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Marketing opinion

The social start-up

OK, so let's talk social media, the thing that is this multi layered complex series of platforms. One platform in particular, Facebook, is like the science of social media. It seems like everything you do on Facebook either ties in closely to your personality or is targeted to a certain personality type group. The deeper you go into it the more strategic approaches you come across. Some approaches display serious angles of manipulation and others some hard, cold casing, corporate bitch slapping.
Because I have been running the marketing for my clothing company off social media for some time now, I've been able to see first hand the serious weight it carries as a marketing tool. This is especially true for start-ups and also reflective for other small businesses given they have a higher customer turnaround due to their lack of diversity in comparison to competitors. Without being able to be in your customers faces using conventional marketing methods and putting your brands identity into their subconscious, getting them to use your business more regularly is a timely (and costly) turnaround process.

Super hero

This is where social media comes in, and like a super hero with a cape and bright shiny boots (minus the underpants) it allows you to have your brand experience literally in your customer's pockets.

So knowing this great opportunity lies at your disposal, you head out and set up your fan page. Step 1 complete...

But is it?

I strongly recommend that if you have not gone to brand management school or follow a strict diet of Mashable, Memeburn and the Have-you-Heard blog ... then make your page personal.

Brands are complex, yes the idea of a brand is even very luxurious, but remember that a brand is a product personified. As in giving a lifestyle to the product and it becomes more desirable. Likewise, if your small business takes on your character- the charm, passion and dedication you put into that business, it will become desirable, giving your business the brand experience.

This is the story that markets well. An experience, pulling your customer in for the sale... bringing them closer to that "oh so lovely point of purchase" and getting them so emotionally attached that for the next 10 years if they even consider buying a product from your competitor they feel like they are cheating.

So if your budget lacks the legs needed for a campaign with some bells and whistles... worry not. Follow these four simple rules and your business's Facebook fan page will deliver a customer experience that over time will begin to turn likes into sales, shares into referrals and check-ins into foot traffic.

Create awareness, not noise

Some pages are like street vendors trying to sell you something and all you want to do is keep walking. Don't rush content and assume that all your page fans see a post as you put it up. You fans have lives, so give them enough content so your page is media rich and not busy with noise.

Know what fans LIKE

Videos over pictures, pictures over links, links over text...

Surveys show that photographs are five times more likely to go viral and that video's are the most shared content on social media.

Watch out for links though, as they are tricky because of spam. So don't shorten the link because you don't know if by clicking it something will automatically post to your timeline spamming you with unwanted content.

Rather post a picture and then drop the link in the text.

If you are a massive fan of text posting then get yourself a twitter handle.

Rewards

When posting content for your business or product, give incentives. Rewarding people for their engagement allows you open access to the information they hold. So when you put up a questionnaire they all answer quickly in the hope that they will be the next rewarded fan.

Use Woobox or Booshka for easy use and setup of sweepstakes, coupons and voting polls.
    
 

About Reece Easthorpe

Reece Easthorpe, has a clothing label 'Rock Paper Scissors' which he markets off social media and a start-up handling local businesses social media called 'Umlomo Omkhulu.' Through his posts he wishes to promote the usage of social media as a platform, learning tool and marketing avenue.
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