One of the most repeated themes any business consultant hears from their small business clients these days is how much they’d like to be more involved in social media channels, but they just don’t have the time.
The response to that is simply that if you don’t take the time to talk about your business online, then you may very well be taking an action as foolhardy as closing your doors on the busiest day of the week and wondering why your sales are down.
And talking about your business isn’t enough. You have to monitor who is listening and responding to what you say, and on top of all of that, be aware and responsive to what others are saying about you.
The start-up phase of any business is tough, and time is always at a premium. But these seven steps to handling your social media presence will help you grow your business with the minimal amount of time used.
The most important thing about social media is to make sure you reach your intended audience and you provoke their interest in your business by giving them something of value and showing them your relevance in their life.
Step 1. Craft your content by being conscious of your client’s time as well as your own.
You know you don’t have the time to invest hours on social media every day, and neither do your clients and potential clients.
So how do you get to them with bite-sized bits of value to stay in their thought pattern?
You can’t beat Twitter for that. Its original 140 character limit made it clear from the start that it was the social media tool of choice for people who appreciate brevity.
Don’t be excited by the fact that Twitter has now approved 280 character Tweets. If what you were doing in 140 characters worked well, you don’t have to use all your extra space.
The best approach is to look at how your current Tweets are impacting your business. How are your clients engaging with you? What kinds of posts prompt the most responses?
Then experiment carefully with the added characters. Test out a few longer Tweets and see if they garner more responses, less responses, or the same as before?
You may find that shorter Tweets that still deliver value are what your specific audience appreciates most.
Step 2. Find clever ways to tap into the Instagram audience
Chances are when you started to build a social media presence, you went directly to Facebook or LinkedIn.
With more than 600 million users, you can’t ignore the power of Instagram now.
One of the most effective ways to maximize your messages on Instagram is to engage brand ambassadors to keep mentioning your product or service in some way. This can be far more effective than paying for traditional advertising if you can connect with artful ambassadors.
Add a short video to your Instagram offers as well. Some audiences prefer to watch a video over reading longer content.
If you don’t have a marketing budget to create professional videos, you don’t need one. Just try using something like Instagram’s Boomerang app (iOS and Android versions available) to build great mini videos that loop back and forth.
Step 3. Build a great back story for your business and tell it well
The world propels itself forward on great stories, and the reason why you started your business and how it came to be successful is great content for that never-satiated appetite.
Take the time to create a great back-story for your company that brings in the elements of humanity, the challenge of overcoming adversity, and the warmth of staying connected to people, and make it your corporate history.
Tell that story over and over again and be consistent with it so that if people hear it from different social media venues, it will always be authentic.
Few companies are boring. They emerged from the dreams and daring of the entrepreneurs behind them and the special circumstances in their lives at a particular point in time.
What makes your business story unique and compelling? Put it together and put it on line.
It will help you grow your business by increasing your relationship with your clients who can suddenly identify with the people behind the brand.
Step 4: Explore link retargeting to keep track of your customers
More and more firms are taking advantage of a social media tool called “link retargeting” which allows small businesses to target customers who have previously been to their website to look at specific products.
What it does is keep your business brand in front of those people who bounced in and out of your website for some reason, but did not actually purchase anything. Keep in mind that for the average business website, only two percent of visitors actually end up as buyers on their first visit. Link targeting allows you to go after the 98 percent that got away and lure them back to you.
They moved away but you drop an anonymous browser cookie with them. The next time they go to search for lawnmowers, your ad recaptures their interest and brings them back to your website for another chance to make them buying customers.
Step 5: Celebrate every possible holiday with your clients
Holiday shopping isn’t confined to one particular season anymore.
If you have any doubt that people are willing to celebrate all holidays, traditional or newly created, just take a look at the success of Amazon’s Prime Day.
This special buying campaign day in mid-July is now considered to have taken over from Black Friday as the most shopping heavy day of the year.
Jump on every bandwagon. If the bandwagon isn’t moving, start it, or tag along for the ride. Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 🙂
Be unique in your approach so that you stand out from the cluster of businesses begging for customer attention at special times of the year. If everyone is offering “stay home and be cozy” messages for the first snowfall, launch a “go out and make snow angels” campaign that encourages people to wear your warm and waterproof snow gear.
Think of campaigns that touch people emotionally and invite them to connect to a world bigger than their own. Show how momentum is building and be sure that what you are offering is fun and fulfilling at a personal level.
You can invite participation by encouraging people to post photos on Instagram or Facebook of themselves participating in your campaign or showing themselves wearing your gear or using your product.
Step 6: Organize your social media postings to stay ahead of the curve
In your busiest seasons when you most want great social media postings, you will be too busy to create and post them.
That is why in your calmer times, you need to do your thinking and writing and then automate everything efficiently to flow seamlessly through the hectic days.
Millions of people use Hootsuite which offers single users a 30-day free trial period and a plan of $19 a month after that. Other great options to help you save time are MeetEdgar, Buffer or SmarterQueue.
These sites allow you to create content calendars and plan your specific campaigns in advance without the stress of trying to stay on top of social media day after day.
Step 7: Keep tabs on your online reputation and manage it carefully
All of these tips are useful, but nothing is more important than setting up a plan to carefully manage your online reputation. Google your company name regularly to see what comes up and what other people are saying about you online.
Set up a formal process for responding to complaints or bad reviews so that anything negative is not allowed to sit there unchallenged.
As with your spoken reputation, it takes a long time to build up your good brand online, but very little to undo it if you are not judicious in your monitoring of it.
Thank you for reading. I hope you found some value. Until next time. Take care.
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