The reason why many small businesses fail to find success on social media is because they fail to understand the concept of social. Many approach it as they would a traditional marketing vehicle in which a business distributes information about a product, sale or location and the customer in turn buys the product, shops the sale or visits the location.
But social media is more like a cocktail party than it is like a traditional marketing. The rules have changed and now marketing is a dialogue.
Imagine yourself going to a party and think of the people you might meet there.
- Guy sitting in the corner mumbling to himself — Nobody is going to be approaching him any time soon. He has a lot of interesting things to say, but nobody can hear him over all the other voices and he isn’t willing to engage.
- The loud, overly boisterous person — He or she may be funny or witty for a little while, but there’s no substance and the constant jabbering without listening gets annoying after awhile.
- The dull guy — He or she may be a rocket scientist, but the message is too involved. You know you should be interested, but your not.
There are so many other people you there, but which one do you want to be. Be the person everyone is always happy to see. The person who not only has interesting information about their business, but also about the community. They have great tips to share and fantastic pictures (and not just of their children or their grandchildren). But most importantly, they listen to you when you talk and are interested in what you have to say. The kind of person people want to build relationships with.
How does this translate to social media?
- Post frequently, but not too frequently. How often depends on the platform? Google, “How often should I post on …?”
- Have a variety of posts about important information your community might find useful. Don’t just post about sales and specials, post about community events, your favorite tips and tricks, even about others you do business with.
- Watch your analytics. What posts are your community interacting with? Make sure you increase those types of posts. It’s also ok to reuse popular content. Just make sure you wait long enough.
- Be active. Social media for business takes commitment. Use available tools to make managing your social media a little easier.
Social media isn’t hard. It’s like building any relationship. It takes time and energy. Put forth the effort and maybe a little advertising money and it will pay dividends.
If you need help managing your social media, contact me: email@example.com.
I’ve had several non-profit organizations ask me to review their sites and make recommendations. While some non-profits have embraced their online presence and have a strategy for their websites and social media platforms, others struggle.
If you manage a non-profit website or social media presence, make sure you keep these quick tips in mind.
- Is it clear what you do? In journalism you’re taught to lead with: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? However some non-profits are not clear as to what they do, who they help and what is their mission. If potential donors don’t know what you do, they will not give you money. People’s attention spans are diminishing. Be clear and concise. Visitors to your site should be able to discren what you do within 15 seconds.
- Is it easy to donate? Your PayPal button should be front and center on the Home Page of your website. Putting up any type of barrier, even unintentional, will decrease donations. Make it easy.
- Is it visually appealing? Do you have compelling images that tell your story? Images that convey the hope your organization provides to people. Your site should draw people in.
- How do people volunteer? Not everyone can donate money. Sometimes people what to donate their time and talents. Have you made it easy to volunteer? Is it clear what opportunities are available? Do you have a fillable form and a mechanism in place to follow up with potential volunteers? All these things are important.
- How are you promoting events? Make events prominent on the Home page of your website. Promote events across your social media platforms using the same images. Use PayPal to submit payment and create easy fillable forms to sign up.
- When was your last update? Keeping your information current and up-to-date keeps your non-profit visible on the web. Make sure that you are posting frequently and providing updates to your donors and potential donors.
While many non-profits have honorable missions and intentions, they may be standing in their own way when it comes to getting the resources that they need. With some minor changes to their online presence, non-profits can increase revenue to help them carry out their mission.
So you are starting a small business and know that you need to be on social media. At least that’s what everyone says. But where do you start?
The easiest way to start is to create a Facebook page. There are many different social media platforms, but Facebook is still a good place to start. Facebooks crosses generations and genders. You can always add additional platforms, but it is good to start with one and do it well before moving on.
- Create a Facebook Page — Go to “Home” on your personal accout and you will see “Create Page” on the left side of the screen. Facebook will walk you through the steps to create your page.
- Populate Your Page — It is important that once you have created your page, put in the necessary information. Include contact information, information about your company and location.
- Add pictures — People love pictures. Your profile picture should either be your logo or your picture. If you are the brand, then having a picture of yourself on the page is important so you people can connect with you.
- Start posting and keep posting — At a minimum you should be posting three times a week. Keep your content varied and interesting. If all you do is sell, then no one will follow you. Instead, make your page informative and entertaining. Post pictures of your business and staff. Look for news articles related to your industry or related the community where you have your business. Have fun and be creative.
- Schedule your posts — Use the scheduling feature on Facebook. When you create a post, you will see the Publish button. Unlike your personal page, your business page allows you to schedule posts in the future. There is a drop down menu on the Publish button that will allow you to schedule a post for a later date. That way you can spend an hour on Sunday scheduling your posts for the week. This feature may help social media seem less daunting.
- Make sure to invite everyone you know to “like” your page. Also ask friends, family and employees to “like” and “share” your company posts on their pages. This will increase your visibility significantly.
- Don’t be afraid to invest a little money in advertising to promote your page. As little as $25 a month can help grow your social media presence.
- If people are leaving comments or interacting with your page, make sure you acknowledge them. Social media is a conversation, not a lecture. You want people to interact with you.
Need more help? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can help you manage your social media platforms and increase your online visibility.
All small business owners know that they need to be on social media. It’s on the news, websites and advertisements. Every magazine article explains the importance of social media. So many small business owners jump in with both feet only to exclaim several months later that social media marketing doesn’t work.
That’s because social media marketing done wrong can be more detrimental than not doing it at all. Here are the mistakes to avoid.
- Don’t Try to Be on All Platforms.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn? Many small business owners try to be everything to everyone. Decide where your customers are and concentrate on doing that platform well.
- Facebook — Good general place to capture all customers. Targeted advertising can help you reach your ideal client.
- Instagram — Great for visual content. Great to capture under 35 audience, although the audience diversity is expanding.
- Twitter — Helps to promote your brand and establish you as an expert. Not the primary platform for most small businesses.
- LinkedIn — Great for Business to Business transactions.
- Pinterest — Has the highest conversion rate for all platforms. That means that people who see a product on Pinterest are more likely to purchase it.
2. Have a social media policy for employees.
Employees can be your greatest asset or your biggest detractor on social media. Make sure that you are clear as to what are your expectations when it comes to social media.
- Employees should know it is unacceptable to ever make negative comments about customers, even on their personal Facebook page.
- Although you cannot control all the content on employees social media pages, encourage them not to post any defamatory comments. They should also refrain from negative racial slurs and foul language, especially if they identify themselves on their page as working for your company.
- Encourage them to support your page. Ask them to please like and share information on the company page. Anything that helps increase the success and visibility of the company will help all employees.
- Do post photos of parties or other office functions on your company Facebook page. Customers like to see who they are dealing with and it increases employees identification with their company.
3. Not paying attention to the company social media platforms.
Social media is not about pushing out information to your customers. It’s about creating a dialog with your customers and potential customers. It’s not only important to keep your social media sites current, but it is also important to respond when individuals comment on your page or message your company. Be sure that you respond quickly. Facebook actually will rate your company on its response time. With Apps and notifications on your phone, there is no reason, not to respond. If there is a complaint, don’t delete it. Respond appropriately and give the individual an email or phone number where their issue can be handled off-line. How you handle these types of situations can make or break your company on social media.
Need help handling your social media? Contact me on email@example.com.
After 30 years of marriage, there is very litle my husband can say that surprises me. However, the other night when he asked me to help he set up a Twitter account, I must tell you, I was blown away. Apparently there was someone he wanted to follow on Twitter and wanted me to help him set up an account.
Although, he spends his days on a computer, social media, except Facebook, is still a mystery to him. So for my husband and every other person out there who has yet to start a Twitter account, here you go:
- Go to Twitter.com
- In the upper right-hand corner where it says Log in, click on the arrow and go to: SIgn Up.
- Enter your name, phone number or email and create a password. Make sure you write it down or save it somewhere. If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, chances are you might be at an age where you forget things. I know I am. Phone number is optional.
- You will then be asked to create a user name. Twitter will give you a series of suggestions of available names. Pick one.
- Then you will be asked to choose interests. This way Twitter can help suggest accounts you might want to follow. Not everyone wants to follow Kim Kardashian
- Then you are asked to import contacts. I never do, but it is your choice.
- You will be given a series of choices that have been pre-checked. If you do not remove the “Select All” check, you will end up following multiple accounts that you have no interest in. Review the list, choose who you want and move on or choose no one. Move to the next screen.
- Remember to reconfirm your account through your email or you will not be able to tweet.
- If you want to, you can upload and profile and background picture.
- To get started, click the quill in the upper right hand corner. To look for people or topics you are interested in, put your topic in the Search Twitter box.
You are ready to tweet. Have fun!
Have you heard of regramming? That is when you repost something you have seen on Instagram onto your profile.
On Facebook, you can share posts from other pages. On Twitter you can Retweet or even quote a retweet to put your own spin on things. However, until recently, Instagram didn’t have an option to repost or regram something. Now you can and its easier than you think.
- You need to go to the App Store and download a reposting app. For Apple, you go to App Store or Google Play . I chose to download Repost for Instagram by Red Cactus, LLC. Remember Instagram works best with your phone so download Repost on your phone.
- Connect your Repost App to your Instagram account.
- Find a post you like on Instagram that you would like to Regram.
- In the corner you will see … When the drop down menu appears choose “Copy Share URL”
- Open your Repost App and you will see the post there. The App automatically credits the original creator. Click “Repost” and caption. Now you have that content for your Instagram account.
How could you use reposting?
- Leverage user content when your company has been tagged in a post.
- Post content from influencers that would be helpful to your followers.
- Open up your audience as new users may find you.
- Freshen up your feed with new content from another source.
How would you use reposting to help promote your business? Let me know
Have questions about this post or need more help with your Social Media Marketing? Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I use this blog to talk about Social Media Marketing. Changes, strategies and challenges. But it’s Mother’s Day today and I am feeling particularly reflective about life and the lessons it teaches you.
As a small business owner, I often times find that I am hampered by fears. Fears that I will not make the right business decision and it will cost me money or customers. Fear of spending too much money or not enough. Fear of pursuing opportunities and the what happens if I don’t pursue them. When I think about fear, I think about my daughter who is absolutely fearless.
Although she is sometimes afraid, she never let’s that hold her back from making a decision. It sometimes makes it difficult to be her mother as I must just hold on tight and pray, but it has made her an incredible human being.
When she was nine or ten, she decided she wanted to play lacrosse. At that time none of her friends were playing lacrosse, but she wanted to play lacrosse and “reminded” me every day to sign her up. The first year, we missed the deadline so after a year of “reminding” me, she played the next year and for several years after that.
Then she was on the Internet and found a program at Princeton through the Center for Talented Youth on “Genocide and Political Torture”. She was 14. She didn’t want clothes or make up or anything else, she wanted to go to this program at Princeton. So we decided to forego our vacation and she attended the program.
This trend continued throughout her life. She raised money to go to Gutamela on Winter Break in College and studied abroad in London. We supported her, but she lead the charge. When she received a job offer in New York City before she graduated from college, she negotiated the salary and moving expenses, at 20 years old, and moved there not having any real close connections.
In the past two years, she has changed jobs, met her now husband, quit her job, moved to Australia, finished graduate school, got married and is now moving to Singapore for her next career. She is 24.
Sometimes I wish I had half the confidence she does to know I am making the right decision or at least to accept the consequences of a wrong decision. Sometimes I struggle with the decision as to what to have for lunch.
Imagine what you could do if you followed your instincts. I think the problem is that our instincts get covered up with the fear of what we have to lose instead of weighing what we have to gain.
So this Mother’s Day, I will be grateful that God has blessed me with such an amazing daughter and I will try to learn to not let fear stand in the way of what my instincts are telling me is the right thing to do.
Marketers are beginning to take notice of a new customer demographic in town: The Perennial. It’s really not a new group, its a new way of looking at customers. The term, coined by Gina Pell of the TheWhatList.com, was because she felt that the traditional approach of marketing towards generational sterotypes was outdated and irrelevant.
For example, not all people over 60 have a Baby Boomer mindset where they are anti-technology and long to go back to the Good Old Days. Not all Millenials are living in their parents basement .
Gina believes that, like Amazon and Apple, its time for marketers to look at the individual interests of customers, not how old they are.
By some measures, I am a Baby Boomer. So I am supposed to be anti-technology, have stayed with the same company for 30 years and be thinking about moving to Florida to maximize my retirement. Not one of those sterotypes applies to me. In fact, my Millenial daughter who has never lived in my basement, has had a job since she graduated from college and now is employed overseas, says that I know more about social media and technology than she does.
Businesses who are continuing to sterotype customers by the same old age-based personnas may be missing opportunities to market their products to the right customer. By focusing on the interests of customers, rather than age, you can effectively market to the largest customer based who will be interesed in your product.
According to Wikipedia, one of the meanings of the word perennial means lasting or remaining active all year or all the time. Gina Pell desribes Perennials as people of all ages who stay up on technology, know what’s happening in the world and have friends of all ages.
As an example, she points to Netflix which divides its shows by interests rather than age brackets. It does not designate TV shows for Millenials. Although there may be categories which Millenials are more interested, Netflix designates categories as Mystery or Comedy and offers suggestions based on previously watched shows.
How could this change in advertising prespective change the way you market? It’s possible you might change your visuals to a more generic image or use social media even if your target demographic is older. You could even experiment with multiple images to see which ones actually speak to your target audience.
As the confines of traditional generational marketing begin break down, business owners will realize that a more interest based approach will expand market reach and attract more customers.