Opportunities for student entrepreneurs within the social media industry

We're pleased to bring you this really valuable blog from Matthew Anderson of Montage Communications, explaining how you can up your digital marketing game.

The world of digital marketing, in fact the whole job market, can be daunting. For most graduates starting out in the world of work the career path may not be clear. Well hopefully this blog can open your eyes to job prospects within the industry or how you may best use social media for your enterprise. Social media marketing provides huge opportunities for businesses to reach and interact with their target audiences quickly and efficiently. In fact once established, people will come looking for you rather than you trying to find your audience. As a result the number of social media marketing agencies that are around these days should come as no surprise! The sheer scale of the opportunities available to businesses on social media is mind bending, however identifying where your audience is likely to interact will give you a helpful start. If your audience isnt typically on Facebook, then why waste your time and resources here? Instead focus solely where you are likely to make the most impact with your audience. Blogging is a great opportunity for businesses to increase awareness and in turn generate more business, in fact 64% of businesses that have an active blog get more leads than those which do not blog. If your blog contains information that people will find helpful, then they are likely to share it, the more that your blogs are shared the greater the potential for more business leads. Snapchat is a relatively new platform in the world of social media, however its size does not represent its age - there are on average 760 million photos sent each day, whilst storiesare now getting over 1 billion views daily! If your target audience are teenagers or young adults, snapchat could work for you. Social media is not new however, this year Facebook celebrated its 11th year, whilst video giant YouTube turned 10. And it is not only kids, teens and young adults that have profiles on different networks - internet use more than tripled for those aged 65 and over between 2006 and 2013, with technology and internet usage as high in those aged 50+ as it is in 30-49 year olds. But it is all well and good knowing about all of the different social networks, but that wont make your business a success. Below we identify how to make social media successful for your business.

How to make social media successful for businesses

Social media can be a hugely powerful tool for businesses if used correctly, it can generate new business no matter what industry you work in. Those who rubbish social media and suggest that it will not work for them or their business are probably not doing it right!

The social media sales funnel gives a good general overview of how social media is utilised in the decision making process. Firstly the largest area and top of the sales funnel is awareness or reach. You need to make sure that your target audience is aware of your product or brand, if the levels of awareness are low then the likelihood of using social as a sales channel is greatly diminished. Posts on social media can reach huge numbers of users in a short period of time, as such it is a great tool for raising the profile of your business. The second step down the sales funnel is interest. If you can see that people are talking about your business then it shows that there is likely a genuine interest in what it is you have to offer. If people are not mentioning you then once again the chance of making sales on social are low. The third step down the funnel is that of consideration. This is similar to interest, but with a bit more of a genuine thought process behind it. At this stage people may be making product enquiries, if this is the case then you need to make sure you respond promptly as this could well be the beginning of a purchase. The next phase of the funnel is intent, if people are showing a genuine intent to buy they may be signing up to your email list or registering for product updates. Intent is crucial, without serious purchase intent the chance of making the sale is limited. The penultimate section of the social media sales funnel is evaluation, people will be looking for reviews of your business or product. If they find what they are looking for it will likely lead to the final phase, that of making the purchase. More than 88% of consumers will check online reviews/comments before they commit to making a purchase! Once somebody has made a purchase it is important that you do not then ignore them on social media. Social customer service is huge and people expect quick responses when they have an issue. Losing existing customers could easily damage your business reputation, especially if they voice their opinions on social media. To truly make social media a success for your business it is imperative that your social media goals and tactics are part of your larger business mission. Making the mistake of starting with social media tactics will inevitably lead to less than desired performance from your social media efforts. Further resources of interest.

Do take a look at my presentation that I did for University College Suffolk (UCS) on this subject below: The following articles are well worth reading for any budding entrepreneur to help make sure that you dont get social wrong!

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