Gary Newborough is one of our most experienced business advisors and has provided help and support to various businesses of all sizes. He has extensive knowledge of marketing, strategy and social media, and over 40 years’ experience in the field.

In this guide, Gary will discuss the importance of social media within businesses and how beneficial it is in modern day marketing.

If you’ve got a question for Gary, don’t hesitate to give us a tweet @GC_EduSkills – or drop us a line.

How prominent is social media in the modern day world? How is it different to, say, 10 years ago?

I was in a restaurant the other day and I saw they had a sign which said ‘We don’t have Wi-Fi. Talk to each other’. This got me thinking about social media and how dependent upon it some people have become. People used to go out to eat and actually talk to each other. It was part of the experience.  These days it’s not unusual to see couples out for a romantic meal, sharing some brief time with each other in between keeping up to date with the world outside via social media.

How is having a presence on social media important for small businesses?

Social media is big, Facebook, the largest social media platform has nearly 2 billion users worldwide and growing. LinkedIn the network for B2B marketing has 450 million users and every minute 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.

Whether we like it or not our customers use social media. From teenagers to grandparents across pretty much every trade and profession. Everyone reads reviews and many try their hand at writing them. Lots of people post pictures on Instagram.

So you’re saying it’s a huge potential route to market?

Absolutely and the best thing is it’s mostly free. It can reach not only existing customers but also new ones. In the next street and across the other side of the world. You can be sure your competitors will be taking advantage of it if they’re not doing so already. So you really have no choice.

If you’re the owner of a small business, isn’t this another burden? Are there enough hours in the day?

If you own a business or work as a marketing manager in a small business or a manager in a not for profit you’re probably intrigued by social media as a marketing and communication platform. You’re right. There are benefits but what do you need to do to reap them? We are constantly being asked to like, follow and share messages but what if you don’t know the difference between a retweet and a hashtag?

Social media is everywhere and yet it can seem very confusing for the uninitiated and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It can be a real drain on resources for no measurable benefit if you get it wrong. You may not have the support of an agency to help you develop your strategy and manage your presence on a day to day basis. You may be on your own.

So where should I start then if I want to develop my companies social media marketing?

With apologies to Lewis Carroll, I guess my advice is very much the same as that given by the Cheshire Cat to Alice in Wonderland:

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

To save doing too much abortive work or walking in the wrong direction, a good place to start is with a social media strategy. What do you want to get out of your investment in social media? Yes, I know I said it was free but someone has to invest time in it and time costs money and that’s the basis of your investment. There are potentially other costs too if you want to target your message at a specific demographic. The objective of your strategy maybe to get a sale, drive traffic to your website, impart information, collect data, feedback, or reinforce your brand. Once decided this may well help you with deciding which social media platforms are best for achieving your objectives.

What comes after the strategy?

Setting up and maintaining. Social media is all around us 24/7 whether it be on your desktop, tablet or mobile phone. Your product or service may well be judged by the speed and quality of your responses to contacts on social media.

Then there are reviews. It’s often said that reviews can make or break your business when some unhappy customer has trashed your reputation online. I’m afraid to say that it doesn’t even have to be an unhappy customer these days, fake reviews and dirty tricks abound.

Over to you

If you’re interested to find out more about social media marketing for your business, come along to our new workshop.

An Introduction to Social Media Marketing is a highly practical workshop and you will spend the morning working on your social media strategy. In the afternoon, you will look at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and find out some hints and tips on how they might be used to support your strategy.

If you have any social media questions for Gary, feel free to get in touch via Twitter, LinkedIn  or email.

And if you’re looking for hands-on support with marketing training or business development of any kind, simply hit the button below to book an obligation-free training consultation with our expert team now: 

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