Digital Know How

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Making the most of social media

Social mediaThere are 2.3 billion active social media users worldwide. Every single day there are over 500 million tweets, 4.5 billion Facebook likes and 95 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram.* Each of these provides your business with a cost-effective opportunity to build meaningful relationships with customers.


  • The benefits
  • How to do it
  • Case Study
  • Useful links
 

The benefits

Develop brand loyalty

Turn customers into brand advocates by engaging with them regularly through social media. As interactive, real-time platforms, social media sites allow you to build relationships with your followers in a way that's natural and personable, rather than as a faceless, corporate entity.

Provide better customer service

Improve customer satisfaction by responding to complaints and queries directly, in a public setting. When done right, this helps build a positive brand reputation, establish a loyal customer base and reduce strain on telephone support.

Increase sales/donations

Promote your products and services in a social setting, remembering to avoid the 'hard sell.' Social media is most effective when people naturally come to the decision to pay or donate to your company because they have built a positive relationship and trust your brand.

Cost effective

The majority of social media websites are free to use, making this a cost-effective way to engage with your target customers and promote your brand.

How to do it

Select Relevant Social Media Sites

Review the various social media sites available and determine which ones will benefit your company. Consider your organisation's objectives for social media and the amount of time/resource you have available to manage different social profiles. Popular sites include:

  • Facebook - The most popular social networking website, with over 1.7 billion users, Facebook allows users to share updates, images and links with their 'friends' as well as receive updates from their 'friends' and whichever brands they 'like'.
  • Twitter - Twitter allows users to share short, 140-character messages with their followers. Users see a stream of messages written by those they've chosen to follow and can participate in popular, or 'trending' conversations topics that are marked with hashtags.
  • Google+ - Similar to Facebook, Google+ allows users to share updates and content with their followers. Unlike Facebook, Google+ is linked to Google search, helping provide users with more relevant search results that are personalised according to their Google+ activity.
  • Pinterest - A social image-sharing platform, Pinterest allows users to upload and share their original photos or images, or ones they encounter across the web. It's a popular platform for sharing inspirational and aspirational images, such as DIY tutorials, recipes, travel photos, famous quotes and compelling infographics.
  • Linkedin - Designed for professional networking, Linkedin allows users to connect with potential business contacts, as well as search for candidates and advertise jobs. The network also has industry specific groups, where members with similar interests can participate in discussions and get support. For example, Lloyds Bank hosts a group called "Business Strategies Worth Sharing", which is aimed at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide business support, networking and research insights about the market.
  • Instagram- Having recently reached 500 million active users it’s unsurprising Instagram presents a great opportunity for organisations to interact with new and existing customers. This photo and video sharing network is the ideal platform to build your brand.
    If that doesn’t convince you, research has shown that engagement on Instagram is 10x higher than Facebook.*

Develop a strategy

Once you decide which social media sites to use, decide on the purpose that each one will serve your company. For example, will you use it to talk to real customer, respond to queries or show expertise in your field?

  • Determine how quickly you'll respond to complaints/queries - Acceptable response times vary depending on the specific social media platform, but it's good practice to acknowledge a customer comment within 24 hours.
  • Develop a tone that's appropriate for social media - Social media users usually respond better to brands that communicate in a way that isn't directly promotional or formal. Avoid sales pitches and focus primarily on engaging with your followers.

Share engaging content

Start conversations with your followers by sharing quality content (i.e. content that is useful, entertaining, informative and newsworthy) via social media. Consider sharing the following:

  • Blog posts from your company blog
  • Relevant posts from your business partners
  • News articles related to your organisation/sector
  • Videos
  • Images

Use tools to schedule updates and monitor feedback

Use online tools, such as Buffer, Hootsuite and SproutSocial, to schedule social media updates and to stay on top of communication. These tools will allow you to:

  • Strong alerts when someone Tweets at you or writes on your Facebook wall.
  • Schedule social media updates during the optimum times for engagement.

Use social media securely

Include social media in your overarching IT security policy to ensure staff use it responsibly and to reduce the chances of someone hacking into your accounts.

Please note that these are just examples of the types of social media sites and social media management tools available and Lloyds Banking Group does not endorse the services they provide.

*2016 Social Media Industry Index

Case Study

Fairy Godmothers’ Pamper Palace

“We have more than 5,000 likes on Facebook – it’s growing every today - and we are using it for recruitment too” – Co-founder, Rebecca Warwick.

www.fairygodmotherspamperpalace.uk
Facebook: @FairyGodMothersNw
Twitter: @Pamperprinny
Instagram: @fairy_godmothers2015

About Fairy Godmothers’ Pamper Palace

Fairy Godmothers Pamper Palace is a one-stop pamper party shop in Greater Manchester that hosts celebrations for all ages including children’s birthday parties, hen parties, prom queen parties, baby showers and more. The parties include make-up, nails and hair styling, as well as food and entertainment.

The firm was launched as a mobile business in 2014 by trained make-up artist Rebecca Warwick and qualified beauty therapist Jodie Clough, and they moved into their first premises in Stand Lane, Radcliffe, in 2015.

Rebecca credits social media, and in particular Facebook, with driving the success of the business right from the start. She said: “Jodie and I run the Facebook page @FairyGodmothersNw together and it is our main source of business. We have Twitter and Instagram accounts too.”

But Rebecca says that, while Facebook is the first point of contact for most customers, they still want the reassurance of being able to visit the company’s website too. She said: “I think that having a well-designed website as well gives them the confidence that we are an established and professional business. “We went from hosting two to three parties a month to seven or eight a week, so it more than paid for itself very quickly.”

Success Online

As a result of being online, Fairy Godmothers’ Pamper Palace has benefited from the following:

  • An active Facebook following of over 50,000
  • A ten-fold increase in bookings by establishing a website and Facebook page
  • Stronger brand presence, with greater audience reach across and beyond the North West
  • Accelerated long-term expansion plans, and are able to consider moving to larger premises and franchising the brand across the country.

 

Rebecca commented on what digital has meant for their growth:
“We have built a really strong brand in this area and we have proved that the formula works. “I would definitely recommend franchisees follow our Facebook model. It’s a brilliant way to share pictures instantly, achieve word of mouth publicity and find new staff.”

Useful links

For further information about using social media, you can visit pages listed below.

Clicking on these links will take you to pages on other websites.

Social media:
www.enterpriseitguide.com/social-media/  

Social media for entrepreneurs:
www.enterpriseitguide.com/social-media/social-media-for-entrepreneurs/  

Promoting your business using blogs:
www.enterpriseitguide.com/social-media/promoting-your-business-using-blogs/  

Facebook for business:
www.facebook.com/business
www.enterpriseitguide.com/social-media/facebook-for-business/  

Twitter for business:
business.twitter.com/
www.enterpriseitguide.com/social-media/twitter-for-business/  

Google+ for business:
www.google.com/intl/en_uk/+/business/  

Pinterest for business:
business.pinterest.com/  

Linkedin for business networking:
www.enterpriseitguide.com/social-media/using-linkedin-for-business-networking/  

Instagram for business:
http://blog.business.instagram.com/  

Facebook also provides a lot of additional information for those looking to take advantage of its opportunities for businesses and organisations. You may find the following links useful:

Facebook marketing:
www.facebook.com/Marketing  

Facebook classroom:
www.facebook.com/classroomuk  

Facebook education - downloadable guides:
www.facebookstudio.com/education/resources/5  

Get certified by Google at The Digital Garage with free online courses:
https://digitalgarage.withgoogle.com/certification  

*https://www.brandwatch.com/2016/03/96-amazing-socialmedia-statistics-and-facts-for-2016/

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