Experts, articles, podcasts and more endlessly chatter about the need and value of getting your business on social media. But such opinions often focus on all social media everywhere. While that might work for global brands, does a local business need to be found an social media everywhere?
In this article, we break from the pack to focus our discussion on social media in Saskatchewan. Here, beyond brand promotion or seeking to better understanding customers, we believe that the fundamental question challenging Saskatchewan businesses on social media is more simple.
And that simple question is: “Are my customers even there?”
The short answer is YES. A recent Insightrix Research survey on social media activity in Saskatchewan found that 87% of us are active on social media[i], up from 83% in 2015.
And while this shouldn’t surprise us, it does somehow. We hear, and at times ourselves think, that people in Saskatchewan see themselves differently. While that may be true for some things, Saskatchewan consumers behave like many across Canada. People flock to social media for recommendations on where to get a great oil change or which local restaurant has the best lunch buffet – much like they used to ask neighbours and friends – and they also research and choose businesses by reviews and ratings for key purchases.
But, if people are now finding guidance online, and your business isn’t there, you might be overlooked by a potential customer who chooses a competitor active on social media. Being socially active helps customers identify with your business. Their friends’ activity may even encourage them to interact with you. After all, friends liking and following business can provide instant creditability, making customers more likely to buy your products and services. Or not.
So, there is value for your business to be found on social media. But where should you start? With so many platforms and increasingly niche audiences, choosing where to begin can be challenging. Having helped over 1,000 Saskatchewan businesses set up and/or manage their social media presence, we’ve found that the best place for any business to start their social media journey is with the king of social channels – Facebook. Though potentially contradictory to our thoughts on experts and their global focus above, when 77% of social media users in Saskatchewan follow a business or brand on Facebook[ii], such exposure is valuable. While 14 to 17 year olds might scoff at Facebook, they are not the key customer profile for most businesses anyway. Instead, businesses start with and are active on Facebook where much of the following, liking, reviewing and monitoring businesses is done by people. Data also shows that nearly half of social media users claim to have posted reviews on products, services, entertainment, etc.[iii], even when they aren’t customers.
So, what is my first step? Simple: claim your Facebook page. By doing this, you ensure that potential customers find a managed page with consistent branding, personal responses to reviews (which are an opportunity to improve and engage with vested customers), and owned and promoted messages that your business wants people to hear. Next, develop a social media strategy, including guidelines and a schedule of posts, to illustrate your desire to engage with and provide valuable and timely content to customers. It seems straight-forward, but is it?
Yes and no. First, understand that optimizing and updating your business’ page on Facebook is costly and involves more than time alone. If in doubt, consider selecting someone to manage your Facebook presence for you. Second, when choosing a provider always select a reputable firm that understands social media and knows Saskatchewan. This is critical: it ensures your message reaches your customers, aligns with your brand and deeply engages with Saskatchewan’s active social media public.
In conclusion, while it’s time to get social, it must be done right. But, now that I have started, how do I gain followers? How do I build loyalty? In our next article, we discuss changes to Facebook, how to build a following and more. For now, get active in and gain from social media!
To purchase access to the valuable Saskatchewan metrics we shared and more, visit https://insightrix.com/saskatchewan-media-habits-digital-insights-report/
[i] Insightrix Saskatchewan Social Media Report 2016