Businesses need to be in the social space. Plain and simple. And one of the most obvious places to start is with Facebook. But once your business is there, the real question is “what now?”
1. Understand your audience: look at the analytics on your page.
- What time of day are they visiting your page?
- How old are they? Male or Female?
- Where do they live?
- What posts have they been more engaged in?
2. Post for them, not for you.
One of the most confusing things about social media is figuring out what content to deliver and then how to turn that content in to true return for the business.
- Do not post only about sales and marketing efforts. Think of your Facebook audience as your friends that you would like to do business with. You have to develop a relationship with them before you ask them to buy!
- Do not post only about you or your business’s interests. That’s great that you all pride yourself in a cause–health and wellness, patriotism, whatever it may be. But remember that in most cases, even though posting about these things are a good way to get your audience to know you better, you have to share content that will also engage and interest them! What do they like? Find ways to expand beyond the business, its products or services and it’s defining interests and values.
- If you are a local business, post local things! This seems simple but many businesses miss on this one. Share things that are going on around your audience. People love to know what’s happening in their own back yard.
3. Listen and respond.
- I was in NYC this past Thanksgiving and was Tweeting/Instagramming pictures during the parade. Many of the companies of the balloons that I was posting were Retweeting or Liking my posts. It mean something! The ones who listened to what was being said about them seized a huge opportunity.
- Businesses used to control their marketing. Now the audience really does. Listen and respond to your customers and they will in turn be a part of your marketing plan!
- ***You may not think it’s a big deal if you respond within a day or two, but I promise you, you will capitalize on this. It is worth it. It is worth it.
- Don’t be afraid to have an opinion. There are always going to be “bullies” on social media. People feel safe behind their devices and will often say more than they would in person. Be polite and considerate, but don’t be afraid to speak your position and respond. People want to know there’s a human behind that business fan page!
4. Have a sense of humor and give your posts a voice.
Even if you are in a serious industry, try to post some things that are light-hearted and have a voice of their own.
5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- It’s a social world.
- You’re human.
- Mistakes will be made.
- Life goes on.
- Social Media is not a fad–it’s not going away. There will be plenty of posts to come.
6. When you do make a mistake, apologize!
When a post doesn’t go over well, when you’ve said something that may have offended someone unintentionally, the gut reaction can be to delete the post or at least delete the unfavorable comments of your audience. Before you go there, consider apologizing. If you really mean it, saying “I’m sorry” will go a long way.
7. Make the time to do it.
- You and your staff are running a business. You’re maxed out and running on all cylinders. How on earth are you going to add in something that seems “extra” like social media? It’s not the cherry on top anymore. This is how business is done. Social has to be integrated in to everyday business life.
- Likely there are some older processes that can be streamlined to make way for the new way of doing business.
- You don’t have to spend a ton of time, but it’s worth creating a plan up front.
- How many times a week will you post?
- What’s the goal for the types of posts?
- Who will be doing it?
- Who will be listening?
*picture courtesy of Anum Hussain