When I ask business owners about their social media presence, I often see a look of panic in their eyes. They know they should be on Facebook and Instagram . . . but what about SnapChat? Or Twitter? And what even is Tik Tok? As someone whose job it is to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of social media, I understand these fears. It certainly seems like there’s a new platform to master every time you turn around; and when you add paid ads and boosted posts into the equation, it’s no wonder that so many business owners throw their hands up in the air and let their social media presence sit on the back burner.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Social media is a powerful tool to grow your business. And while a digital marketing agency can help you use that tool to its fullest potential, there are a few simple steps that any business owner can take to master their social media platforms. When managed correctly, social media is a way to communicate directly with customers without constantly needing to reinvent the wheel. Consider this your chance to press RESET on your relationship with social media!
Get Back to Basics
First thing’s first: know your limits. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting your business on every social media platform imaginable. But as a business owner, your time and energy is a valuable and limited resource. Use it wisely by carefully deciding which platforms will best help you achieve your specific goals.
- Facebook is where communities thrive. According to the Pew Research Institute, as of February 2019, 69% of U.S. adults use Facebook on a daily basis. This platform is optimized for business-consumer conversations and can be an untapped resource for finding out what your customers are looking for, understanding their purchasing decisions, and answering their frequently asked questions.
- Instagram is all about the visuals. For an FEC, this is a great platform to show off how much fun is being had at your facility . . . but that means that you (or someone you delegate) should be taking and sharing up-to-date photos on a regular basis. Stock photos aren’t going to do you any favors here. Instagram users value authenticity, so post accordingly!
- Twitter is a great place to carry on a conversation. It’s most effective for businesses that have the time/manpower to monitor it regularly. Customer service is the name of the game here, so being able to answer customer questions, address concerns, and occasionally de-escalate a problem are key qualities in an effective Twitter strategy.
- Google Posts get straight to the point! While this platform lacks the community building features that other social media thrives on, leveraging Google Posts can have a profound impact on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as well as help your customers find the most vital pieces of information quickly when they search for it. Share specials, upcoming events, and schedule changes to make the most of this resource.
When it comes to social media platforms outside of these usual suspects, consider your resources. Are the time and energy spent to excel in the latest social space worth the potential outcome? Ask yourself:
- Are my customers using this new platform?
- Is there a previously untapped customer base using this platform?
- Am I making the most of my current social media accounts?
- Does this new platform have staying power, or is it just a fad?
The instinct to be an early adopter is understandable, but in the case of social media marketing, it’s better to do a few things extremely well than to do everything half-heartedly.
When You Fail to Plan, You’re Planning to Fail
I’ll let you in on a secret . . . the most powerful tool in the belt of a social media manager is a content calendar. It would be difficult for me to come up with off-the-cuff content for every client when it comes time to post, and I do this for a living! As a business owner, you have approximately a million items on your to-do list; planning your social media content ahead of time is a simple way to check that item off of your list and make room for other things. Give these best practices a shot:
- How often are you posting? An ideal content schedule varies for every industry, and being flexible is key. If you find that posting 5x a week is a little excessive, pull back to 2 or 3 weekly posts instead. Some platforms, like Twitter, can handle a higher volume of daily content, while your Instagram followers might get annoyed if their news feeds are flooded with your posts. Adjust accordingly!
- No one likes the hard sell 100% of the time. Social media is meant to be fun! While it’s important to share business info and upcoming events or specials with your followers, don’t be afraid to branch off. Ask questions, share videos and industry news, and give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your business and employees. Social content should entertain, inform, or persuade . . . just be sure to mix things up from time to time.
- Do you have any upcoming events you want to make sure to promote? Add it to the content calendar (and the sooner, the better)! Is there a local school break that you’d like to capitalize on? Add it to the calendar! Do you love celebrating wacky holidays? You guessed it. . . on the calendar! Planning these details ahead of time doesn’t only guarantee a well-balanced social strategy, but also removes the pressure to come up with new content every single time you sit down to write.
- Are you scheduling your posts ahead of time? Facebook Creator Studio now allows business owners to schedule both Facebook AND Instagram posts (this is a game-changer) and tools such as Tweetdeck make scheduling Twitter posts a breeze (and as a bonus, it’s also an excellent tool for tracking Twitter engagement and responding to tweets).
Looking for a great content calendar tool? At TrustWorkz, we LOVE Airtable, a project management tool that makes planning a breeze. If Airtable isn’t for you, don’t worry. There are tons of options out there!
Be True to Your Brand
This one is simple. You’ve spent $$$ on branding and invested years into your business. It would be a shame to throw that out the window when it comes to social media. Consistency is key.
- Establish your brand standards—such as colors, fonts, etc—and use them in your marketing materials so that customers know at a glance when a post is coming from your business.
- Create a digital folder of photos that are okay to use on social platforms. Make sure no rules are being broken and that all the images are high quality (and not blurry!). Then let your team know that these images are fair game for social media posts.
- Know your “voice” and stick to it! The voice of your business is the specific writing style and tone used to communicate with customers. Make sure that anyone who is speaking as or for your business online understands that voice. Whether it’s formal and professional or more playful, speaking to your audience with a consistent voice will help establish the kind of relationship you want to have with your customers, and help avoid any uncomfortable miscommunications in the future.
Make It A Conversation
If you’ve managed to establish a community on social media, it’s important to keep them engaged! This can mean a myriad of things:
- Ask your audience to share photos they’ve taken at your facility. User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful way to connect with your audience and show your appreciation for their patronage.
- Respond to reviews, comments, and questions quickly. Being able to answer the questions your customers are asking on social media not only helps establish your business as an authority on the subject but also opens up lines of communication between your biz and your customers that can be beneficial to everyone.
- Encourage engagement with the content you post. This one can be tricky because Facebook is still punishing “engagement bait”, but the more you can get your audience to interact with your posts, the better! This engagement will also come in handy if you decide to run paid ads. As a general rule, social content that encourages your audience to join the conversation will always give you a leg-up.
Put Your $$$ Where Your Audience Is
Three things in life are unavoidable: death, taxes, and Facebook ads. More and more we’re seeing social media platforms move to a “pay-to-play” model, meaning that it’s harder to get your organic content in front of audiences. If you have a marketing budget and want to be seen by users beyond your current followers, paid ads can do some incredible things. The options for targeting specific audiences are vast, and the ads team here at TrustWorkz are masters of making your money work for you when it comes to digital advertising. Don’t hesitate to give it a shot!
At the end of the day, only you can decide how your time as a business owner is best spent. Social media doesn’t have to be an unmanageable monster, but if it becomes one, remember you aren’t alone! Whether you’re ready to hire a team to tackle your social content, or you’re just trying to get a grasp on which platforms would be best for your business, the TrustWorkz team is here to help! Call, email, or give us a shout-out on social and let us answer all of your digital marketing questions!