UK businesses are going social in 2011

FacebookResearch indicates that a third of UK companies have now signed up to online networks. We all know about the big B2C companies such as Starbucks, Pringles and Adidas, who offer their audiences a strong presence on social media sites.  So what makes them so successful? Their use of Facebook fan page features to promote complimentary social media and advertising campaigns demonstrates a commitment to engage with their target audiences through proactive online interaction on popular social media channels.

Most recently, Adidas ran an exclusive Facebook contest where a fan could win an all-expenses-paid house party. What made this campaign so successful was that Adidas chose to work alongside MTV, a partner that echoed the Facebook user demographic, forming a perfect partnership. Adidas also promoted the contest on their fan page before and after the campaign. Once they had chosen the lucky winner, they used their page to share the fan’s blog posts, photos and videos from the party. This resulted in further fan engagement and interest.  Adidas and MTV used the power of social media after the event as a follow up tool, which offered added value to fans. Followers could see how the campaign played out, start to finish.

Fan pages such as these are actively engaging with companies’ target demographic. These pages have creative content, two-way communication, active discussion boards, images and videos. Facebook pages present an exciting platform for brands to directly engage with their existing and past customers and generate new ones. Case studies indicate that the more time you invest in your brand’s Facebook page, the better response you’ll get.

So you may be thinking, how does a Facebook page relate to my business? Every day we are asked the question, ‘Isn’t Facebook for friends and big consumer brands, how can I use social media in a B2B environment?’ Every organisation, no matter what sector is selling an idea. It might be associated with a product or less tangible like: ‘you should invest in our company’, ‘we need your donations’, ‘we’re a great place to work or volunteer’, or ‘we promise to take care of the planet and be good corporate citizens’. These are ideas that require social interaction and social media seems the perfect platform to facilitate it.

Deloitte, one of the big 4 consultancies, are a well known B2B player on Facebook. Deloitte annually recruit over 1000 new people. They know that in their industry recruitment is key, as human resources are their main asset, and they use Social Media to recruit as well as retain employees. Through a heavy presence on Facebook they are able to connect their employees together, and identify students from the best universities.

Deloitte produced another great example of a powerful Facebook campaign. To get their staff to reflect on Deloitte’s business culture and values, Deloitte launched a Deloitte Film Festival competition in which workers in their US offices were invited to submit short videos answering the question: “What’s your Deloitte?”. The campaign was a huge success with the videos posted on YouTube receiving 400,000 views.

As a business focused on working with SMEs, we know it is often difficult to find the time to focus your efforts on building your social media presence, as well as generating ideas for interesting content. Here are a few tips to help you get started in producing a successful social media channel for your business.

1. Use your own unique brand image on your profile. Use images and content that reflects the values of your business. It is common knowledge that the ‘about us’ and ‘meet the team’ pages  are often the most viewed pages of a website. Your Facebook page is an excellent platform to introduce your team.

2. Post relevant and industry related content.  Interesting content is required to keep people engaged. Use links to blogs, articles and videos that are relevant to your industry to supplement your own original content.

3. Start a conversation using social media. Facebook and Twitter are supposed to be interactive, participate in discussions on relevant topics or comment on someone else’s postings. Find every opportunity to start a discussion.

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