social media in marketing

One of the questions I get asked all the time is, does social media really work? Can it bring me new customers and more business?

The answer, for the majority of businesses in the UK (there will always be a few exceptions!) is undoubtedly YES!

However, I heard a great story just the other day which really highlights the potential and power of social media. This particular anecdote concerns Twitter.

There’s a very successful UK entrepreneur called Nigel Botterill. Nigel has built five separate million pound plus businesses in the last five years so, he knows a lot about what it takes to build businesses fast. He was one of the first business people to properly understand the potential and power of social media and he has driven literally hundreds of thousands of people to his websites and generated tens of thousands of pounds of revenue directly through social media over the last few months.

However, the story I heard last week is very powerful. Nigel was running a Boot Camp to train potential franchisors, i.e. people that wanted to franchise their business, over two days at his head offices in Solihull. Tickets cost over £2,000 and the event was fully booked.

On the Sunday evening before the event, Nigel put a Tweet out on Twitter that said, “Really looking forward to my Franchisors Boot Camp tomorrow – off for an early night to make sure I’m on top form (hopefully)”.

Now, this is not one of the most insightful Tweets you will ever see(!) but, what happened next is fascinating and illustrates really well the power of Twitter. One “follower” of Nigel is a guy called Jat Mann who runs a business called PC Pal. Jat has recently franchised his business out and when he saw this Tweet from Nigel (at 9.00pm on a Sunday evening don’t forget) it was the first he knew about Nigel’s Boot Camp. He was very keen to get a place so he tweeted back to Nigel asking for more information. Unfortunately, Nigel had gone offline so Jat jumped on the internet and started filling in every email form he could find on all of Nigel’s websites. One of those emails got picked up by one of Nigel’s colleagues who called Nigel at home at 10.15pm on a Sunday evening to ask whether he would accept another person on his Franchisors Boot Camp.

Long story short, Jat turned up at Nigel’s offices on the Monday morning at 8.30am, paid his £2k plus on credit card and joined the Boot Camp.

The point of this story is to illustrate the ability that Twitter has to generate business and, what’s great about this particular anecdote is that it is completely ring fenced, nothing else was at play here – just Twitter.

Now, it would be easy to dismiss this story as an isolated incident – “Oh, Nigel got lucky!” However, that would be to overlook the platform that had been built over the previous months. Nigel has a large number of followers on Twitter and Jat was one of those people. Nigel engages with his audience on Twitter all the time. Consequently, he is seen as being interesting and interested and, so relationships are forged.

When Nigel launches new products or has new initiatives he is able to let his followers know about these things in the right way, at the right time and a heck of a lot of business gets done as a result.

This kind of platform and access to this community is available to you too – IF you use social media properly.

If you need any help in this regard…..then you know where to come!

For sixty years after the Second World War if you were a local business there were only really three things you had to do to market yourself effectively. Life was very straightforward. You took the biggest ad you could afford in Yellow Pages, relied a lot on word of mouth and, if you were very ambitious or a little bit flash(!), then you took an ad out in the local newspaper.

That was pretty much all you had to worry about as far as marketing was concerned.

Oh how times have changed.

Yellow Pages are dying now. They are getting thinner every year, fewer and fewer people are using them and, within the next five to ten years the old printed yellow books will have disappeared altogether.

Right across the country local newspapers are seeing circulation fall and, each month, different titles are shutting down the presses and going out of business.

And, of course, society has become much more transient and mobile than it ever was in the ‘good old days’. Neighbourhood communities are now a real rarity for most people.

For businesses right across the country this has forced a seismic shift in the way they market and promote themselves. New, all encompassing, marketing services like thebestof have come from nowhere to provide a myriad of different services to businesses. The internet is now an integral part of the fabric of modern life and, within that, social media has emerged to fulfil the role of 21st Century word of mouth.

If you think about it, that’s all social media is, word of mouth.

People sharing with other people (some whom they know and others who they don’t know) what they think about things and places, what they’re doing right now and what they are planning to do.

The fact is, that wherever you live in the country, within a few miles of where you are right now there will be thousands of people online, right this minute, on social media sites. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or Linked-In, the reality is that these people, in your area, are using social media today. It’s where the people are. And that’s why, if you are a business then you have to be in this space as well and you can’t do it just by buying an ad or writing a cheque.

You have to engage and get involved.

You have to continually update and input.

It’s not difficult and, when you do it right, it can be even more powerful than word of mouth was in the old days because social media allows everybody to communicate with everybody else – and people do.

You don’t really have a choice as to whether you get involved with social media or not – only when. It’s beginning to transform the way people do business in the UK and the opportunities for those businesses sharp enough to see that and adapt to it is immense.

If you would like help with your social media strategy then we’d be delighted to oblige. We understand this stuff, we’re good at it and we love to make it happen. Happy to have a chat – call us on 01462 615821.