget marketing channel. Once you start, you need to dedicate time each and every day in order to make it work. Social media also makes it easy for people to publically air any issues or problems that you have such as poor product or poor customer service. And of course on social media, you can’t control the conversation – people are free to say what they want about you and your brand. So hopefully I’ve convinced you that social media should be part of your marketing mix.

So which social media networks should you use? Well the big three to focus on are Facebook, Google + and Twitter. If you can produce video content, by all means, use You Tube to add another dimension to your marketing. If you are targeting businesses, or business people, LinkedIn might be an option. But remember, LinkedIn is mostly where people turn to when thinking about their own careers and themselves. So in many cases, you are still better off targeting business on Facebook or Twitter
The first question to ask is what is it you want to use social media for? Because social media can pretty much be whatever you want it to be. This graph shows how different organisations use social media. 64% are using social media as a brand awareness channel; a further 44% are using it as a Marketing channel; 25% are using it as a customer service channel. How many other marketing channels could be used so differently?

It could be dangerous to be all things to all people on social media. If you use one social profile for support, sales, branding, and so on – the message could soon become diluted. Define what you want social media to be for and if you want to use it for multiple purposes, I’d recommend creating distinct accounts for each purpose. For example @yourcompany and @yourcompanysupport. This way, you can keep the conversation focused on where you want this to be.

So here is a strategy format that you can apply to your social media marketing. I call it the 4 P’s. First of all, “Perceive”, pay attention to what is happening online and understand what it means to your business. Know where people are talking about you and your competitors and listen to what they are saying.
Protect – and by this I mean, protect your future. Be prepared to react to events in social media. When critics gripe and point out your flaws be prepared to respond. If they point out product problems, or areas for improvement, get that information to the right people in your organisation.

Participate – join in relevant online discussions, comment on blogs, and join online communities. Don’t try to subvert the medium by, for example, using a fake identity. Be genuine and you can be a constructive part of the conversation.

And finally project – blogs, content sharing, and social networking sites can be useful for promoting your business and your brand. As you speak though remember to keep on listening. This is a world of two-way conversation and listening will help tell you how your speaking is going over.

Try to integrate your social media marketing, and by that, I mean don’t operate each network as a silo. Use them to drive visitors to each other. Your ultimate aim though should be to drive traffic to your website and awareness of your brand.

In order to get the most from social media you need a social media action plan. Taking the time up-front to plan your social media will save time & effort and will make sure you hit the ground running. To start with, create smart goals that are aligned with business drivers. For example, if you have a business driver for new customer sales then create a goal for your social media marketing to increase sales by X amount. If customer support is a business driver, then create a goal around reducing support tickets by a certain amount.

Secondly, decide what social news to follow – what are the industry trends that you need to be aware of and keep up with, which keywords do you need to keep track of, who are the influential people on social media in your industry and which of your competitors are making good use of social media?

Third, decide which social channels you want to use and understand how each channel will help you achieve your goals. For example, if you plan to use Twitter, then a goal could be around improving service. If you plan to set up a blog, then a goal could be about reaching new customers through people sharing your content.

Last of all decide how you will measure your activities. For each of your marketing goals, choose a social metric that indicates success. What tools will you use to measure this metric? For example, if you have a goal around increasing brand awareness, then a social media metric to indicate certain success will be the number of people that you reach. And in order to measure that, you’ll need Facebook and Twitter analytics. If you have a goal around reducing the number and amount of customer support then the social media metric will be the number of issues that you have addressed. And of course the tool that you’ll need to measure that is your CRM or support platform.

Create a document that summarises how you will use social media and make sure that relevant people within your organisation read it and understand it. Here is the positioning sheet that we created for 123-reg that helps guide how we use social media. This ensures that we always take a consistent approach with our brand on social media and through our other marketing and it helps us teach new people when they join the team.

Just being on social media though is no guarantee that it will be a success. You need to ask yourself why people will want to follow your brand. This research shows that the biggest potential comes from focusing on your existing customers, running social offers, and generating useful content. Don’t just chase a number just for the sake of having a large number of followers. Focus on quality over quantity. It is much better to have 100 active followers who have an active interest in your product and your brand and who talk about you than 1,000 people who pay you no attention and have no interest in what you do.

The key to getting started is to be active and not dip in and out once a week or less. It’s a daily commitment especially at the start. Here are some ideas for the types of activities that you can carry out in order to gain interaction. I’ve broken them into four main categories.

To start with, rewards. This covers areas like price discounts, prize draws, competitions, exclusive content and so on. For example, you could reward people who like or follow you by entering those users into a prize draw or you could choose to give exclusive discounts to your followers in return for their attention
Discussion – here are some good ideas to get people to interact with you and each other in order to build a community feel. For example, you could run a poll on your Facebook page in order to gain interaction and provoke a reaction from your users or you can even just ask open questions in order to initiate a debate on a topic.
Sharing – create content that people will want to share. For example, interview a thought leader or an industry veteran on your blog. Try to get a unique perspective on a hot topic in your market. Also try linking to relevant and valuable third-party resources. The stuff you share on social media doesn’t just have to be that which you’ve created. You can benefit with being associated with other useful content and authorities.

And lastly, awareness, make sure people are aware of your social channels by using all the tools you have available. Be sure to link to your channels from your website and try having a live feed to your Twitter profile. Be sure to link to your social channels in your email signatures. Make email subscribers aware by mentioning them in your newsletters.

With social media, decide how much effort you are prepared to put in and let that decide the types of activities you get up to. If you only plan a light involvement, stick to easy and quick actions such as retweeting positive comments, replying to sales inquiries, and sharing case studies, sharing testimonials from social media or your website and sharing blog posts. If you are prepared to put more time in, then consider exclusive discounts for your social channels or even create crowd source deals that unlock a particular price point if enough people like it. You could even reach out to those looking for advice related to what you do and help them out directly with a suggestion. If you are very serious about social media and are prepared to put time and money into it then there are some advanced options. These include integrating your affiliate program with your social channels so that those sharing information about your brand are rewarded with cash. Or you could integrate an application or game with your Facebook page enabling you to snag some serious attention from your users by giving them an interesting and engaging reason to spend time on your social channels. For the advanced two and for those of you running online shops, you could consider integrating a shopping cart on your Facebook page such as Payvment from Ecwid enabling you to take orders or bookings directly through social media.

Make sure you monitor your performance on social media. There are many metrics you can focus on which I’ve broken into five categories of social media measurement. To start with, monitor the amount of exposure your brand is getting by measuring metrics such as the number of reviews your posts are getting, how your follower and fan count is changing, and how much your brand is mentioned on social media.

Then uncover how influential your brand is on social media by measuring the sentiment around your brand, how much share of voice you are getting compared to your peers, and whether you are reaching top influencers – and if they are changing with, engaging with, and sharing your content and brand.

Some of these are reported within the analytics for each social channel. Although to get more advanced, you’ll need a tool like Radian6. Then move on to engagement to understand if and how people are interacting with you. The metrics that indicate this are clicks, retweets and shares, and replies, direct messages and posts on your wall, comments on your blog posts and of course subscribers to your blog posts.

The next thing to consider is what people are doing as a consequence of interacting with you on social media. Are they choosing to download any content from your website? Are they signing up to and attending your webinars? Are they filling out lead generation forms on your website? Or are they requesting proposals from you?
Finally, how is social media contributing to your bottom line? What online or phone sales are you generating? For those appointments or proposals that have been generated, what sales have been generated? When you link to your website it’s a good idea to use a URL shortener like bit.ly so that fewer characters are used up by the link in each post.

In order to understand what sales you are making you will need to add tracking parameters to every link you shorten so that your Google analytics will be able to attribute the visitor to a particular traffic source. It’s often hard to track all the way through to conversion because the journey from social media discovery to conversion is often long and winding where you have reached the customer with a wide range of marketing activities, it may be hard to track everything back to social media. For example if someone has discovered you via a blog post that you have shared on Facebook, then become a subscriber of your blog, then eventually responded and purchased to a promotion in a newsletter, it might be that newsletter that is credited with the sale instead of the original Facebook share. Be sure to check the multi-channel funnels in Google Analytics to understand how users discovered your website.

There are some great tools out there to help you measure your efforts on social media and many of them are totally free. With tweetdeck, for example, you can monitor your app channel, your newsfeed, your competitors and industry news in easy to read columns. Google analytics, of course, will let you know what is happening on your website for free. With Bit.ly, you can shorten links and it give you good analytics about how often those links are clicked and follower wonk will let you know who is influential on Twitter within particular niches.

Finally be sure to add a social layer to your website. Anyone can make up a customer testimonial but it’s a lot harder to fake a tweet. These add a lot more credibility. Make it easy for customers to share, like, and +1 your content by adding clear and enticing social sharing buttons. And if you are an advanced user, then try adding social logins to your site that let your website visitors sign up by using their social media accounts. This can really reduce the friction of gaining signups and sales but you will, of course, need a developer to make it happen.

Well that was our first webinar, “how to use social media in your marketing mix”. My name is Nick Leech, I hope you found the webinar useful. If you have any questions arising from any of the content in the webinar, please leave it within the comments below and we will answer it straight away. This webinar will be followed by a whole lot more so be sure to check the 123-reg blog for new updates. Many thanks for your time today and until next time, goodbye.

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