We get it; you think social media is for tweens and/or adults who have too much time on their hands. As a small business owner, you have anything but time on your hands (unless you’re wearing a watch) and the thought of using social media to help grow your business just sounds like pure bologna. But like it or not, social media is becoming the new TV. Even big time advertisers are beginning to switch gears, spending progressively less and less on TV advertising and devoting more of their advertising budget to digital.
The inevitable truth is that social media is not going away, at least not for a very long time. So why not learn to capitalize on the social media obsessed population by bringing some of your business’ marketing online? It doesn’t have to be hard; in fact it can be quite simple if you have few extra hours a week to devote promoting your business by developing a social media presence.
Before you go diving into the social networks, let’s first discuss a preliminary step. You MUST do some homework and decide a.) where are the majority of your target customers spending their online time b.) what are your goals for your business going social and c.) are you prepared to learn a thing or two?
Once you’ve answered those questions, follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg.
• Make sure you profile is complete
What this means is that you don’t want to leave out pertinent information like your business hours or contact number. Take some time and fill in all the little details so that fans visiting your page can actually find and get a hold of you.
• Post on a regular basis
Posting every couple of weeks is not going to do your business any good. People check their news feed multiple times a day and seeing one post from your business once a month is not making you any more memorable than before you were on Facebook. We suggest posting at minimum, two times a week. Facebook allows businesses to schedule their posts for later dates and times, a function that would serve you well if you want to plan out all your posts for the week in one sitting.
• Follow other businesses in your industry
This may seem counterintuitive but by following similar businesses to your own, it may spark some ideas on what to post. All is fair in social media, just make sure you aren’t stealing someone’s original content and presenting it as your own. Always give credit where credit is due and customize “copy cat” posts so they promote your brand and not your competitors.
• Tell people that you’re on Facebook
Customers won’t automatically go looking for your business on Facebook unless they have nothing better to do, in which case they might do just that. You need to let your patrons know that your business is on Facebook and provide them with a reason for why they should follow you. Whether that means hosting contests and give-a-ways or simply posting useful information, make sure you are providing value if you’re going to invite followers.
• Create boards that make sense
When you first start a Pinterest account you will probably see a lot of generic board options such as “recipes” or “my style”. Well, unless you are a health food store or clothing retailer, these boards will just seem silly being on your business page. Create boards that speak of your brand and industry.
• Check your pin source
Just because the image that you see in Pinterest looks like something that would fit nicely on one of your company’s boards doesn’t mean that there isn’t a virus or inappropriate website on the other end of that link. While Pinterest does a pretty stellar job of keeping “spammy” pins out of their site, it is always wise to see where the pin links to and check out the credibility of the source. Sometimes the pin will link to a completely different subject than what the image had implied.
• Promote to women
Pinterest users are primarily women. The ratio of women to men is something ridiculous like 9:1. If you don’t serve a lot of women in your business, Pinterest probably isn’t the best place to spend your time. On the other hand, if your business caters to women, this place is a jack pot! Tell all your female customers that you’re on Pinterest and you’ll have followers in no time.
• Pin a lot
People will not follow you on Pinterest unless you have interesting pins and a lot of them. If you have a board titled “Our best selling accessories” and there are two pins on it, you look pretty lame. Make sure that your boards are full of pins, whether self created or pinned from others, the more, the better!
• Tweet specials and promotions
The beauty of twitter is that you only have so many characters to get your message across. What better avenue could you have for promoting a sale or special than teasing your audience with a short tweet? Grab followers’ attention by mentioning a sale or special and those little birds will all be flocking to your business in no time.
• Follow the trends
Just like in high school, the cool kids on twitter are the ones that follow whatever is “trending”. If you are drawing a blank on what to tweet, check out the trending section for some inspiration and jump on the bandwagon.
• The best time to post is now
When using twitter, the best time to post a tweet is real time. For example, if you are holding a flash sale from 3pm-8pm, you had better tweet that info right at 3 pm. What good will it do you if you tweet about your sale at 7:50 pm? None.
• Enrich your tweets
Even though you can only post a certain amount of characters per tweet, you can add in links. If you want to share more information than you have room for, simply add a link to either a webpage or YouTube video for more impact.
• Be entertaining
I don’t care if the actual content of your video is boring; the companies with the most followers find a way to make even the dullest information interesting. Have fun with your videos, be humorous and entertaining, just don’t overdo it to the point of looking unprofessional.
• Find a decent camera man or woman
NOBODY, and I repeat, nobody, likes a shaky video. Unless you’re using a GoPro and selling flying squirrel suits, make sure you find someone who can shoot your video without giving the viewer a bad case of motion sickness.
• When in doubt, shoot a “how to”
Customers like instructional videos more than instructions. It makes the task at hand a little less complicated when you can see a person doing it as opposed to reading how to do it. Plus if it’s a great instructional, your possibility of “going viral” improves, and who doesn’t want to go viral?
• Remember to keep it branded
Whenever you are shooting a video, remember to keep it consistent with your brand. This means you don’t want to shoot a video on “how to bake the best-ever cherry pie” when you are running a car dealership. You may have a great cherry pie recipe but that has nothing to do with selling cars and your customers will think you’ve lost it. Keep the brand defined and consistent, through all of your videos.
There you have it: four of the most popular social media networks, each with four simple pieces of advice. Follow these fundamentals and you at least have a solid foundation for social media success. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be hungry for more!
Author: Abby Gruber
Abby is the Marketing Strategist and Copywriter for Richwood Marketing. She enjoys helping businesses discover and promote what makes them unique as well as helping to capture those ideas in writing. Abby is responsible for maintaining Richwood Bank’s blog and is always open to hearing your ideas and suggestions. If you have a certain topic you would like covered, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.