In the last year we have experienced a tremendous increase in the number of conversations and inquiries about social media. Most business owners know that they need to have a presence on social media but are not sure where to start. Those that have tried are quickly overwhelmed with the amount of work involved in curating and creating content, publishing on multiple social platforms, following up with responses—it becomes a job in itself.
Social Media Management
A frequent, and usually unsuccessful, solution is to have a young member of your team become the “social media person” for the company. “After all,” you may be thinking, “they seem to be on Facebook all the time!”.
We say usually unsuccessful because the messaging that is frequently distributed may not be what you as the owner really want to be said about your company. Then there is the problem with employee turnover. What happens when your social media person leaves the company, or just stops showing up? Does anyone else know how to get into the accounts and change the passwords? We’ve witnessed several instances where the employee managing Facebook posts becomes disgruntled over something and sends out a flurry of posts detrimental to the company.
If you are one of those business owners that is feeling overwhelmed by social media and not sure where to start, we’re going to offer some easy to implement solutions in this article. For those who feel that it takes a big budget for advertising and branding on social media, we have hope as well. It doesn’t, but you need a solid plan in place before you start to make sure you control costs.
Why Every Business Should Create A Social Media Marketing Plan
Let us start with some reasons why every business needs to consider adding social media to their marketing plan. The statistics are compelling:
- 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. (Source: Ambassador)
- Visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media than any other type of content. (Source: HubSpot)
- 90.4% of Millennials use social media daily. 77.5% Gen X. 48.2% Baby Boomers. (Source: Emarketer 2019)
How Many Social Media Platforms Should You Be Active On?
For most businesses it is no longer an option to have at least a basic presence on social media. Which leads to the next obvious question, “how many social media platforms do I need to be active on?”.
For the answer to this question, we must emphasize the importance of these questions: who is your ideal customer? What social media platforms are they visiting on a regular basis? Those are the platforms you need to be on!
Let us be more specific and address the major social media channels. We know there are more than these, but from a business owners perspective these are the primary social channels to evaluate:
Facebook: Every business and professional practice needs a Facebook business page.
LinkedIn: We feel every business owner should have a basic LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind your profile is not your resume! Rather, it is a place for you to share the value proposition(s) for your business and why other business owners should consider connecting with you.
Instagram: Do you have a high percentage of Millennials as customers? You need to be here.
Twitter: For most business owners this is not necessary. If you’re in the hospitality arena you can take advantage of the immediacy of posting to your Twitter followers, but most industries will not need this platform. Even so, there are two reasons to consider using Twitter.
First is that when you post you can create backlinks to your website, a landing page, or offer that you are promoting. This can augment your efforts to get your sites found online. Second, Twitter is an easy place to use @links to keep up with things happening in your industry.
YouTube: There can be a lot of value for businesses in using YouTube. If you have any video for your business, or hope to have in the future, then creating a YouTube channel is important.
Reddit: This is an interesting option. When you post content on Reddit it is voted on by other users. Popular content stays visible, less popular gets pushed down in the results. The reason a business should consider posting to Reddit is what are called “subreddits”. These are boards dedicated to specific topics. An example: if you have a veterinary practice, you could create real value by participating in a board on pet care.
Tumblr: 39% of visitors are under the age of 25, another 26% between 25 and 35 years old. A content ban at the end of 2018 significantly impeded the growth of Tumblr, and usage lags far behind the other platforms we’ve listed. Unless you specifically target a younger demographic like “young parents”, you don’t need to be here.
Google Business Page: While not technically a “social media” site, your GBP accepts posts, images, and video. Google has placed a lot of emphasis on using this page, so if you’re going to have a social media program it makes sense to include a GBP.
Another way to think about social media and the specific sites to consider working with, is the fact that each one becomes a digital storefront for your business. The same customers that walk into your physical location are going to find value in your social media “store”.
A Social Media Presence Is A “Top of Mind” Strategy
We want to transition now from talking about the different social media platforms to how you can best use them as part of your marketing. Perhaps the most important fact to keep in mind when it comes to social media marketing is that your posts are a “top of mind” strategy. What does that mean?
Simply this: your posts disappear quickly. You must post frequently and across platforms to keep your name and brand in front of potential customers.
This is an essential difference between social media and other marketing channels. Your website is easy to find every day. Video content can be searched and watched today, next week, or next year. But social media posts are like radio ads—they are gone quickly. That doesn’t mean that someone can’t scroll and find an old post, but with the volume of content being uploaded to these platforms hourly, it is less likely that someone will do this.
This brings up the obvious question: how often do I need to post? Here’s the general policy we follow for our clients:
Twitter: 4x daily
Facebook: 2x daily
LinkedIn: 1x daily
Instagram: 3x daily
GBP: 1x daily
The reason we do this is because a typical post will only be seen by 12% of your followers. Making multiple posts of the same content will increase the likelihood that it is being engaged with by your ideal customers. A second reason is that social networks promote consistency.
Social Content That Generates Business
As a business owner you are not considering a social media strategy just to be cool, your efforts need to have a realistic chance of generating new business. How do you do that?
According to broadbandsearch.net, who interviewed several thousand social media users across all age ranges and learned some interesting things:
48% of people said that “being responsive” will encourage them to buy
46% said offering promotions
42% said providing educational content
27% said providing “behind the scenes” content
26% said being funny
Another way to interpret this study is simply that your social media content needs to be engaging and focused on bringing value to the viewer. How do you do that?
Social Strategy For Bringing Value To Your Viewers
We’re going to share with you in some detail the process we follow here at Alchemy for curating/creating content for our clients. In doing so we encourage you to take this process and implement it for your own business.
We use an acronym, “RECIPE” as a guideline for creating and publishing content. Here’s what that means:
Recreational content is the more humorous component in your strategy. This might include jokes relevant to your business niche, recognition of holidays, funny cartoons or graphics (again related to your business niche), or an interesting historical note for something that happened on this day.
Educational content could be tips and tricks you offer that are connected to your product or service, facts or interesting trivia, case studies, trends and research that might be of interest to a broad spectrum of your readers. Your goal is for people to stop and think, “wow, I didn’t know that”.
Conversational content is a place to ask for advice from your followers or ask them questions. You can post surveys or polls, This vs That content, really anything that gets people talking with each other and engaging with the content, and subconsciously with your brand.
Inspirational posts are interesting quotes from famous and not so famous people, client success stories, before/after images or stories, and inspiring images that evoke the basic humanity that we all share.
Do you notice anything about these first four categories of posts? We haven’t suggested you say anything about your company; no promotions or offers or chest beating. Why? The point is to engage your audience with you in a way that is not ‘salesy’. Remember, people love to buy but hate to be sold.
Promotional. OK, now we start to get more specific about your company. With promotional content you can feature your 5-star reviews, invite people to attend a live demonstration or webinar for your products and services, make a specific offer or give a discount. This is where you can begin to take the good will you’ve been creating with the other categories of posts and invite your readers to become customers.
Entrepreneurial posts continue to focus more on your business. Here you can share your mission, vision, and values. Posts featuring an employee or partner are effective at demonstrating the humanness of your business. Sharing something about your personal life, jogging with your dog for example, will help people relate to you as the owner of your business.
We have found this formula to be an antidote to the consistent shrill promotions that many companies use social media for. At the same time, it is important to invite prospects to engage and become customers, so just posting puppy videos isn’t enough either!
If you decide to utilize the RECIPE formula, let us also suggest the frequency you should consider for each type of post. For most businesses posting during the business week is adequate, some choose to also publish on Saturday. Whether you spread your posts on social media across five or six days, we would do so like this:
Recreational: 6 posts/week
Educational: 5 posts/week
Conversational: 4 posts/week
Inspirational: 3 posts/week
Promotional: 2 posts/week
Entrepreneurial: 1 post/week
You may be looking at this schedule and wondering if there are enough calls to buy. Our answer is yes, over time this formula will generate customers. Social media posting is a process of engagement, of brand development and acceptance over time…it is not a used car lot.
One more insight about social media we’d like to share. At the top of the page for most of your sites is a header area. If you are like 99% of your competitors, you put some information and maybe a photo here when you initially built the site and haven’t thought about it since.
That’s a mistake. If the point of your social media posting, and the time/cost you are investing, is to create a relationship with prospects and turn them into customers, why are you not using this giant “billboard” at the top of your sites as a marketing tool? If you want people to continue to come back to your site, show them something different on a regular basis.
A few weeks before the 4th of July, create a patriotic banner. For Halloween or Thanksgiving or any other holiday you can easily do the same. Having an end of summer promotion? Create a header that tells people about it.
We’re sure you see our point. This is valuable marketing space that has a lot of eyes on it. Take advantage of that by rotating your images and content throughout the year. We do this as a part of our Social Media programs for our clients, so here again if you have questions let us know.
We started this article by offering hope to business owners that are feeling overwhelmed by social media. If you design a program for curating and creating content along the lines of the RECIPE formula, and implementing a consistent posting program, we are confident that in a very short time you will begin to see the benefits from this effort.
Need Help Implementing A Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy?
At Alchemy, we’re a digital marketing agency who has experience in developing and implementing effective social media marketing strategies for businesses across a variety of industries. We’d be happy to sit down with you and discuss your business and how we can incorporate social media into your marketing efforts to help increase your online presence and grow your business. Call us today 877-978-2110.