Is your social media program stalled? Not even sure where to start? Here are a few tips to concentrate your focus, and help you get your small business social media presence up to speed fast:
1. It’s Okay to Start Small There’s no doubt that social media can seem overwhelming; especially when you already have a lot on your plate running your own business! Done right, though, social media can provide a powerful return on investment by marketing your business, while also building ever-important levels of engagement.
Social media for business is a highly effective way to deepen your relationship with current clients, and help you connect directly with potential customers. Pretty powerful stuff! But with so many social media platforms…Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn…you might be wondering how can you possibly take on such a big job all by yourself. Just remember, as with so many enterprises relating to running a small business, if you take your time and start small, focusing on a few core strategies, you can always grow bigger over time.
By slowly adding outreach and skills at a pace you find doable, you’ll be on your way to social media success, instead of stuck at the starting line. For example, get grounded by mastering one social media platform at a time, including others as you gain expertise and comfort level. Go ahead and claim your company’s online space on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, but don’t feel pressure to post on all of them, all the time, right away.
Choose one (Facebook is very intuitive and easy to start with). Concentrate on posting just a few times a week, without the pressure to overwhelm yourself. You can always add more content as you grow! Look around to see what is working for companies similar in industry and size to yours. Focus on who is producing popular content that you enjoy, and try emulating their tone and approach.
For more ideas on industry-specific social media marketing, check out our blog on Real Estate Marketing. You'll find clear and helpful information that can be tweaked to apply to just about any business.
2. Be Yourself Always be true to your company and brand, being sure to add your own “voice” to whatever you post. With so many choices online, customers really resonate with authenticity, and will reward you with their loyalty and business if you stick to the flavor of what you already do well in other media.
Are you known as the experts in your field? Then post informative updates. Are you the “fun guys”? Feel free to post jokes, cartoons, and memes, maybe even relating to your industry. Is your business serious, such as tax prep? You could share facts about your company, the business cycle you’re in, even the rules and regulations your company upholds with pride.
And no matter what your small business is about, everyone likes to feel like a behind-the-scenes insider, by getting firsthand info about specials, deals, or promotions. Make your online customers feel special and in-the-know, and they will be more likely to follow your posts and share them with their friends…increasing your exposure and gaining even more followers.
3. Images are Everything Well, they’re pretty darn important, anyway! Whether you're just getting started with social media, or even if your small business has had a presence for a while, you should know that images are hard to beat for sheer effectiveness. We all like to “get a visual” when it comes to where our precious spending dollars go, so showing (not just telling) customers about your office, store, business, product, employees, and events is especially effective and engaging.
New changes with Facebook's newsfeed display make it the perfect time to focus on presenting fabulous images that help your message get noticed. But don't worry, you don’t necessarily have to outsource your pictures...sometimes doing it yourself can be the best way to make that previously mentioned “authentic connection” with your customers:
- Subject Matter - Remember that “people like to buy from people,” so showcase snapshots of your employees, co-workers, customers, and…yourself! It’s an easy, fun way to introduce a more personal side of your business, while empowering your personnel, and connecting them directly to your core consumers and new prospects alike.Celebrate your employees' anniversaries and work milestones...everyone wants to do business with a company that takes pride in their employees' achievements, and treats people with care!As Dr. Stephen R. Covey said, "
Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers." People like to buy from people, and it's always a MUCH better experience when those people are being treated with kindness. So feel free to show off your people, and the kind way you treat them!
- Your Camera - Whether it's an expensive digital number, or just the one on your phone, anyone can take great pictures these days without a lot of hassle, and edit them easier than ever. Play around with filters and effects to make your pictures stand out...Don't be afraid to push all of the buttons to see what they do! It's easy to see how different filters really affect the tone and color of a photo:
- Photo Editors - PicMonkey is an example of a fantastic, free, flexible photo editor that lets you make all kinds of basic edits (cropping, resizing, color correcting) in a flash, but also helps you quickly tackle more complex flourishes (adding text to an image, touching up photos, creating collages) like a pro. PicMonkey even has its own easy-to-follow tutorials, too.
- Photo Apps - Waterlogue is an example of a low-cost, fun, creative, and incredibly easy app that turns any picture you take into a literal work of art! Download to your phone or iPad, and be prepared to see your simple photos turn into gorgeous watercolor paintings...You have to try this one to believe it!
4. Facebook Ads Facebook Ads can successfully be targeted at potential customers in a variety of ways. Ads can be directed at people based on demographic data (states, cities, towns, zip codes); individual interests (knitting, Vermont, dance, wine); or personal information (gender, age, marital status, degree).
Facebook Ads can cost as little as $2 per day, it's a small advertising investment, and a great way to experiment on a budget. Facebook ads help you build your Facebook page likes which become the group of people and businesses who are willing and interested to hear from you. Building your page likes is akin to creating a group to directly market to.
We love Jon Loomer, he knows Facebook! His Facebook Ad tutorials cover campaigns, placement, demographics, and answer any questions you may have as you get started, and go more in-depth to targeting marketing based on behaviors on and away from Facebook.
5. Tracking Your Results We recommend that all businesses take advantage of available analytics to keep your social media strategy on track. Facebook, for example, has incredible analytic capabilities; so make sure you take some time to learn what they do. You can use analytics to identify what posts your customers most relate to, comment on, and engage with…then make sure to give them what they want. Double up on the type of social media posts and pictures that click, and drop what isn’t working. Note times of day and days of the week that your customers are online, and meet them where they are.
Take your time, and enjoy the process! It does take more than five minutes a day to add engaging content, be social, and track what is interesting your audience. Think of social media as marketing, not a distraction, so you can give it the attention it deserves.
6. Be Nice When in doubt, be kind. Speak with your customers online the way you would if you were with them in person. Be yourself, but always err on the side of positivity and goodwill. If you aren’t sure how your comment will be interpreted, it pays to take the time to make yourself clear, or just delete and start over. If you think this advice is self-evident, then maybe you've never heard of Amy's Baking Company. Their epic brand meltdown was an opportunity to learn (at a comfortable distance!) some important social media lessons.
It can be easy to take what is said online personally, and then tempting to engage in an argument over your product or brand to "win," but you won't do yourself (or your business) any favors by fighting. Especially when your attackers can remain anonymous, but you won't! Negativity fosters negativity, so always cool off, walk away, and take the high road to avoid escalating the situation. Just as in real life, kindness and positivity go far online, too.
7. Share and Share Alike Along the same lines, don’t be afraid to like and share posts and tweets from other local businesses…social media really is social! You’ll find that all the good you do for others will come back to you. Kindness creates community, and everyone likes to support businesses in their network. If you recommend other local small business to your customers online, chances are those businesses will start recommending you!
So, are you inspired, and ready to have fun? Start small, take and share pictures reflecting you and your business...include your customers, be nice, and don’t be afraid to jump in and get the conversation started!
Thanks for stopping by,