Happy New Year Teabirds.
I hope that you celebrated the coming of 2013 in style and that you are successfully applying yourselves to your new year resolutions!
There was enough rum to sink us, a box of sticky mustaches and a couple of pirate hats, which led to an incredibly entertaining trip once you factored in spoons around a table meant for 4, tag teaming 13 locks in the pouring rain and a man overboard!
It was great to finally have some time off and be forced to slow down (literally- there is only so fast you can go on a boat with a max speed of 4mph and crammed with 10 people) and the remote places we moored (to avoid upsetting the neighbors with Gangham style dance moves on the roof at 2am) didn’t have any phone signal – bliss!
It gave me a chance to reflect upon our journey so far and look at the things I wanted to aim for in 2013. My new years resolutions this year seemed to have a lot more depending on them that the usual ‘stop eating 3 kit kat chunky’s a day’.
One of my Bluebird resolutions was to make more of our social media.
We all use social media an obscene amount and it is changing the way that humans interact, grow and learn. I find it incredible that Facebook alone has 1 billion active users – that’s 1 in 7 people and Lady Gaga has over 33 million followers on Twitter!*
It can also be a very useful and successful business tool if you have the time/inclination/effort to use it – as many ‘social media optimization’ companies have cashed in on. You can get applications that you can use to ‘schedule’ your tweets or posts for the whole year if you want. You can even buy followers.
I think you all already know my views on paying companies for these sorts of common sense things so I don’t need to get out my soap box.
Let’s look at it simply.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram + WordPress are an essential and effective channel to interact with anyone, anywhere. Friends, strangers, current customers, potential customers, others in your industry or in small businesses or just people using the platforms who may not be or never wish to be your customer!
As Mike is constantly reminding me, sales conversion is (quite crudely put) the end goal to pretty much everything you do in an online business.
However, I don’t approach Bluebird’s social media strategy with this in mind at all- mainly because it isn’t how I view the world or my life (it would be a very sad place to live in my opinion if I did) and also, and perhaps more importantly, because it simply doesn’t work that way.
Social media is all about interaction. People use it to learn new things, forge new friendships, speak to people, share their views, laugh, share, contribute. It makes perfect sense to me that people want to share what they love or laugh at with others.. it’s human nature. And social media allows this sharing to be both instant and extremely far reaching.
The thought that your words or views or pictures can be shared instantly with millions of strangers all over the world is enchanting and addicting.
So what you want to gain from your social media platforms is shares. Likes. Pins. Favourites Follows. Conversations.
You want to get people talking about you.
And you want to hear from, talk to and share the people who you like to interact with. Personally, I like brands like Innocent whose posts make me laugh. So what do I do? I share with my friends.
(Also just spent at least 30 minutes procrastinating playing with all of Innocents ‘Beat January games and posts… Buns of Steel is my current fav!)
Why on earth anyone would waste hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds paying newspapers/billboards/tv to spread their brand in print is beyond me when you can get thousands of regular, happy, social media loving, humans to do the job for free.
And the best bit… you enjoy it and they enjoy it too. It’s happiness spreading.
Granted there may be hundreds of people who read our posts who have absolutely no interest in tea, perhaps would never buy anything from us, but just thought our post was funny.
You could argue that it is a waste of time.
Well is it? I don’t think adding happiness to peoples lives even in the smallest degree can ever be a waste of my time, on a personal level. And on a business level it sets you out above the crowd as a business who is likable, honest, fun and friendly.
So with this in mind lets look at 5 simple things you can do to make more of social media for your business:
1. Join platforms that you are genuinely interested in and that you enjoy.
It isn’t supposed to be a chore or inflexible. If you like photos and pictures join Pinterest or Instagram, if you like keeping it short and sweet with strangers join Twitter etc. You can then set it up so that whatever you share on Instagram (or whichever) automatically feeds onto your Facebook page etc.
2. Get involved in a two way interaction!
The BIG one. Don’t just join, follow noone and bombard people with your pictures, comments, or even worse sales pitches and expect people to share or be interested.. because they wont.
3. If you are struggling to understand or use the platform either find a savvy person and offer tea/cake/hugs in exchange for help or YouTube/Google it!
So far I have not found a problem or puzzle that either You Tube or Google haven’t been able to answer/fix.
4. Be interesting! (And funny if you can stretch that far!)
Think about what you would like to hear about or what makes you laugh. Think about what types of things would make you take the time to share with your friends/followers. And do it.
5. Think about setting up a weekly plan of interactions along side your ad hoc posts.
Set yourself the goal of doing something regularly so that people expect it and look forward to it. Perhaps a competition every Friday or even as simple as sharing some things you found interesting that week.
As part of my new years resolutions I have set out a weekly plan of interactions for Bluebird:
Happy Mondays: Obviously the day that gets the most grief for being ‘the worst day of the week’. So we will find something funny or cool that will make you smile every Monday to set you up for the week.
Teabird Tweet Up Tuesdays: We will tweet or share our favourite comments from the week. Tea related or not.
FBT (Freebe Tea) Friday: Free stuff on a Friday.. honestly can’t think of a better way to end the week than with a free cup of tea!
The Nest’s Big Thing: We will share our Big Thing of the week, be it a some new music, a place, an independent retailer we’ve met or just our favourite pair of socks.
It may seem simple, and it is. And it might seem a bit daft, which it is. You might also ask ‘what on earth has some of that got to do with tea?’ and the answer would be: not a lot.
But the next time someone talks to them about tea they might mention us. They might just be saying ‘ I don’t like tea or know anything about it but someone shared a funny joke by this tea company with me last week and they seem really cool, maybe check them out.’ The important thing is they will be starting a conversation about us. And conversations can sometimes go viral.
We are all humans and we like to laugh and be happy and most of all we like to share these things with other humans. It’s basic human nature. It’s basic business sense.
Love + Tea
*Facebook stats taken from: http://newsroom.fb.com/Key-Facts
Twitter stats taken from: http://twittercounter.com/pages/100