Marketing strategist Selena Harrison speaks at the Feb. 8 Chelsea Business Alliance luncheon.
In a world where customer and business interaction is moving more and more online, many businesses are working to grow their presence on social media websites. During the February Chelsea Business Alliance luncheon, local business owners heard tips for managing and maintaining successful social media websites from Selena Harrison with Ripple 511.
Before launching social media accounts, Harrison said it is important to look at target audiences and develop a plan. There are several social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and others, but not all of those sites fit every business, Harrison said.
“It is not necessary to be in every one of those platforms. What you first need to do is figure out where your audience is,” she said. “… One of the things I talk about with people is that, without a plan you are planning to fail.”
An important step is setting up purpose and priorities, she said, because businesses can then look back on those set items before making changes. Wandering off into other areas, Harrison said, could end up being a waste of time and resources.
Once a purpose and priorities are set, Harrison suggests looking at each marking campaign and asking if it will help further a company’s purpose. Social media campaigns should also have a purpose — raising awareness, making a sale, educating the audience or just connecting with a market.
“It comes back to talking to the right people and having the right focus when you’re doing it,” she said. “If you go on Facebook, for instance, and all you do is sell, sell, sell all the time, people are going to stop listening to you.”
When it comes to knowing an audience, Harrison said it is important to maintain a solid focus on a specific group. While some companies look at their audience in a broad scope, narrowing a message to focus on a specific gender, age group or other factor can help a social media campaign succeed.
“If you start talking in general … you are going to reach no one,” she said. “… The more specific you get, and you speak their lingo, you’re authentic. And you know your audience, you can also figure out which platforms they’re on.”
Attempting to use all forms of social media can be overwhelming and lead to a watered down or ineffective message, so Harrison encouraged everyone to seek out the best platforms for their target audience. Facebook reaches the widest variety of individuals and provides the option to share content, talk with customers and easily provide customer service. Twitter, however, has a younger user base and most users try to find coupons or promotions on the site. Instagram has a high interaction rate, but a younger user base, and Google Plus provides the benefit of search engine optimization for businesses.
Some basics for social media, Harrison said, are to complete all the info on your company page — hours, phone number, address — and to update and respond consistently, Harrison said.
“If you’re not going to do it, don’t do it,” she said. “Don’t get on there if you’re not going to [update] it because then people have a certain expectation, and people don’t know what to think about it. … You kind of lose credibility that way.”
Following Harrison’s presentation, attendees were reminded about the upcoming Flapjack Breakfast at the Chelsea Applebees, which will benefit Chelsea High School’s Future Business Leaders of America scholarship fund. The breakfast is $5 per person and will take place on Feb. 11 from 8-10 a.m.
Chelsea Business Alliance President Dr. Ben Smith announced he plans to step down as president. The decision was not an easy one, he said, and it came as the result of other parts of his life.
“Thank you,” he said. “It’s been a great ride. … I’m real pleased with where we are.”
The next Chelsea Business Alliance luncheon will be March 8. For more information, click here.