With your profile complete and your network building, you can now start working on creating content that will promote your business. So what should you post? And how often should you add something to your social media accounts?
It is virtually impossible to give sweeping advice on these questions that suits all businesses. What you post very much depends on what you are trying to communicate and whether your target market audience is location or industry based. How often you post depends on the platform you’ve chosen, and how active on social media your target audience typically is. (I’ve worked with numerous business equipment suppliers, local software developers, a cleaning chemical supplier and even a local community shopping centre – so as you can imagine, the requirements are different each time.) Additionally, DIY social media marketing requires finding a balance between putting enough time into it, and not letting it take up too much of your time.
So I’ll just suggest 5 ‘DOs’ and one important ‘DON’T’ to help guide you toward using your social media well:
1. DO post something ‘regularly’
You’ll notice the ethereal nature of the word regularly – that’s because everyone’s idea of what it means varies. For instance, many marketing and HR businesses post Twitter content multiple times a day, and cafés might add a new photo to their Instagram feed once a day. But for a DIY social media marketer operating a small B2B business, regular posts may just mean adding something new preferably each week, but AT LEAST once a month.
While the social media needs of different business vary, one thing is certain – if someone finds your Facebook page or Instagram feed and it hasn’t had any fresh content added to it for months, they’ll probably move on immediately, considering the account abandoned.
I know that many new entrants into the world of social media will be overwhelmed by this new ‘workload’ that they seem to have been lumped with, but ‘Don’t Panic’ – I’ll share with you a few ideas of how you can create some ‘easy’ content.
2. DO plan your activity
‘Spontaneous’ might be fun when sharing personal photos or experiences on social media with friends, but it isn’t usually the best approach for B2B marketing. Once you’ve decided how often you are going to post content, the next thing would be to plot out a plan of ‘what’ and ‘when’. I’d suggest rough planning of about 3 months of content in advance so you can look for photo opportunities and other ideas as you go about your daily activities.
So now, let’s briefly consider some ideas of content you can post:
• Product or business location shots
• Photos of you or your staff hard at work
• If you have success stories you can share – do so
• Picturesque photos of the region you work in (if possible)
• Appropriate humour
• Photos of local or trade events that you attend
• Current promotions or advertising
And while it’s one thing to plan what you will share, it is equally important to give thought to the wording that you will use when posting something. Messages that are correctly worded with proper spelling are easier to read and don’t raise ‘red flags’ in the reader’s mind about whether you know what you are talking about. So prepare your posts properly and proofread them carefully before sending them out into the ‘wide world.’
(Note: There is a lot that can be added about developing posts – so I’ll look to expanding on this subject in more detail soon.)
3. DO demonstrate your relevance
Your social media is a communication channel to potential or existing clients to help them learn more about you, your business and what you do. So aim to share information that gives them a reason to contact you. This is called ‘relevance’. Another way to describe relevance is as ‘the degree to which your audience considers your message worth listening to.’
So if you are a cleaning business targeting potential clientele in your area, you demonstrate relevance by showing that you are a ‘local’ and look after your clients. Your involvement in community activities or sharing images of local scenery you visit would also convey this message. You can also post success stories that demonstrate your results, along with the comments of happy customers.
But if your business needs to generate interest from a broader area, for example because you provide specialised services to a particular industry, you gain relevance by demonstrating your expertise and experience in your field. Your attendance at trade shows, involvement with industry bodies or connections with other experts in your field would demonstrate your active involvement in the trade.
4. DO use hashtags & mentions
Hashtags – social media users who search for a subject that interests them will find hashtags relating to that subject and posts with that tag in it, regardless of whether they follow the account that posted it or not. So you could gain an audience by using your location as a hashtag in your post (#SunshineCoast) or your industry (#PointofSale). Bear in mind that the broader the hashtag, the more posts that will contain it and your content could be lost in the crowd – so for instance, if you are a Café in Sydney, you are more likely to be found using #sydneycafe rather than #sydney or #cafe. Conversely, using hashtags that are too obscure will possibly mean that they’ll never get searched for at all – though creating an original hashtag that is picked up by a wide audience is a form of marketing in itself.
Mentions – this is where you place the account name of another social media user in your post – drawing their attention to the post, and linking them to your business by association. For instance, lets say that you are a business equipment supplier that has installed a new photocopier at a local office. You might take a photo of the shiny new machine to add to your social media, and as part of the text of the post you mention the company you installed the photocopier at. (Note: it is a good idea to ask for permission to do this from the business you are working with, but most won’t mind as you are promoting them as well) This leads us in to the next point…
5. DO collaborate
Do you have key suppliers or service providers that you work with regularly? Or other businesses in your industry that you don’t directly compete with that have similar target markets? Then find out if they have a social media presence and be sure to interact with them. If they post something on their account, you can ‘share’ (Facebook & LinkedIn) or ‘retweet’ (Twitter) their post so that it appears as a post on your account too.
There are numerous reasons to collaborate like this:
• It demonstrates your connection with like-minded businesses/brands
• It shows your connections/followers who you work with and what you are interested in
• It increases your exposure and audience reach
• In some cases, you may find opportunities for joint promotions
6. DON’T just advertise
This may sound slightly counter-intuitive, but small business accounts that only ever contain advertising often seem to be ignored, and not ‘followed’. Particularly with platforms that have strong private usage, such as Instagram and Facebook, remember that they are still ‘social’ media, and just like most of us mute the TV or change the channel when the ads come on, the same can apply here.
So my advice is mix it up, show your local or industry relevance, and share something of yourself. You’ll then have a greater chance of those in your target audience that find your account actually engaging with your content and potentially doing business with you.
OK – there is a lot of information in this post, so I hope it hasn’t been too overwhelming.
The aim here has been to provide some basic overall pointers to get you started down the path of regularly posting on your social media.
I’ll do my best to expand on them as this blog grows.