KEEPING UP WITH WHAT’S NEW IN SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE A NIGHTMARE FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS.
Between the algorithm changes, the evolution of new platforms, and the revolving door of apps and add-ons, just knowing what’s new might feel like more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Guess what? You’re probably right! Let’s face it: you don’t need to be a social media ninja to make it work well for your business. All you need is a clear strategy and a solid handle on the basics. Remember, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have or that you’re down with the latest filters - what matters is that your social media presence is contributing to your bottom line. So in the spirit of keeping it simple, here are five timeless tips to help you get focused.
PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
Social media is a visual platform, and posts with photos and video drive double the engagement of regular text posts. Don’t worry if you’re not an ace photographer. In our experience, real images that exude authenticity often get better results than perfectly posed portraits. Remember that people are following you because they are interested in what you do, so what may seem mundane to you might actually capture your follower’s attention. If you have a restaurant, show your followers how their favorite dish is prepared. Own a salon? Capture the before and after pictures of your client’s new do’s. If you’re a florist, use a short video to explain an easy way to make a beautiful arrangement. Remember, what you do every day might seem boring to you, but could well be unique and interesting to your audience. Try it out!
Getting reviews for your business is a surefire way to drum up new customers, but you won’t get them if you don’t ask for them! If you have a service business, make sure every satisfied customer is followed up with an email asking for a short testimonial. Make it easy by including links to your Facebook, Yelp, and Google pages. If you’re in the product game, ensure that your website or Etsy shop has reviews enabled. These short testimonials from happy customers relay trust and satisfaction in the product or service you’ve provided, which is much more powerful than any boring old ad.
CHECK-INS AND LOCATION TAGGING
Encourage people who are visiting your business to check-in via Facebook or tag their photos on Instagram. It’s simple, but a check-in or tag alerts your customer’s followers that they are enjoying an experience at your business. It just might inspire others to do the same! Think about it this way. Have you ever seen a friend enjoying a relaxing day at the spa, and thought to yourself, “I need one of those!”? Exactly. You can remind people to check-in to your business by displaying some simple signage, and entice them further with a small discount, such as 10% off, a complimentary add-on, or a gift with purchase. Also, don’t forget to repost! Showcasing user-generated content is a powerful way to build your brand, and it gives a bit of love back to your loyal customers.
Too many business owners forget that their best brand ambassadors are all around them. Make sure that your friends, family, and especially your staff are liking and sharing your social media posts. The average person has 200 Facebook friends, which means you probably have an exponential reach right within your four walls. Be sure to ask your staff to share your content, and give them some tips on best practices if they seem a bit shy. An incentive might sweeten the deal too. A week of coffee on the boss for the staff member who shares the most posts might be one idea worth thinking about.
Chances are that you have customers with a rockin’ social media presence. There are tools such as SocialRank.com that will let you sort through your followers using different filters to discover which ones have the greatest reach. Create a list and invite them to be an influencer for your business by trading goods and services for social media mentions. For example, if you own a gym, you might offer a free training session in exchange for a snap showcasing their experience. If you sell skin care, you might pre-release a new product to a core group of influencers in exchange for them sharing some great photos and a link to purchase. Just like the use of ambassadors, the result of this strategy is the potential to reach new people who may not be aware of your brand.
No matter what happens with the evolution of social media, some things won't change. Engaging your customers with great content and encouraging them to share their experiences are strategies that will never go out of style, no matter what new fad or trend pops up next. Sharpen up on the basics, and your social media presence will be as good as gold.
Need help lifting your game? We love helping small businesses and start-ups tell their story. Feel free to get in touch to ask a question or to learn more.