The potentially overwhelming world of social media that can’t be ignored.
I am by no stretch of the imagination a social media expert. I am writing this as a novice, as an owner of a creative small business and as someone who believes we should never give up learning. Several months ago I had an itch to challenge myself again and try something new. So, in short, I teamed up with three lively, creative and clever women to launch a community within our riverside town of Henley-on-Thames and we called it The Creative Duck (a little nod towards the river there).
Our aim is to provide a fun and informative community for creative individuals and small business owners. A space where we can all support, learn and collaborate together through talks and workshops, usually with a glass of something in hand. The latter part being fairly integral to the events.
Fast forward a couple of months from my itch and it’s the day after the night before (our first event which was a talk on social media) so I’m still buzzing from seeing 60 people united together by a common interest (creative stuff, a passion to learn and wine). I thought it would be useful to summarise some of the little pearls of wisdom that I feel I can take away and put into practise, from a ‘I’m still learning’ perspective.
So here goes.. The Top Three Tips…
Before you get started, it’s really useful to have a clear vision of how you want your small business represented. What is it’s style, tone of voice and personality? This will help when you start writing your posts, taking and selecting images to use and even choosing your hashtags. Decide upon one or two filters to use and stick the them. This will help keep your photos looking uniform and people will get to recognise your style. When you write your posts, imagine you’re talking to one person (a target audience ‘friend’). No one wants a hard sell so let people get to know your brand, show its personality and be fun with it.
Understand why you’re posting, what you’re posting and who you’re posting to. If you know your target market well, you should understand the best time of day to share your posts. If they’re not scroll on social media, they wont see it. Posts get more engagement from mothers, for example, around 6.30-7.00am when they wake up and after kids’ bedtime 7.30-10.00pm.
There are lots of APPs out there that can enhance your social media visibility and help you cut through the clutter:
- AdEspresso by Hootsuite directly (enables you to schedule your posts so you can reach your target market at the times they are most likely to be online, even if you’re not. If you're really organised you could schedule several posts for the week in one go). You can also do this directly on Facebook.
- Canva (creates professional looking designs for Instagram, Facebook, flyers and lots more. Really easy to use and you can incorporate your own photos or select from their range).
- Ripl (allows you to create little fun slideshows, using your photos. You can overlay with text, add your logo and choose from their music library).
- Iconosquare, Later, Buffer and Planoly (these are analytics and scheduling platform for Instagram).
It’s good to talk! This is so much easier to do on Instagram. Start interacting with your target market and your followers. Like and comment, but obviously be genuine. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the impact this has on your own post engagements and you’ll get to know some interesting people / small businesses in the process. Make sure you reply to people that have commented on your posts, especially if the posts are negative (you can always take it to a private message but don’t ignore it).
FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
For me personally, I’ve decided to focus on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll investigate setting up a business page on Pinterest a little later down the time. It's important to treat each platform separately, the content should differ, with just a little cross over. This means no hashtags on Facebook! I had nearly given up on my Facebook business page but then I learnt (ok, sort of vaguely understood) about algorithms. What I’m taking away from the talk, with regards to this platform, is:
- Get a pixel set up on my website (potentially each page). You can copy the code from your Ad Manager / Assets / Pixels, and then paste it into the code on your website. You might need to seek advice from your website provider on this. This pixel will help you build your ‘custom’ audience. Best to focus on them when running a Facebook Ad, then ‘lookilike’ people. ‘Core’ audience is simply ‘best fit’ so not as likely to be your target market as the other two audiences.
- Create Ads instead of just boosting your posts.
- Catching people’s attention with good visuals or animations. Facebook page posts spread they’re done well, have good content etc.
I find Instagram so much easier to understand. I enjoy following individuals and small businesses that are doing it well and this is the best way to learn I feel. Key points I’m taking away from the talk are:
- Choose a couple of filters and stick to them.
- Use lots of hashtags. Ones that you think your target audience searching might look up (if they’re relevant to your product obviously).
- Don’t just share posts of your product. Share some ‘behind the scenes’ content so your followers can get to know your brand better.
- Try to do a couple of posts a day, at the appropriate times to your target audience. This will increase your followers and help them get to know your better and increase the chances of converting to a sale.
All in all, I feel like I’ve learnt loads from the talk (thank you Aspen from Hello Henley)! Now I just need the TIME to start doing it all but I’m realising fast that this social media ‘stuff’ can’t be ignored!
READ - Profitable Social Media Marketing by Tim Cameron-Kitchen
LOOK UP - Natasha Courtney-Smith (author, blogger and social media guru)
FOLLOW - Micro Influencers like Kat Farmer ‘@doesmybumlook40’
Facebook has 1.49 billion people using it per month (double what it was in 2011) Twitter: 300 million total users
Instagram: 77 million total users spend an average of twenty-one minutes per day using the app. That is 50% longer than they spend on mail, phone calls and email.
Of the 7.2 billion people on earth, 3 billion have Internet access; 2.1 billion are active on social media; and 1.7 billion use social networks from a mobile device
The number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018
(source: Hello Henley)