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Social Growth Planning – a strategy to grow your business

If you want growth, you need social

Today, innovation isn’t optional, its expected, by customers, employees, shareholders and new markets you are trying to enter.

If you want customer engagement, you need social

Social platforms dominate the way people communicate – it’s the primary online activity. And while other channels like email continue to thrive, those channels don’t match the two-way conversation ability of social.

People spend 39% of their time on social media, 33% on email, 7% on search, 4% on video, 3% on shopping

If you want to drive purchases, you need social

Content shared by peers on social media is the most influential channel for inspiring purchases, ranking higher than retailer websites, emails and blogs.

The question is how can you harness social media?

There are 3 stages to this – Succeed with social media today; Build for tomorrow; Measure your success along the way.

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Succeed with strategic social media planning

  • Social is a wonderful way to engage with your customers, but in the customers’ mind they want an individual experience.  Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just offer great customer experience – it must be personalised, relevant, timely and focused on the needs of each customer.
  • Conversations are shifting more and more to private channels such as WhatsApp and Messenger.
  • Social is more shoppable according to a global study, 55% of internet users are social shoppers – they use social media as a primary source of information and influence from peers.
  • Social users expect personalisation across content that meets their individual needs.

Building the social organisation of tomorrow

You need to think of social as being more than just “marketing” – there are 3 strategic approaches to think about – ACE (advocacy, customer-centric, ecosystem):

  • Advocacy; by getting your team to share their stories to your community can help build a larger picture of your organisation that has “advocates’ within as well as without.
  • Customer-centric; you need to understand what it is your customer wants to hear from you, is it customer service, new product/service announcements – it becomes a 2-way communication to engage with your customer.
  • Ecosystem; fully integrating your social media activity into your existing marketing, sales and customer service activity.

Measuring success along the way

Customers ask different questions to the business – inspire me, help me decide, show me you care. Whereas a business owner wants to drive revenue, decrease costs, mitigate risk – polar opposites.

Sell to the customer by targeting prospects, establishing engagement and closing sales via social media – sure, this is great, but a customer is more likely to be looking for ‘people who like the things I like’.  By learning what the customer wants you can realign your sales to target the customer on their terms – increasing engagement and sales.

Marketing to the customer to generate more leads and sales to close is becoming a bit old skool. The customer does not care about your lead generation or being ‘sold’ to, they want to know if this content is relevant to my needs and therefore earns my trust to purchase.

Customer support is moving increasingly to social media to reduce the frustration created by slow email replies and long telephone waiting times. With social, messages can be instant or at least give the impression to a customer that something is happening.

The opportunity with social media isn’t to achieve a few business objectives … instead, it is to get social media to become an integral part of your business. Customers today expect so much more either in a B2B or B2C experience – both are the same individual with the same needs.

If you’re looking to grow your business then social media is a viable platform … BUT, only if you take ‘social growth planning’ seriously and embrace a strategic approach that embeds social into your business core.

Straight talking business advice on social strategy from Yorkshire Powerhouse

You’ve read about embracing a social growth planning strategy – have you any questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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Registered address: 40 Gordon St, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5LH