Social Media Serving the Service Industries

People tend to make decisions either deliberately or heedlessly. Having said that, external factors usually influence our choices. One of these is the social media. As a matter of fact, survey shows that 92 percent of consumers have confidence in social media in terms of digital marketing and advertising.

In Australia, social media serving the service industries include the media and telecoms, art and recreation, accommodation and food, and health and social care. As per the Sensis Social Media report, businesses in these sectors use social media mostly for developing their brand and image, and in reaching loyal and prospective customers.

Social Media Serving the Service Industries

Companies that embrace social media are said to be more optimistic regarding their business outlook, have a more dynamic market, have better profitability, and a stronger workforce output. One of the few reasons why enterprises in the service industries have good sales performance is because their services & rates can be easily accessed on their social media accounts.

Despite the overwhelming advantages that social media presents to businesses, statistics show that 52 percent of small businesses, 46 percent medium-sized businesses, and 21 percent of large businesses in the service industry are not on social media. For those making an effort to make an online presence, Hootsuite says that their primary obstacle is content creation.

According to Marketing Mag, Telstra is a good example of how businesses in the service sector should use social media. In fact, they are among the most popular and the most active companies in social media. As per the report, the company utilises Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube differently. There is a platform for customer service concerns, for general information and promotions, for business and career pursuits, and for content on the company’s technology.

Other Australian businesses, such as those focused in food, fashion and education, have various takes on social media. For instance, restaurants in the country are hell-bent on coming up with viral campaigns and engaging posts on social media. While in the fashion world, designers are launching new styles and clothing lines on these online platforms as content travels faster here. Moreover, universities and colleges rely on paid and organic advertising on encouraging more campus visits and in increasing their student applications.

Indeed, social media serving the service industries are helping in getting more customers on the door and in keeping them happy and contented. This being said, one should use the right mixture of commitment, care and effort for companies to acquire the benefits of social media.


SEO & Social Media ~ a Powerful Case Study

Australian companies, for the most part, lag far behind international companies when it comes to both social media and SEO.

What about the ROI they cry, terrified of doing even just one tweet.

Well, we’re living proof of Social Media ROI, and one of many examples is when Sally from Aussie Farmstays contacted us after seeing us on Twitter!

As Sally already had nearly 11,000+ followers on Twitter and over 3000 fans on her Facebook page, she approached us to first concentrate on her Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and as she’d been thinking of getting SEO done for quite a while, having her jump onboard our 12-month program was a dream – good to be approached by people who are self-convinced – ready to go.

the outback tours australia sydney holidays travel blue mountains

At the 6-month point we achieved for her:

– A quadrupling of organic traffic.

– Significant improvements across her 20 most crucial search phrases.

– Organic presence on the first page of Google so much stronger that Sally’s been able to reduce her Google Adwords Spend by 50%.

This graph shows the massive boost in momentum she has gained from our SEO work – the numbers on the left show unique users per month:

seo case studies sydney australia search engine optimisation

The improvements in her Organic Rankings, from first data recordings taken on 1st November 2011 to the recordings taken on 12th April 2012, are as follows:

Abercrombie Caves Tours – from #39 to #3.

Jenolan Caves Tour – from #38 to #8.

Mudgee Food & Wine Tour – from #31 to three results on the first page – #4, #5 and #6.

Mudgee Wine Tours – from not being seen on the first ten pages – to #9 and #11.

Adventure Tours Australia – from #101 to #10.

Australian Outback Tours – from #90 to #11.

Farmstay Australia – from #24 to #6.

Blue Mountains Day Tours – from #65 to #11.

Horse Riding Blue Mountains – from #21 to #10.

Farmstay Australia – from #24 to #6.

Outback Experience Tour – from #68 to #4 out of 23 million results.

Tours Sydney Australia – from not being seen on the first ten pages – to #11 out of 35 million results.

Adventure Tours Australia – from not being seen on the first ten pages – to #10 from 9.7 million results.

Click on this graph to see close-up how search results have improved for specific search terms over a 6-month period – the numbers on the left show Google rankings – this is a graph where figures heading south is a (very) good thing:

seo rankings graph sydney australia

Social Media Expansion

Sally has just recently started on Pinterest where her Blue Mountains page is set to be significantly expanded to take advantage of the global fascination with this exotic region of Australia.

Website Videos

Sally already has a fantastic array of high-resolution website videos that have been published on Youtube and embedded in her website. They are beautiful storytelling videos with great Australian folk music, interesting characters and inspiring Australian landscapes, all filmed on her tours – to view them all, click here.

Future Targets

Through recent analysis we’ve now SEO-ed her Contact Us page to begin to rank for the highly competitive search phrase The Outback.

That one may take years – but it’s the kind of long-term strategy that progressive, media-savvy companies such as Aussie Farmstays are willing to make to invest in their business five years from now.

Interested in taking an Aussie Bush Adventure? – Email Sally via: sally <at> aussiebushadventures.com.au

And for more info on our SEO and Social Media programs and/or training, email Stewart Dawes info@sydneysocialmediaworkshops.com.au

 


Travel Industry Social Media

Blue Mountains tour operator SALLY BRAY writes very honestly about her experiences as a small business operator who personally engages with social media …

Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures is a boutique tour company running tours from Sydney to the Blue Mountains and into the Aussie bush west of the Mountains.

Established in 2007, the business was understandably at first slow to attract the international visitors it caters for , since it is difficult to market directly overseas as a startup, and in the travel industry tour companies need a reputation to be represented by overseas agents.

After a slow first few years the company slowly gained traction in its market. The experiences offered on tours, farmstays, caves tours, wine tasting, horse riding, Blue Mountains attractions, wildlife parks and general sightseeing in the bush were popular with clients and the tours were ranked highly by those who travelled.

But the challenge was to spread the word further and faster to increase the customer base to a sustainable level.

As the owner operator of Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures I was keen to try anything that could increase the number of customers I attract and the number of tours I run.

Everyone was talking about Social Media, so I took the plunge. The first site I joined was LinkedIn. LinkedIn – a professional networking site – supposedly gives individuals in related fields the opportunity to connect, and pursue business together. I know people who swear by its benefits, especially those in Human Resources and anyone looking for a job. But personally I have found LinkedIn to be fairly useless for connecting with the kinds of professionals who could be of benefit to me (eg travel agents or wholesalers who are selling tour product.)

Then I tried Facebook and set up fan page for the business. I struggled to attract fans (apart from all my friends) so I paid for ads.

Facebook Ads are very focussed. You can choose the gender, age and interests of those you want to see your ad and you can choose to pay as little or as much as you want.

From the ads I attracted 1000s of fans and I routinely get more fans who find me organically (I stopped paying for the ads a long time ago) and every post I make attracts lots of Likes.

So has Facebook been worthwhile?

I’m still deciding. I know I have had one booking from a client who found me directly on Facebook. But I don’t know if my page has influenced any other client’s decisions or been seen favourably by anyone who may have been seeking to do business with me. I don’t spend a lot of time on the page, with one good photographic post per day at the most, so I don’t feel I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy, but the jury is still out on whether it’s all worth it.

Then there’s twitter. Personally I don’t know why people bother with Twitter, but they do and they’re possibly people I can market to, so I tweet at least once a day and follow people so they’ll follow me back.

I have over 16,000 followers, and I’ve had interest in my tours generated from the site. I do not know if I have had any bookings. Thankfully the whole twitter process doesn’t take a lot of my time, because if it did I’d give up.

And most recently I have made a Pinterest site. I am yet to be convinced that it has any value. I haven’t seen any yet, but as with the other sites, I’ll keep chipping away at it, as long as it doesn’t take up my valuable time.

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all generate hits on my websites, but I don’t know if any of those hits have led to sales. The three social media icons look good on my websites and a changing scroll of posts, tweets and images helps my websites to look fresh and up to date. So I’ll persevere with all three and see where they take me.

Unless I start having so many tours to run that I have no time for social media.

Aussie Farmstay Websites:

Blue Mountains Tours

Tours From Sydney

Outback Australia Tour

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Financial Education

Can social media help with financial education?

Such are the questions being posed by Alisdair and Zoe at Future Map as they chart new courses for Australian businesses interested in staff development.

Future Map provide financial education employee benefits training programs in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and regional Australia. Corporate wellness programs with financial literacy on the agenda helping employee engagement and retention.

They help with:
1. employee wellbeing programs
2. employee benefits
3. employee engagement
4. employee retention
5. remuneration and benefits
6. workplace productivity
7. employee financial benefits
8. financial wellbeing
9. staff reward and recognition programs
10. corporate super

And are able to assist with:

salary sacrificing
super contributions
financial literacy
improving team culture
capacity building
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
team building
communicating employee benefits
financial education
personal development

As well as:

talent war issues
team bonding
leadership
conference speaking
employee off-site support
benefits uptake
employee insurance packages
goal setting
personal finances

Contact Alisdair on 0405 138 613 for more info.

Key Links:

Most Searched Terms: social media training sydney, financial education melbourne, employee programs perth, social media for business australia.

 


Why You Should Outsource Your Social Media Management

CLAIRE FELICES is a Sydney Social Media Manager who has established knowledge and strategic groundwork that can help drive social media campaigns to the top. An expert in her field, she has led successful projects in the course of her career. In this interview, she shares her insights on how outsourcing social media management help boost your brand.

Tell me a bit about your expertise.
I do a post every weekday whether I am supplied content or not as being consistent is crucial. Sourcing relevant content to post is one facet at being a good social media manager.

Do you personally use social media?
I personally use Facebook to keep up with what my family and friends are up to – news, goings on and mostly just to chat – even additional work instructions are better sent there than on email.

Why should a company hire an outsourced social media than doing it in-house?
First thing to really consider in outsourcing is the fact that you will be hiring a trained and qualified professional who knows exactly what they are doing. Also, employing an outsourcing company frees up more of a company’s time as social media management takes a lot of it! You have to produce quality content, interact, monitor feedbacks and respond to comments. And let’s not forget that there are so many social media platforms out there – Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest just to name a few. You simply just don’t have all the time to manage all of your social media activities so it makes sense to outsource and hire a professional to do it.

Business owners though must engage in it fully to get the right beat and to not be left behind or be thought of just conforming to the internet demand.

Does it cost more to hire an outsourced social media manager than trying to do it in-house?
One would think so, but unless the in-house office junior is actually really media savvy, resourceful and knowledgeable about your product, it is more cost effective to outsource. It is a mistake to think that just by creating a page, a profile or showing up in Google is all that’s needed to compete and make a ripple out of this vast internet pool.

What experience do you have in this field?
I came about social media by accident really. In the early days of social networks (Friendster, hi-5, MySpace and even Facebook) people were online just to spend a little time exploring the possibilities. I have been a blogger, a gamer, a transcriptionist and a master word-twister. This last one is what paved the way for me to be a “twitterista”, as a Facebook friend of mine which shall remain nameless, asked me if I would like to be trained in the social media arts. And the rest they say is history.

How does a business or brand benefit from outsourcing social media management?
Social media has upgraded the way companies do business. One great benefit of outsourcing social media management is having someone guard and continuously update the daily activities for you whilst providing captivating content and efficiently handling responses as well as keeping up with the ever-evolving social media platform.

How engaged are you in social media conversations?
Just as every industry differ, each business has a pulse all its own. Depending on what program the client is in, we make sure that their social media platforms are accurate, up-to-date and informative.

How do you measure success in social media?
If you are still in business after 3 years and have clients that have stayed with you for that long, then you can consider yourself a success!

What’s the most important thing a Social Media manager should be doing?
Be sensible, responsible and above all maintain a great sense of humour.

How successful are you in your own social media networks?
It’s quite ironic that aside from the occasional tweets and pictures, I seldom ever post anything using my own personal networks. Getting paid to like, comment, add and post kind of spoils you. One tends to stay offline when it is no longer work related very much unlike when I first started out.

To contact Claire, send her an email via claire@seotherapy.com.au


Social Media Training: What Your Company Needs to Know About Social Media in 2014

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Social media has taken the world by storm and it looks like it will only get hotter in 2014. With the continuously changing and advancing technology, it’s important to look ahead and see what the future holds for social media in order to get on board. Here’s what you need to know and look forward to in 2014:

Relevant Content Is and Will Be a Requirement
We should all know this by now – content is King, plain and simple! Creating a consistently solid and high-quality, original content with a significant value will keep you on top and businesses that are still into spammy SEO or link building techniques to drive traffic will not survive. Social content is the major social media trend that will be a necessity for 2014.

Instagram and Snapchat Will Reach New Heights
With Instagram and Snapchat’s current popularity, there’s no doubt these two apps are going to be major players in 2014.
Instagram being the fastest growing network with 150 million users seems to be where people have gone now and has a steady lead among other apps. SnapChat on the other hand is a big hit with the millenials for contents literally vanishing seconds after being received. Keep an eye on those two as they will surely rock 2014.

The Rise of Micro Videos
Micro videos have made quite an impact this year and this will continue in 2014. Platforms like Twitter’s Vine app and Instagram’s video sharing feature have been attracting mobile-savvy customers and are proving to be the best way to capture attention and interest of consumers. Millennials love easy to watch videos and it’s intriguing to see how marketers will integrate powerful stories through videos in just 15 seconds or less.

A Mobile Strategy Becomes Highly Essential
Admit it, we are extremely attached to our phones. Technology has changed the way we view and use them – it is not merely just a device but a way to contact, express and share anything to the world. Mobile is slowly overtaking desktop usage and is expected to surpass it in the years to come that’s why businesses should incorporate mobile into all facets of their business in order not to be left behind.

Better Customer Service
The power of “social customer service” is highly important to any business nowadays as word of mouth marketing continues to speed up through social media. Timely resolutions to question and complaints made online, particularly on Facebook and Twitter are expected by consumers, and brands that don’t respond are pushing their current and potential customers away.

 


Social Media Management: An Interview with Glen Fredericks

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Maitland & Newcastle-based social media manager Glen Fredericks reveals to CHRISTINE BUHAY how he made a successful career change into the world of social media. He shares his views on social media management for Facebook and Instagram in particular …

Could you tell us a bit of a background about you?

While I had a trade background – I was a fitter machinist – I’d found myself reading a lot while operating CNC machines -computer numerically controlled lathes, sometimes the cycle would go for ten or more minutes. It may not be the most illustrious of starting points, but most of the reading materials in a typical metal engineering workshop were men’s magazines – typically People and Picture Magazines. And they’d often have a call out of submissions – humorous short stories, letters to the editor, jokes that sort of thing.

This led to me writing. I’d send in 700 to 1,200 word short stories – depending on the magazine – which paid up to $400 if successful. I had a lot of stories being published in the mid to late 90s. One of the magazines had a contest with the prize being a brand new fridge. 100 words or less, why fridges are better than women. My submission clocked in at exactly 99 words and took me less than 15 minutes to write. Given the cost of a fridge and that it took me just 15 minutes to have it written, printed and stuffed into an envelope, it meant my writing was worth about $4,000 an hour.

Given my creative bent it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I found myself looking for a career change, but I prepared myself for it by doing a variety of TAFE and other courses while I worked as a fitter or a machinist. Desktop publishing and Digital Arts & Media at TAFE and some short courses through the WEA Hunter – Writing For Children, Cartooning for Pleasure & Profit and Freelance Journalism are a few of the courses I threw myself into.

I eventually found myself in web design, and later publishing articles online and earning money through the likes of AdSense and Amazon with contextual ads and product placement.

I progressed from web design to content writing because in the process of freelancing, I’d spend far too much time trying to educate people on the benefits of having a website or online promotion. A lot of my articles would be teaching people how to do it themselves. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’d then do a course in Training & Assessment which led to work as a trainer at an RTO, and also picking up work as a part-time TAFE teacher in web design. When that teaching gig ended I went back to school, so to speak, and did an Advanced Diploma of Music Business. That opened some interesting doors for me even while as a student or perhaps I should say, especially while I was a student. Given my experience and qualifications and my answers to the questions, I was often invited to the front of the class to take over on occasion.

That was in 2012. In 2013 in semester 1, I did what’s called “Selective Study” at TAFE, picking and choosing a variety of individual units and pulling together evidence of “recognition of prior learning” and submitting it for advanced standing. I knew how the system worked. That’s not to imply that I played the system, but I was able to pull apart the units of competency and address each and every element and performance criteria and the critical aspects for assessment.

What that meant was that I was handing in work that I would have wanted handed to me as a teacher. Given the past experience it wasn’t hard to gather the evidence required to pass each unit.

Now I’m working full time for a Barbeques Galore franchise, doing a variety of creative tasks, a large chunk of that being social media.

It’s a very unique position. The owners of the franchise don’t own just one, but two Barbeques Galore stores. I didn’t know it before working there but about half of the Barbeques Galore stores around Australia are company-owned, the other half are franchise. I was very fortunate to find a position vacant being advertised – on their Facebook Page it turned out – for the role, which has evolved and grown in the last six months that I’ve been there. The owners are very pro-active and think outside the box. They knew enough to know  they needed to invest in creating a role that would see them expand as a business. They don’t just own a barbeque franchise store, they’ve also released a classy-looking barbeque cook book. I got excited during the interview to hear just what they had planned over the coming months and even years.

What is your focus on social media? What social platforms do you use and why?

You’ve likely heard it before about content being king, and it is. Whether its purpose is to entertain, educate or inform, a real effort must be put into the way it’s written if it’s to be communicated effectively.

Whether it’s publishing lengthy articles at Squidoo, HubPages or Zujava, making a post on Facebook, or keeping within 140 characters for a tweet, you need to bring your A game. Not every single post will be a home run, but you do have to be consistent.

Depending on what I’m doing for myself or a former client, but now with my employer, I’ll use a combination of Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and whatever else might be appropriate to reaching the intended audience.

For you, what are the key ingredients of a successful social media strategy?

Mixing things up – there’s going to be things I know are going to work, but if I relied on those as my only moves I’d be predictable and boring.

And as spontaneous as ideas can be, I like to write them down and think them through without them being in text field of the status update. I like to make sure my message is clear and free of smelling pistakes.

Don’t post all your best stuff too quickly. Pace yourself. Spread it out. Too often I see someone post three updates within an hour and then there’s silence for a week. That content should have been rationed to post every second day.

What would you say is the best social media platforms to mix?

Definitely Facebook and Instagram.

What is a typical day in your life like?

Every day can be completely different than the one before it. But to break it down to what may happen, it could include any of the following:

* Graphic design
Design of flyers, business cards, certificates vouchers; adding text to photos and images for use on online media; design of logos, packaging, and merchandise.
* Web design
Setting up web hosting, creation of websites and uploading of websites. For instance, www.plumbinggalore.com.au
* Social media
Management of social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube; investigate other social media platforms for their suitability for the businesses.
* Photography
Taking photos for print, social media and online sales.
* Video
Shooting, editing and uploading video footages.
* Copywriting
Writing sales copy for online ads, social media posts and press releases.
* Online sales
Listing products on Ebay, Gumtree, Facebook Groups and Pages; interacting with the customers when feedback or clarification is needed.

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When not exploring the wilds of social media, Glen Fredericks is working on a children’s book series. Visit his Amazon author page under the nom de plume (Glen Allen Stadler).

 

 

 

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