We know some pretty smart ladies. Every few months we have one of those women share their expertise and take stage on the Betty blog.
Today, Bethany Petano, Social Media Consultant is sharing some of her tips of the who what and how to do social media. Be sure to check out her website for more career advice.
With over sixty percent of all American adults on Facebook, it’s safe to say most people know how to use social media. You share life’s special moments with far-flung family, exchange recipes with complete strangers, and ask for prayers and support during tough times. But when it comes to using social media professionally, many small business owners are stumped. What do I share? With who? When? On which platform?
Let’s start with “what” – value added content. Things your customers will benefit from knowing. For example, daily specials for a restaurant, schedule changes for a yoga studio, weekly sale items. All these things are information your customers want to know. Social media provides you with a vehicle to reach them and keep them informed.
Now “who” are you sharing this value added content with? Ideally your customers. But how to find them? In order to make sure your news reaches your customers, you first must figure out where your customers hang out. Are they on Facebook? Do they prefer to tweet or pin? Looking at the competition can help you gain clarity. Knowing which platforms are popular in your industry makes it easier to find your customers and encourage them to follow you.
After you’ve found your customers, you need to look at when they hang out. Are they morning birds, checking their newsfeeds before work? Do they check in after dinner? Facebook has a great built-in tool for business pages called Insights. It shows you which days and times your followers are most active, allowing you to schedule posts when you know your fans will be online, and, in turn, boosting your engagement.
Still not sure how exactly this all applies to you? Let’s look at some examples. Imagine you’re the owner of a boutique offering women’s clothing and accessories. The new spring line has just arrived at the store. Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook all have the potential for engagement. Those same mannequins that you dress in the latest threads and display in your storefront windows make for great social media posts. Better yet, share a photo of your staff or customers modeling the latest fashions and share that. Once you have your photo of the new must-have spring look, head over to Instagram, play around with some filters and effects if you wish, add some pithy hashtags – #springhassprung #newlook, and share. The great part about sharing on Instagram is that it allows you to also push that post out to Facebook, giving you two posts for the time investment of one. Over on Pinterest, you can create a “Spring Line” board and pin images of the newly arrived clothes and accessories. Those pins will direct your customers back to your website where they can also purchase your latest offerings.
Now let’s pretend you’re a chef at a farm to table vegetarian restaurant. There are a plethora of content pieces you can share – images of daily specials, links to stories about the farms your vegetables come from, reminders about tasting events, links to articles touting the benefits of a plant-based diet, photos of staff and customers, and surveys for favorite dishes. It’s important to remember you do NOT have to create all original content. Sharing posts and articles from outside sources not only increases your credibility as an authority in your industry, but it also saves you valuable time. Some great tools for mining content include Twitter, Pinterest, and even Facebook. If you’ve done your research, and follow both your competition, and the thought leaders for your industry you have access to any and all content they share. And since everybody loves a retweet or a reshare you are boosting both your engagement with your customer and your industry.
But what if you don’t have a physical product? For a moment, allow all your inner rock-n-roll fantasies to come true and pretend you’re part of a touring band. Obvious posts include upcoming shows, photos of the band, and information on how to procure CD’s or downloads. Those are all value added content that your fans want to see, but they also want to see backstage, behind the scenes. We’re all a little voyeuristic, preferring to see candid rather than canned moments. One way to do this is with video. Clips of sing-alongs on the road, footage of that dude with the crazy dance moves at the last show, snippets from rehearsal – these all make for interesting posts your fans will be excited to see. In addition to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all allow video. It’s important to know when sharing these clips, native Facebook video (video that is uploaded directly to Facebook and not shared via a link to another platform) outperforms YouTube and other video formats giving you an edge in the Facebook algorithm.
Which brings us to our final conundrum – how to get your posts seen. Tweets are shown in reverse chronological order (meaning the most recent posts are shown at the top of your feed), as are Instagram posts for the time being, but Facebook uses an algorithm called Edgerank to determine which posts are seen by whom and when. Your Facebook news feed is ordered based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content shared, your relationship with the person sharing, and the timeliness of the post. These are all things to remember when sharing on your Facebook business page. Encourage your customers and fans to follow you. Make sure to share value-added content during the times you know they’re online. Be actively engaged – respond to comments, ask questions, people poll your audience, get involved, tag your constituents – all of these will open the lines of communication with your audience and show Edgerank your posts are valuable.
Regardless of which platform you choose to use, don’t forget social media is an extension of your in-person customer interactions. Treat your followers, in the same manner, you would if they were in your store. Respect and kindness are the ultimate value added content.
Guest Author, Bethany Petano