Monday, August 15, 2016

Why should we use social media to promote our balloon business?

Social media is all about conversation, community, and content. Today, most people have at least one social media account, with Facebook still leading the pack with 1.65 billion monthly active users. That is a 15% increase over last year, (Top 20 Facebook Statistics by Zephorial Digital Marketing.)

The current fastest growing networks are Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Linkedin. Social media networks are a major resource for both small and big businesses to promote their brand or services online.

So why should we use social media to promote our balloon business?

90% of consumers go to the internet first to learn about or to be inspired as to what they want to buy.

      • Traditional marketing is very expensive and its effectiveness is questionable, especially for small businesses. Digital marketing in many cases is free, and a targeted campaign can be relatively low cost. It does take time to administer accounts, so make sure that you use your time and resources wisely.
      • Balloons and decor are extremely visual. What better way to show off what you do really well with photographs and videos - show it to sell it!
      • It's a fantastic way to reach a large but targeted audience.
Using a variety of social media channels to get your business noticed has to be an essential part of your business marketing. However, choosing the right social media channels for you and your business is very important. For most businesses, the best approach is to handpick social media channels that make the most sense for you and your brand, rather than try to be everywhere as you don't want to spread yourself too thin.

I have looked at three of the most popular social media channels and given a short assessment of the benefits of each one.

Facebook still appears to be one of the best social media channels to use. You can use it to share photos, videos, promotions, and seasonal activities. Facebook can be more low-maintenance than other social networks.

Facebook cites these as being the main reasons why you should use Facebook for business to reach your business goals:

      • Driving online sales
      • Increasing local sales
      • Increasing brand awareness
      • Promoting your app
      • Finding leads
      • Social customer service
Looking as some of the more successful balloon related Facebook pages, it appears that regular posting is important, once a day, maybe twice occasionally, but don't be tempted to over post. Use a variety of post styles. Could show staff having fun on a job or even at a company social event, but don't use your business accounts to post personal stuff. Lifestyle photographs, even simple slogans or “saying of the day” posts, are useful in generating user interest in your page. Each type of post will generate a different reaction from your followers and it will keep your posts fun, interesting, and fresh. 
It is important to check your social media accounts every day, and respond to any comments, good or bad. 
Twitter is an interesting platform that everyone has heard of it, but not so many people know how to use it as reported recently in the press! Posting on Twitter is fairly straight forward; it is mostly text based with a strict 140-character limit, but you can add links, images, GIF's* and videos.
  *The term GIF means - Graphics Interchange Format. GIFs are image files that are compressed to reduce transfer time. The proper pronunciation of the acronym is a soft "g" sound: like JIF as defined by the Urban Dictionary.

There is a great article "Twitter for Business" Everything that you need to know in Business News Daily. It gives a very comprehensive overview of Twitter and how it works.

When starting out it's important that you target the right people to follow:

      • Your customers
      • Your business partners, suppliers, and vendors
      • Your competitors or peers
      • Industry trade organisations or professional organisations 
      • Businesses in your neighbourhood
      • Businesses run by people you know (your professional network)
I am certainly no expert when it comes to Twitter, far from it - but from what I have read, the biggest benefit of Twitter is that it allows you to follow anyone. That means you can find and follow those people who you could target as potential customers. Simply search keywords such as Event Planners, Event Coordinators, Wedding Planners or any other category or groups of people that could lead you to a great contact. A word of warning, don't try and build your "following"  list in one day as Twitter will react to your excessive activity and potentially suspend your account.

Unlike other social media channels, Pinterest has a very high percentage of female users -approximately 80%! Pinterest is a visual discovery tool helping people find ideas and inspiration making it a great place for balloon professionals to show off what they do best! Firstly, make sure that you sign up for a Pinterest business account. It's important to make this distinction because business accounts, while free like personal Pinterest accounts, give you access to features to help your business thrive on the platform, like analytics tools. Taking the time to set up quality boards is the key to success. Each board should be given a title that relates to the season or event that you are promoting and a catchy description that entices viewers to view your pins. 

Probably one of the key points that I have learned about Pinterest is that it is lifestyle-lead. Therefore, when you create a board you should fill it with a variety of different types of pins - balloon decor related photographs and re-pins from other boards that fall into the same category. This will make your board interesting and keep viewer attention for longer. Below is an example of one of my Pinterest boards - "Pink & Sparkly." On this board, I have pinned some of my designs along with other fun things like glitter, a slogan, and some fun swizzle sticks - All fun ideas that will inspire someone looking to have pink and sparkly theme party.

For a very comprehensive guide on Pinterest for Business - Everything that you need to know, click HERE

Set yourself goals
There is little point working hard on your social media presence if you are not sure what you are trying to achieve.

        • Grow a positive online community rather than have the most followers. 
        • Interact with your followers. Getting people talking about you and your "brand," is very important. iIt's the new word of mouth! People will see how you value and work with your customers.
        • Work hard to build new relationships by joining in on the conversation. Connect with new leads and expand your reach. Liking, commenting, and re-tweeting posts can help with this mission. 
It is important to ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic.

Measure your Success

If you don't bother to monitor the effectiveness of your efforts, you will have no idea if all your hard work is paying off. Every social media channel has reports that you can view. If you use a social media management system such as Hootesuites, it will help you to manage all your social media channels in one place. It will also help you to track your progress.
Also look at what your customers respond well to:
      • Posts on certain days of the week
      • Fun posts
      • Helpful party tips
      • Photos of you working on a job
      • Lifestyle photos
Experiment with the types of messages that you use to reach your customers and the ways that you reach them. Find out which ones work the best.

Fun posts always get a good reaction!

Decide what are your best opportunities to communicate

There are many key dates in the balloon and party industry calendar that we can use to highlight products and use for different sales campaigns, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's, birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and so the list goes on.
Make up a yearly calendar of events and schedule posts that relate to each of these campaigns. Start early enough to get your customers in the mood for seeing what's available and where they can buy it. Make the posts exciting, informative, and fun, with lots of variety!

Social media can be an amazing tool for business if used well and wisely. With a bit of effort, your marketing can prove to be very successful!

Good luck & happy ballooning!



Balloon Art said...

The information which you have provided is really nice and awesome. Provides some very useful insights of how social media promotion things actually for Balloon bouquets business.

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krishna reddy said...

Very nice Information this is really too useful,keep on sharing.
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Nina Athena said...

Thank you for sharing such valuable information and tips about social media. This can give insights and inspirations for us; very helpful and informative! Would love to see more updates from you in the future.

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bellacollins said...

Hey, this is incredible post. I also think that the social media marketing is great because not only it is super beneficial but will definitely be a low cost option for growth in sales. We also have a business and we have raised our awareness in the local area using smm and bulk sms campaigns. I use the business text messaging app for that.