When it comes to your social media strategy? Pre-planning your posts is half the battle.
Having something ready to fire out on dates that you know to expect will help ease any last minute stress and help ensure that you are creating branded and shareable posts! We’ve created a list of dates that are guaranteed to pass this year (we couldn’t include EVERY holiday but you can find a list of Canadian holidays here: http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/) We also included a post idea for each date.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
We hope that everyone had an amazing 2014 and are ripe and ready to take on 2015!
It’s important to have good quality print pieces and we believe that it is important to have them all as branded and cohesive as possible. That being said, we have an Illustrator file with a variety of vector social media icons that we would be more than happy to send you FOR FREE. You can alter their colour or size (without pixelation).
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to request your .ai file today.
For all you twitter fans out there- we are now hosting twitter chats every Tuesday night at 9pm EST!
We are discussing entrepreneur and business related topics… sharing insights, inspiration and working on personal and professional development. We hope to create a motivational and helpful online community.
Follow our chat account by clicking HERE!
The chats are live and generally run for the hour- we look forward to chatting with you!
It means that you want to make sure every status, tweet, picture and post that you send off into social media world is properly reflecting your company’s image, voice and mission.
It is important for you to make sure that your company posts are three things:
1) On brand
3) Positive (for the most part)
What you did on Friday night, how much you really think Sally is cute and the noodles you made for dinner should stay in your personal account. UNLESS you are a chef/restaurant/food producer… then by all means post “foodstagrams” of those noodles.
Now don’t get us wrong- you don’t have to sound like a robot- you can have a social media voice! Just make sure it is appropriate. No swearing, street language or bad-mouthing… No personal opinions on religion or politics… no pushing for causes outside of your company’s vision. I.E. You are a vegan and that is admirable- but you work for a restaurant that serves meat products. If you push your vegetarianism, you are confusing your company audience.
Representing your brand on social media is fairly simple as long as your business has its values and image secured. If you are outsourcing your social media? It may be a good idea to have a brand document outlining who you are as a company and what you stand for so there is no confusion and misrepresentation.
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!)
The hashtag allows us to filter our message and reach audiences outside of our “follower” circle. It puts our words into larger conversation pools and allows us to gain exposure while networking and connecting with like-minded/interested audiences. It is how we categorize messages, host chats through social media and focus our marketing campaigns.
But what is even MORE awesome is when you use THE RIGHT hashtag. When you hit a tag popularity jackpot and your social media influence takes off! That is when you really start communicating with your target audience and the dialogues open up.
Meet Hashtag Scout: http://www.hashtagscout.com
Hashtag Scout allows you to “Find related, recent, and relevant Twitter hashtags with ease.” All you have to do is enter your keyword or proposed hashtag and Hashtag Scout will generate popular hashtags related to the word(s) you entered. There is no charge to search and it is extremely user friendly- the minimalist design really makes for stress-free navigation.
This program should help you get your message out on twitter without the hashtag guess work.
Check it out and let us know your thoughts!
It’s not often a small business can afford a social media management team off the hop. In the beginning owners wear multiple hats- CEO, CFO, HR, IT and now SMM (that is an acronym for social media manager… I just made that up)
Maybe you think it’s best that you don’t use social media in your marketing plan… and to that? I say too bad- because you are missing out! You are missing out on the SEO advantages, the branding, the communication with your audience and the low cost options for spreading the word about who you are and what you offer. If you don’t want to reap any of those benefits? Then I say that is just too bad.
If you DO want to benefit from social media? Then I have some tips to help you stay focused, on top of things and actively present:
1) Pick one or two social media sites for now. If you try and manage too many yourself? You may get overwhelmed and quit or fall behind and look lazy and lackluster.
Figure out what platforms work best for your company- if you have no idea? Look at your competition. What are they using? What are your customers using?
2) The golden rule is ‘Once a Day’ I ask that all of my clients post onto their social media outlets at least once a day. It can be a picture, an article that your audience will find helpful, a link to a blog (preferably yours but it doesn’t always have to be), a retweet on twitter, a repost on Instagram or a pin to a board on Pinterest. Asking questions is a great way to engage! It’s important because you want to show you were there and active when a potential client looks you up. If they see that your last post was a week ago? You could look sluggish. If it was A MONTH ago? They may think you aren’t open anymore. Telling yourself once a day will help keep you from forgetting.
If you are really hip to social media, I recommend taking a look at your analytics and figuring out the best time to post to maximize engagement. If you aren’t too savvy just yet? Just post once a day for now- and make sure the content IS RELEVANT, positive and on brand.
You may benefit from having a posting schedule. Feel free to use this one: CLICK HERE
3) Time yourself. Once a day on one or two social media sites shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes a day. It is very easy to get lost in link-land and before you know it you are an hour and a half in and looking at what Jimmy is eating for lunch. Set a timer if you have to! You can get an egg timer for a buck at the dollar store.
4) Don’t be afraid to store updates/drafts. Keep a file of links, images, and quotes- whatever and keep that as your go-to when posting. If you find that Sunday evenings work best for researching information to share? Spend some time and think about your weeks’ worth of posting! If you want to get fancy, you can try out HootSuite and schedule your updates automatically- click HERE for more information. Just be sure to still sign in to your social media account and make sure your status’ are posting properly and your links are working.
5) Turn off your notifications. In an ideal world you want to respond to your audience right away. In small business world? That will throw you off and will absorb too much of your time. Turning off your notifications will keep you focused on your task at hand. It’s ok to reply within 24 hours! (Just make sure you do… but you ARE posting once a day so you shouldn’t have a problem) It’s ok to not know how many retweets you get, or who followed you. Think of it as a social media present. Once a day you get to open it and see what happened!
One day you will have a sea of employees who will be able to do things for you or the budget to outsource- but until then? You can handle it. It is intimidating at first, but practice makes perfect and before you know it you will be able to push out your social media duties in ten minutes or less! You’ll see.
Do you have any social media management tips to share? Please do in the comment section below!
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)!
Wow! That guy has 25, 000 followers!? He must be really good at what he does… or REALLY popular! He is only following 10 people- but that’s ok, right? He is probably just really busy…
Well, sorry to break it to you but unless he is a celebrity of some sort? Chances are he bought all those followers in attempts to be perceived in a favourable way. If you ask me it does the exact opposite! All of your credibility goes flying out the window. (Excuse the pun.)
Let me help you to pick out the accounts that have “cheated” the system and bought new pals. For me (and a lot of social media professionals) it is painfully obvious.
Here is what we notice:
- They JUST opened an account last week and have 25,000 followers already.
- They have 25,000 followers and have a total of 7 tweets. What value have you brought to these people to make them want to follow you?
- You click on the persons ‘followers’ list and 90% of them are from another part of the world, with no real bio/very short and vague bio and have no followers or tweets themselves. Also- if a large percentage of someone’s followers avatars (say that three times fast) are eggs? That’s suspicious.
- They have 25,000 followers but are following 10 people. Again, unless you are a celebrity? To gain that amount of followers- you need to be engaging.
- They don’t have lists and they aren’t on anyone else’s lists. With that many followers? You would be on or have at least one list to help filter through everyone!
I believe in quality over quantity and although you may be tempted to give into those robot direct messages? You know, the ones that promise you ‘thousands of followers RIGHT NOW’? Don’t do it. It won’t feel good. Especially when all of those followers slowly diminish in the weeks to follow and you realize people are only following you because they THINK you are influential.
The purpose of social media is to engage. When you are speaking to 25,000 fake followers- it is kind of like talking to a wall. Not much point. Also, as I mentioned- your credibility actually depletes the second anyone realizes you have purchased your ‘fan base’.
Stay strong, be knowledgeable and be REAL. Real conversations, real followers, real information… all of it will bring, you guessed it, REAL results.