Social media 101 for small business owners in Thailand
You want your business to grow.
You want to reach new heights of profitability and success and get an edge on your competitors. But first you need to solve every business's biggest challenge: how to acquire new customers?
This is where social media comes in.
You are probably already using Facebook to share updates on your life in Thailand and keep updated with your friends back home, but did you know that Facebook now drives more traffic to media websites than Google?
The good news is that your business can gain a share of this traffic if you can get a grasp on the basics. Below I will run you through a short primer for small business owners in Thailand.
Lesson 1: Speak your customers’ language
Understanding your customers’ needs is vital to the success of any marketing campaign. This is especially true on social media where you’re able to tailor your marketing efforts to connect with very specific users.
The first step, then, is to ask yourself, “Who are my existing and potential customers? Are they expats, tourists or Thai? Are they housewives, new grads or high powered executives?”
Understanding who your customers are enables you to craft content around topics that are designed to appeal directly to this target audience, whether you’re communicating with your customers in a blog, advertisement or in a Facebook post.
You should try to engage with topics that are trending with your target audience, and offer free advice related to your industry: exactly what this article is designed to do, in fact.
As for the tone of your content, it should reflect the nature of your business, while keeping in mind the personality of your customers. For example, if you’re a tax firm, your tone should be professional yet friendly—similar to content you’d find in The Guardian or Forbes.
Lesson 2: Post a variety of content
Many small business owners new to social media will fall for a common trap: they’ll only post a single type of content, specifically sharing articles found in the news.
Whether it’s articles, photos or video, posting only one type of content is sure to bore your followers, resulting in a fan page with little to no engagement.
To keep your page fresh and interactive, the style of content you post should vary. Every week include a mix of photos, videos, articles and even infographics. Doing this will create an exciting page that appeals to all followers—from those who prefer to read to those who’d rather watch a video.
The most important point, however, is to post content created by your business wherever possible. The reason behind this is simple: if you post content created by someone else, clicking on it will bring your followers to a third party site.
The goal is to get your followers to your site.
Once they’re there, you’ll have an opportunity to capture their email address or incite them to purchase your products or services.
Lesson 3: Hang out where your customers are
You see it everywhere you go in Thailand. Whether you’re at a local market, Siam Paragon or taking a day trip to the beach, people are constantly posing for pictures and documenting their lives.
Where do you think these pictures end up? Inevitably they’re uploaded to the most popular hangouts in Thailand— Facebook and Instagram.
Whatever demographic you’re trying to reach in Thailand, you can be fairly certain that they’re on social media.
This is certainly true for retail companies, but even the professional services companies we work with are able to achieve excellent results with a focused approach to increasing their brand awareness through social media.
Of course, social media activity alone will not guarantee business growth. It’s essential that when customers get to your website they are greeted by a professional logo, as well as a clean, well-written, and regularly updated website.
Lesson 4: Obey the law of givers gain
if you want to expedite your business growth, it’s important to earn potential customers’ trust. You can do this by providing valuable content for free.
BNI members are no stranger to this concept: givers gain. Givers gain is essentially like the law of karma—meaning the more you give, the more people will give back (or reward you with business).
If your site establishes itself as a reliable source for entertaining news and information about your area of expertise, audiences will learn to associate you with leadership in your field. When they trust and look up to you for guidance, they’ll increasingly follow your social media accounts as well, letting you further imprint your brand on their consciousness. All your efforts in these areas will make it much more likely they’ll come to you when they’re ready to buy.
Lesson 5: Be a chameleon with your content
It is well known within the marketing industry that ads work best when people don’t know they’re looking at ads. By regularly providing your customers valuable content in the form of blogs, articles and social media updates, you position yourself as an authority.
And when this free content solves a painful problem, you’ll win their trust, making them more likely to purchase your services.
On social media, this same rule applies: avoid looking like an ad.
In other words, we recommend you be like a chameleon on social media. Your content should blend in with all the pictures of fun, friends and food that are already appearing in your potential customer’s news feed. But how do you accomplish that on Facebook?
Keep your posts light and fun. Aim to entertain, inspire or provide helpful content that solves a problem. Also, make sure to come off as human as possible. People want to do business with other people. If you come off too impersonal or sound like a “business pitching a product”, you’re sure to be ignored in the News Feed.
Now that you got the fundamentals down, you should be all set, right? Well, not completely.
All social media networks enable you to gather valuable insights about your customer base. For example, Facebook gathers data about its users’ age, gender, interests and other characteristics. You can then use this information to target your ideal customer demographics— resulting in a higher ROI on your advertising and time spent on the platform.
In the next article we’ll teach you how to leverage social data. Until then, we encourage you to create a business page and start posting, following the above lessons.
If you’re looking to grow your business, we invite you to visit our weekly networking meetup at the Grand Sheraton Hotel Sukhumvit in Asoke: BNI Universal. As a BNI member, you’ll join a team of over a dozen business owners, just like you, who refer new clients to each other on a weekly basis.
About the Author
David Norcross is Managing Director of Lexicon Communications and a member of BNI Universal.
Lexicon is a full-service digital marketing agency in Bangkok which also provides a range of on-brand content, ranging from visual design to content writing and corporate branding. Visit Lexicon at www.lexiconthai.com
Lexicon are members of BNI Universal. We’re holding an open day on 6th June at the Sheraton Grande, Sukhumvit and if you’re the owner of an SME and looking to grow your business, we’d love for you to attend. You can learn more and register for the event here.