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Social mediastudy goldenhorseshoe_final


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We interviewed over 100 business owners and asked them about what they were doing with regard to social media for their business. This report details what's working, what's not and some recommendations

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Social mediastudy goldenhorseshoe_final

  1. 1. Social Media For BusinessA look at the Golden Horseshoe – what’s working and why As prepared by 1
  2. 2. Table of ContentsIntroduction 3Executive summary 4The study 5Positive results 11Troubling trends 12The gap is growing 13Recommendations 14About the authors 23 2
  3. 3. IntroductionSince the inception of the internet the world has become more andmore connected. Social Media is the next step in that connectivity.No matter what sized business you operate or manage, SocialMedia has or is about to impact your world. From customer service,to sales, to marketing and hiring, Social Media’s effect can be felt inalmost every department of most companies.We wanted to better understand how the business community ofthe Golden Horseshoe in Ontario have been affected by SocialMedia.The following pages is a summary of conversations and interviewswe’ve had from January to March 2012 with close to 100 businessowners and senior managers about how Social Media has or has notimpacted them.This is by no means a scientific study, rather it’s a collection ofcandid conversations and keen insights into the real world of SocialMedia for business. 3
  4. 4. Executive Summary At the conclusion of our interviews we noticed that all of the companies we spoke with fell into one of five distinct stages in their Social Media journey. As you can see in this diagram at least 80% of the firms we talked with are using Social Media, however, only a small portion are seeing distinct results. This may lead some of you to conclude that Social Media doesn’t work, but the reason many are not seeing tangible results is because they are either just beginning to use it or they have no strategy in place to drive it. 4
  5. 5. The StudyThere are numerous tools that can be used for social media. Below represents what tools were most used bythe respondents. As you can see Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin were by far the most popular. 5
  6. 6. The StudyA beautiful part of the internet is the ability to find content in the format we personally enjoy most, be it text,video, audio or photos. Below you can see that the majority of the content being produced by the respondentswas text based, while links, video and photos all tied for second. 6
  7. 7. The StudyBecause Social Media is new to many of the companies we spoke with, almost half had no formal goals set. Ofthose companies that did set goals, many were focused on the number of followers/likes and some identifieddialogue and engagement as important goals. 7
  8. 8. The StudyThe biggest mystery attached to Social Media is how to measure it. Some firms focused on numbers like“followers” or “likes”, while others focused more on how many people shared and commented on what wasposted. And still others wanted hard numbers like sales dollars generated.We can without a doubt attest to the fact that there is not a universal measurement that everyone could agreeupon. What it really came down to is what their expectations were of Social Media. Some of the firms we spokewith are naturally social by nature and the tools of Social Media were a natural extension of what they werealready doing, while other companies are either completely terrified of it or have no idea how it could provide abenefit. 8
  9. 9. The Study70% of the businesses we spoke with had no budget allocated to Social Media. Many of them did admit thatthey had dedicated staff who spent time on Social Media but they did not allocate dollars to contentdevelopment, promotions or staff. Of the companies that did have a budget, it was almost exclusively dedicatedto staff. 9
  10. 10. The StudyEven though almost half of the companies we spoke with did not have formalized goals and a majority have nobudget allocated to Social Media over 70% believe that Social Media is very important to the growth of theirbusiness. 10
  11. 11. Positive ResultsAfter analyzing all of the interviews and conversations we found specific areas where companies usingSocial Media were seeing positive results.Hiring: Meridian Credit Union have utilized Linkedin for the majority of their recruitment. They foundthat many of the profiles on Linkedin were more thorough than the actual resumes of some applicants.Customer Service: Companies like CAA Niagara are using Social Media to provide answers to customer’squestions in real time as well as directing them to important news, tips and information when theyneed it most.Sales Support: Schools like Niagara College and Niagara Christian Community of Schools are usingstudent testimonials, videos and photos to tell the story of the institution and why it’s a great place toattend.Customer Retention: Businesses like Innovative Kitchen Design provide their customers with recipesfrom leading Niagara Chefs, video tips to help customers care for their new kitchens and discounts atkitchen supply stores.Customer Education: Companies like Beatties Basics provide valuable product information to helpconsumers make better choices. Nino D’Ambra Hair & Aesthetics use Facebook to give weekly tips onhair styles, make-up and hair care products attracting people from far outside their geographic region.New Market Acquisition: HOCO Entertainment is reaching international markets and bringing in newvisitors to Niagara. 11
  12. 12. Troubling TrendsWhile the study did uncover numerous success stories, at the same time the report identified fourareas where businesses were struggling with their Social Media activities. These trends are notexclusive to the Golden Horseshoe as we’ve seen evidence from third party research related to SocialMedia.Campaigns: Trying to force traditional marketing tactics into Social Media. While contesting,promotions and yes campaigns can be effective, many companies we spoke with lose people quicklywhen its all they offer. Social Media is most effective when it’s a mix of giving value, engaging,promoting and sharing.Selling Only: Very similar to campaigns are companies using Social Media exclusively to sell. The studyfound that this group typically posts messages very infrequently and when they do it’s only to promotetheir special of the week or a sale they’re having. While this will appeal to some people, the vastmajority of people using Social Media will be turned off by this.Long periods of time with no contact: Another trend we noticed were companies that set up pages oraccounts, made a few posts and then nothing for months and in one case two years. We found that forSocial Media to work, you need to be there. Just like offline connections, Social Media takes a certainlevel of commitment.Putting the intern in charge: Because Social Media requires a time commitment, in some cases amajor time commitment, it is often delegated to the low man on the rung; the intern. While they dohave the time, they do not always possess the understanding of the business or the companiescustomers. Social Media is a real-time medium and requires individuals who know how to properlycommunicate with the market. 12
  13. 13. The gap is growing One of the biggest findings of the study was the gap between companies using Social Media for extended periods of time and companies that were using it sporadically or not at all. The businesses using it consistently were seeing exponential results and relevancy within their markets, while companies that are not using it, fearful of it or very sporadic in their application are only seeing incremental growth at best. = companies using social media = companies not using or sporadic use of social mediaResu The gap is wideninglts Time 13
  14. 14. RecommendationsBased on all of the data from the study and our consulting work over the last twoyears we have compiled a best practices formula for businesses looking to useSocial Media.The Social Media marketing development process6.Expectations7.Goals and objectives8.Build the team9.Overall strategy10.Budget11.Social Media policy12.Content strategy & editorial calendar13.Choose platforms14.Set-up accounts and team training15.Engaging with the community16.Monitoring and analytics 14
  15. 15. RecommendationsExpectationsIt’s essential before beginning any Social Media initiative that everyone involveddiscuss what their expectations are. These include desired results, time andresource commitments, what the team should look like, impact on the business,and how important Social Media will be in the overall marketing mix.It’s this type of discussion that will determine how to best proceed and whatsuccess will look like. Social Media is simply a set of tools, it’s what youGoals & Objectives do with them thatWhile it is sometimes difficult to apply specific sales goals to Social Media, will determine yourespecially when first starting, it’s important to put in place milestones and targets success.that can be measured and monitored.Goals can include:• Number of communities you will participate in• Number of people following/liking various pages• Website traffic from Social Media sites• Content being shared and commented on• Newsletter subscribers• Overall audience growth 15
  16. 16. RecommendationsBuild your teamYour Social Media program can consist of two teams:Administration Ensure you haveContent providers the right people inThe admin team will be responsible for setting up accounts, managing passwords, the right role.monitoring the sites for comments, responding to the community, uploadingcontent as per the content schedule and ensuring the social media policy is beingfollowed.The content providers will be responsible for creating and or sourcing content invarious media formats (text/video/photo/audio) that fit within the Social Mediastrategy. The content team will have an editorial calendar that they work within. 16
  17. 17. RecommendationsOverall StrategySocial Media is not a stand alone department, it is part of the marketingdepartment. It’s a series of tools designed to give you the opportunity tocommunicate with your audiences in an open and honest way with two-waydialogue. Social Media thatYour Social Media strategy needs to fit within your marketing strategy andcompliment it. is not connected to your sales,At this stage we suggest focusing on the following questions: marketing,Who do we want to communicate with? customer serviceHow many different communities do we want to engage with?What do we want to be known for? and humanWhat is important to each community? resources is justWhere are they getting their information now?What information is your community interested in? noise.What information does your community need that it’s not getting? 17
  18. 18. RecommendationsBudgetWhile the tools of Social Media are free, the time of your team is not. A budgetneeds to be established to determine how much time individuals will dedicate aswell as the cost to produce content. Social Media tools are free but theBudget items can include: time and• Video production/editing commitment it• Ghost writing• Professional photography takes to do it right• Prizes or giveaways have a cost• Graphic design associated to it. 18
  19. 19. RecommendationsEstablish your Social Media policiesIt’s important to let your staff know what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes totheir professional lives in the Social Media arena. It’s also important to ensureyour business has a crisis plan in place. Think about all the possible “worst case Be preparedscenarios” and how you will react quickly and professionally. becauseThis shouldn’t become a bogged down legal document, but it needs to work something canthrough what is expected and accepted. If your people don’t know what is and will happen.acceptable they will make up their own rules. We recommend that your legalrepresentation be consulted. 19
  20. 20. RecommendationsContent strategy and editorial calendarThe first step is to determine what types of media your audiences prefer. This can include video, text, audio and photos.From there determine who within your team has the ability and is comfortable producing content in the various forms.The last step is to determine what topics will be developed and in what format. From here you put this all into a calendarformat.ExampleTopic Format Author 1st proof Final Go LiveRRSP Video Joe Smith Feb 15 Feb 25 Feb 28Savings Blog Mary Jones Feb 20 March 1 March 5Mortgages Video Eric Timms March 1 March 10 March 20 20
  21. 21. RecommendationsChoose platforms and set-up accountsHere is where you determine what social tools to utilize to communicate with yourcommunities. There are numerous choices, but the most prevalent are Facebook,Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Pinterest and Flickr.We recommend starting slowly with one or two platforms, establishing someconnections, engaging them and then start sharing content. Setting up theAt this stage you will also want to do some training of your staff so they feel different tools youcomfortable connecting and sharing with your sites and recommending them totheir friends and connections. will use is one of the last steps in a successful Social Media program.Engaging the communityNow that all of the planning and training is completed and the contentdevelopment is well underway, it’s time to start engaging with your communitieson a regular basis.Some communities will be more active than others, and others may take sometime to catch on, but it’s critical to establish a consistent approach so people knowwhat to expect. 21
  22. 22. RecommendationsMonitoring and AnalysisIt’s important to know how you’re doing. While direct sales may be the ultimate Return ongoal, that will take time. You’ll want to monitor the following: investment is a big• Followers/Likes to various pages topic of• Comments and engagement• How much and how often content is shared discussion,• Amount of conversation about your brand within your communities understand what• Sharing of content• Website traffic from Social Media sites you want to• Newsletter subscribers measure and why.• Overall audience growth 22
  23. 23. About the authorsWe get approached by business owners because they are not happy with sales and growth. After ourfirst conversation we usually find out they have trouble getting things done because of one or twothings. The company has grown to a new size, or they simply do not have the right people in the rightplaces. Because of this, they are unsure about what to do next.So we do four things:1. We work with your team, to make sure you have the right people in the right roles2. We work with your company to ensure you have a clear and committed corporate vision and Neil Thorntonstrategy Trigger Strategies Direct: (905) 401-14343. We work with you and your team to better communicate with and service your market and neil@triggerstrategies.cacustomers4. And lastly we put everything into action with dates, commitments, resources and accountability.We measure results and help you drive changeThese owners tell us they do not want theories and books, they want us to get s@#! done.If that sounds like something you need, call us. Larry Anderson Trigger Strategies Direct: (905) 321-2663 23