Last month’s blog discussed the importance of a great, user-friendly website. Now, it’s time to knock it out of the park with a strong social media presence. Think of social media and your website like peanut butter and jelly. Alone they are both good, but together they are great! That is why it’s so important to hire a professional that is able to maximize both by making them function individually all the while functioning together as one strong marketing tool. Oh sure, it seems like something that is easy enough to keep up with…..at first, but then you get busy running your business and before you know it, a week has gone by and then another and then a month or two. All of a sudden, your target audience forgets your business. I have outlined a few basic social media points to get you going:
Consistent branding: Consider your social media pages as an extension of your website. You must take the time to set up your pages to reflect the image you want consumers to see. This should be a snapshot of what your company has to offer and be a little prelude to your website. You want to get them clicking onto your website.
Facebook has several options to direct customers to your website. B Savvy is utilizing this via the “Sign Up” button directing Facebook followers to their website to sign-up for their emails.
Regular updates: The first thing you have to remember about social media is that updates must be done regularly…like every day. Most of your target audience is scrolling through their preferred social media source at any given time throughout the day. Some are more inclined to look at social media in the morning, some on their lunch break and some in the evening. You need to show up at all of those times to maintain your audience’s attention. Your marketing professional will be able to set-up posts for your business at specified times regularly.
Utilize all social medial platforms: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, oh my! There are so many social media options how do you ever keep up with them? Again, a marketing professional knows the best marketing for each of the various social media platforms. Each of those platforms tends to have particular age groups that use them. I’m more of a Facebook person, but my daughter is definitely more into Instagram. She rarely gets on Facebook. Of course, I’m a living, breathing mom, so I also love Pinterest, particularly during those times that I’m waiting on my daughter at dance. Admittedly, it takes a bit more time to set-up and maintain a Pinterest presence, but it can be beneficial to a business. Especially when you consider that fact that Pinterest has over 100 million active users! Wow! You can buy all the marketing you want, but it’s rare that you have the opportunity to get your business in front of that many potential customers. Think of it like this, even if you were only able to engage just .01% of the 100 million users that’s still 100,000 potential customers!
Engage your audience with useful, quality content: Your content must be engaging. Of course, our end goal is to sell something, but let’s be honest; it gets a bit annoying if I continually see a company throwing their product or service in my face. I enjoy companies that also offer me tips or some sort of expert knowledge. The general rule is 80/20. That means just 20% of your social media marketing should actually promote your product or service, the remaining 80% offers useful content. I just love free stuff and when a company gives me a link to free printables they automatically get a little gold star. Focus on content quality. This gets your followers to share and comment on your posts. The more often your post is shared the more opportunity you have to be in front of new customers. You’ll also want to post content that requires followers to comment, thus, creating “top” newsfeed information. For example, an interior designer may post side-by-side photos of two different room designs asking followers to choose their favorite room design. This engages and gives you a chance to see what your followers are interested in. Pictures are always a great way to engage your audience. Most people are more likely to stop and admire a picture rather than reading lots of words. Hence, the success of Instagram. A few interesting statistics from Hoot Suite about Instagram. “…users have shared over 40 billion photos…and share an average of 95 million photos and videos per day” (https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-statistics/) Make your photos fun to pique your followers’ interests, like this picture posted on Divine Order’s Facebook page at Christmas. It’s simple, happy and makes you smile.
Respond in a timely manner: An article published last year by Social Media Today, reported, “89% of messages sent to brands on social [media] that require a response go completely unanswered.” Wait, what? That is like receiving 100 phone calls at your business, but actually only answering 11 of those calls. I doubt you would ever do that in your brick-and-mortar store. I started out in business as a receptionist, you know, in the “old days” when someone actually answered the phone. My employer sent me to several classes on the proper etiquette of answering calls and the acceptable time a customer can be put on hold without feeling neglected. One minute of hold time feels like three minutes and five minutes feels like thirty and anything longer feels like an hour. That has been many moons ago, but I have never forgotten it and if you think about it, it’s really just common sense. You know how you feel when someone puts you on eternal hold, you feel neglected and then eventually perturbed that the company doesn’t value your time. Now, let’s fast-forward to today’s technology-rich world where everything is accessible right at our fingertips. A customer asking a question via social media expects a response or at the very minimum an acknowledgment right then as if you were having a face-to-face conversation with them. Seems easy enough, right? Well, when you are a small business and you are the CEO---Chief Everything Officer—answering social media can be put on the back burner because you have much bigger things to deal with on the regular. That’s where a professional marketing company can pay for themselves ten times over. Remember the old saying, “A happy customer will tell three people, but an unhappy customer will tell 10”? It’s true, and I’m guilty of it just as much as the next person. It’s in our nature. Let’s amplify that a thousand times over in a public forum. Consumers have never in any given time in history had such a public way to express their feelings and opinions as they do now. The downside to that is an angry customer equals bad publicity for your business. It’s hard to climb that mountain, so let’s do everything we can to stay on top.
Cross-marketing: I’m a huge fan of cross-marketing especially when I’m able to promote something for a good cause. I’m a firm believer in volunteering and giving back to the community. A wonderful tool for non-profit events is social media marketing. This is easily done by simply sharing a fundraising event. I’m certainly not implying that you should just attach yourself to non-profits to make yourself look good, because I never support things that my heart is not in. You need to believe in the organization and truly wish them success and be willing to help in any way you can. You can also cross-market with other companies. For example, maybe you own a carpet cleaning business and you know someone that owns a floor covering business. Why not help one another out and team up?
When working with your marketing professional takes the same approach you did when building your website. You’ll want to have some input regarding the content and the image you want out there, but you also need to be open to their professional advice and work together as a team.