We have said it before… We will say it again. You should be using social media for business. It is an information hub and a method of open communication with your audience. It is a conversation platform and very important for not only your online presence, but your credibility, branding, SEO and marketing efforts.
So what now? Do you open the accounts and start blasting off all of the great in-store specials? All the special promotions and fantastic things you are offering? Do you start pushing events and upcoming sales?
NO. No you do not. That will most likely turn followers away.
As mentioned earlier- social media is a conversation. When you have a real-life conversation, do you immediately start with why you are so wonderful and why people should like you? Probably not. You want to provide mutually beneficial conversation first- THEN- once you are comfortable with that person, you can start sharing more intimate details of all the great things happening in your life. Take that same model and apply it to your social media conversation.
We always tell our clients to first build your community. Work on sharing on-brand and relevant information. It doesn’t have to be created by you! You can share industry leader links as well as your blog. Work on accumulating fans by using trending hashtags so that your message gets filtered into larger audience pools. Build your fans/followers first and foremost. It may seem like you are treading water for a month or so but it will work in the end. DO NOT buy followers- you want quality not quantity and not for nothing? Social media platforms are hip to these scammers and if they find out you bought your fans? They could limit your pages. Not good.
One you have a decent following THEN you can start to promote! Now you have people who will see your efforts- who know that you are knowledgeable in your field and trust that what you are sharing can be valuable to them. Make sure that your efforts fall into am 80/20 percentile though… 80% helpful links, tips and tricks, quotes, pictures- and 20% promotion. We’ve found that to be a positive balance as long as you are keeping track of your social media insights and are posting the right information at the right times.
You can do social media! But if you need help? We are here to help!
(Did that fall into the 80/20 promotion? We think so!)
What is instagram?
Launched in October 2010- Instagram is a free photo and video sharing social media platform (that is owned by facebook) that allows an accounts followers to ‘like’ or comment on the shared image/video. It also allows its users to categorize their photos using hashtags (similar to twitter and facebook). Instagram gives you an ‘artistic’ edge by giving you the option to use photo filters, blur features, frames and angle options. You can also share your images/videos by connecting to twitter, facebook, tumblr, flickr or email. You cannot share live links on Instagram- you have the option to display one URL on your profile page but that’s it.
So what’s the big deal? Well:
- Instagram has over 150 million users
- 55 million photos are shared daily
- 8500 ‘likes’ per second
- 65% of the world’s top brands have an instagram account
- 57% of US adults visit the site at least once a day
- 23% of teens consider Instagram their favorite social media outlet
Just to name a few.
Needless to say, Instagram is allowing us to communicate visually. Its hashtag capability is making it easy to filter in on topics, keywords, phrases and other interests- it is also allowing marketers to easily organize their contest submissions. Instagram has exploded- so why not use it to your company’s advantage?
Humans tend to respond more to visual stimulation, it’s a known fact. You have the opportunity to tell your brand story with imagery- you can share photos of your store or employees, display your products, highlight your sales, give exclusive offers and really give your audience an inside look at how you run your business. Which is fantastic- however- you will also want to make sure that what you are sharing is beneficial to your followers. Give them a REASON to follow you! No one wants to follow an account that is solely “ooooh look how great we are” Unless you are a top model or actor… but then you would have a personal account… not a business account… so that doesn’t count.
You can try sharing tips and tricks, inspirational quotes, info-graphs, facts… you can participate in trending hashtags and have fun with it (as long as you are staying on brand) and you want to make sure your followers feel special. I mentioned exclusive offers- but what about sneak previews? Do you have a product in the works? A new collection brewing? Maybe your followers would like a “how it’s made” type walk through? Maybe you can show them how a product works?
Keep in mind your videos are only allowed to be 15 seconds long but you can stop the recording and start again at the important parts to stay within your time frame. What do I mean? Take some time and gander through instagram for inspiration.
Share your Instagram post on facebook and twitter; let people see what you are all about with their own eyes (and your filter)!
Being visible online is crucial nowadays. That isn’t a secret. Online presence outside of your website adds to your SEO, your reputation (PR), your legitimacy and channeled outreach to your followers. At the end of the day- your competition is out there and you should be too.
Not everyone can afford to have an outside team/person manage their social media. Heck, they don’t call it ‘SMALL business’ for nothing, right? So you do it yourself. Or you try to…
Rule number one: You need to stay on top of your accounts. You need to post regularly! One post a day on fast platforms such as twitter and at least once every few days on slower more ad saturated sites such as facebook. There is nothing worse that visiting a company’s social media page and seeing that they haven’t updated in a month. Why even have the pages if you aren’t going to use them? Just to say you have it? Social media is about people, relationships and conversations that bring value- not just a button under your email signature.
When I see a lack of activity on a page I think:
a) They are lazy
b) Maybe they closed down?
c) They have no interest communicating
d) They have nothing interesting to communicate
I can’t help it. I want to think “Oh, Joe, he must be really busy! He just didn’t get around to sharing…” but I don’t think that. I think a, b, c & d.
BUSINESS SOCIAL MEDIA MUSTHAVES
The top five are:
4) Linkedin (at least set up a company page)
5) Instagram (This may or may not work for your business- it’s just a popular outlet if you can make it work)
If you want to be in the social media game? At least TRY to make 1 to 4 work. There are TONS of other outlets to choose from that may work better for your company! Pinterest and YouTube almost made my list…If I was going to do a top ten. If you feel overwhelmed you can sign up for social media management dashboards to help you manage everything. I personally recommend HootSuite for its ease of use but there are a few to choose from.
Here is a link to a blog on dashburst.com that gives a great top 10 list of social media management tools:
Remember that you do not have to be on them all! Find the best site(s) for your business and focus on it/them. Quality over quantity.
Please. Make sure that your brand is carried through everything you do- but especially your online presence. If you switch your website? Switch all your social media sites. No excuses. They should be consistent. Consider your social media outlets branches of your website- because they are.
Social media is a personalized platform for you to connect with your customers. It helps build a trustworthy relationship and allows for low cost advertising and networking opportunities. Your posted information is an invitation for your followers to share with their followers with the click of a button!
‘Share the link’ is the new ‘word of mouth’ so make sure the information you’re sharing is linkable…Or likeable… how about linkable AND likeable (say that three times fast!).