Social media: it's not just for your tech savvy nephew anymore. Businesses of all sizes are making the most of their reach on social media to connect with their customers and promote awareness of their brand. Though it may seem simple at first, how you choose to present your business on these platforms can make or break your image. Here are a few best practices to get you started on promoting your business on social media:
Facebook is the longest-standing social media platforms out there, and with 1.7 billion monthly active users, it is definitely the most popular. Creating a proper business page is the first step of any Facebook social media strategy. Input all the correct information for your business and verify your phone number to imporve your page's SEO within Facebook, earning you the coveted black checkmark on your business page. Get your friends and family to "like" the page to accrue an early following that will let others know that you are a real business on Facebook.
After the setup is done, it's finally time for your first post! Be sure to include an image with every post, giving your followers a behind the scenes look at what you do and what your business looks like. Whether it's an employee pulling out a sheet of freshly baked cookies from an oven or an action shot of an Instagram influencer sporting your latest line of sweat-resistant gear, your photography should be of the highest quality available to you (iPhones 5's and better are great!) and tell a story. Facebook will only show your post to roughly about 30% of your following, so be sure to boost quality posts to enhance their effectiveness. Putting just a few dollars behind a post that announces a new product or a seasonal deal can make a huge difference in the impact of the post and help you reach people that otherwise would have never seen your post.
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Instagram's popularity has surged over the past years and is now the second most popular platform with 500 million monthly active users. Unlike Facebook, however, Instagram's demographic is not yet large enough to be representative of the general population. The audience tends to be younger, be slightly more female, and extremely active. Over 50% of users follow at least one business account on their profile and users that have used the app to shop log into the app at least 6 days a week, making Instagram an extremely effective tool to reach your followers. Setting up your Instagram account as a business account also provides you with great insights to what kind of content is generating the most impressions and interactions.
A great way to generate more activity on your profile is by using the proper hashtags to drive traffic that will be interested in your product. Only use hashtags that are actually relevant to the content being shown, and use hashtags that people would actually search for. Unless you are already insta-famous, do not use your own brand's name in social media as no one is likely to be searching specifically for your brand. For example, instead of using #JanesBakery, use #cookies #brownies #treats. Look up popular hashtags for your business. #Eeeeeats (with five e's!), #yum, and #nom, for example, are all very popular for foods and will drive traffic to your images of food.
Formerly a major cornerstone of social media, Twitter has taken a backseat to Instagram in popularity. Nevertheless, Twitter still has a strong place in your social media strategy. Twitter users tend to be older, more educated, and earn higher than the general population. It's best for sharing press on your company as it is easy to mention journalists and bloggers that worked hard to get your business featured on their publication. When sharing third party content like an article from your favorite bakery blog, be sure to shout them out on Twitter to let them know you enjoyed the article. People in journalism are actually on Twitter and will see your mention, likely retweeting you in the process.
A big mistake many first time Tweeters make is starting their tweet with a mention. For example, "@JanesBakery thank you so much for the cupcakes!" This will make it so that JanesBakery sees it but no one else will as this is a shortcut for a DM, or direct mention. Start it with a period to make sure everyone can see it: ".@JanesBakery thank you so much for the cupakes!" would be the correct way to input it to Twitter.
Social Media Management Tools
Does all of this seems really overwhelming? Do you wish you could easily schedule all your posts in one place, and then have them post themselves throughout the week? Don't worry, there are plenty of tools to help you! Our favorite to use is HeyOrca, as it puts all your posts in an easy-to-understand calendar format and lets your publish directly from the platform onto Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you have a business that benefits from scheduled posts, it is definitely the tool to use!
Social media is a fun way to promote your business and connect with your community. You'll get to show your customers a side of you that they may not have seen before. It gives your business a human touch that is increasingly becoming an important factor in a buyer's decision-making process. Measure your success not just by likes and follows, but by the interactions brought on through each of the platforms. Once your customers can see how much fun you're having making your product, they'll want to get in on it too.