802Social on the Mic!

Last week I had the honor of speaking to a group of eager marketing students at the University of Vermont. We limited ourselves to social media in the hospitality industry for this discussion, but as you know, I’m a champion of social media marketing for industries and organizations across the board.

The group of about 25 students was tasked with either creating a new Facebook page or starting their own website for an imaginary business. Despite also having website guru Mike Lannen of Eternity in the house, most folks decided to go the Facebook route; an imaginary profile page seemed a little less daunting in the moment than devising a detailed website architecture, I guess…

As the group ventured down their social media rabbit hole, far beyond the bounds of Facebook or a simple website, suddenly everyone had questions and concerns. Not so easy after all, I guess…

Here’s a few questions that stood out among the many.

"How do you feel about a lot of hashtags being used in a post?"
I consider each platform a bit differently with regards to hashtags. Instagram allows as many as 30 hashtags on any single post. I generally don't recommend using all 30, but hashtags really unlock the secret of Instagram, so the more the merrier, really.

My go-to is usually about 12. Hashtags help people discover your content. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 hashtags on any given post connects you to a lot of different categories and people, without looking too spammy.

For Facebook, I prefer 1-3. Hashtags are a bit less effective on Facebook, though they still help communicate and connect. #802Social #socialmedia #networking #vtbiz

“What do you think about buying an Instagram Like?"
My simple answer... NO! Don’t do it!! Paying for “Likes” is just bad business. Concentrate on creating and sharing compelling content that will earn your posts real Likes from real people.

"What about Snapchat for businesses?"
Snapchat has muscled its way to the front of the line with anyone between the ages of 18 and 22. I use Snapchat in my personal life, but not for my business, nor have I recommended it for any of my clients. At this point, Snapchat isn't quite user-friendly or effective enough for businesses. With Facebook and Instagram still way too dominant in the field, Snapchat has some work yet to do to catch up.

As with everything in the social media world though, keep an eye one it. These spaces and services are constantly evolving. Social media professionals are out there keeping pace with all the trends and changes, so reach out and stay connected to know how the landscape looks from day to day.

“What about all the other questions we have?”
Questions continued, I could hear the hands wringing, but unfortunately our time was up for the day. It never ceases to amaze me the questions I'm asked when I speak with a group. The world of social media marketing can be truly unrelenting, and simply too much for a lot of people to keep up with.

That frustration a lot of people feel was one of the biggest reasons I got into the business; helping local business owners get a handle on their social media marketing can be instantly gratifying. I love seeing how relieved they can be to have someone else take the wheel for a while!

That’s why I’m here.

Questions answered at 802Social

Why Your Business Should Use Social Media

Day in and day out I hear grumbling from business owners about their social media woes. Probably the most common questions, complaints, or concerns I hear aren’t even about the success of their social media efforts, but apprehensions about getting in the social media game in the first place.

We in the biz call these “pain points.” Generally, pain points refer to specific problems prospective customers of your business are experiencing, problems that you can then work to solve, thus creating value for your customers, and customers for your business. But pain points can also refer to problems you as a business owner are experiencing, like trying to wrap your head around social media. It would be my job then to create solutions to these problems.

The Top 3 Pain Points I Hear Most Often:

o   “I just don’t get it. Why do I need to use it?”

o   “I don’t have time.”

o   “What would I even post?”

 

I just don’t get it. How it will help my business?

So, you have a website, right? Most likely you do. At the time, you probably weren’t sure why you needed that either, besides the obvious fact that everyone else seemed to be doing it. I mean, what’s wrong with a simple ad in the phone book!

You knew to run a successful business you needed a place for people to learn more about you, contact you, shop your services or products, etc. But how are people discovering new businesses and seeking the products they need these days? How would they find you if you didn’t have a website, and once you did jump on the digital bandwagon, how would they know to look for your there?

Word of mouth has been the most fundamental and essential social media tool we’ve ever known, and that’s not changing any time soon. Your personal email signature, business cards, are radio/tv spots are a few of the other most common ways businesses have always spread the word.

And then there was social media… Imagine if you could use social media in all of its interconnected glory to connect with your community, engage them in your business, and drive people directly to your website where your community becomes your customers.

Easy peasy, right…? Actually, there’s a sophisticated methodology, in fact an entire industry behind that simple redirect. Social media is about connecting people & building relationships. When we build relationships, we build trust, and as we all know, trust is critical for successful businesses.

This is what we like to call the “know, like, trust” factor. When people get to know you, and they like you, they are more willing to do business and exchange money with you because they trust you.

See, it’s not like we’ve been telling you about social media for no reason, there is a method to the madness, I promise!

 

What in the world would I post about!?!

Your phone book ad, your business card, your billboard, they’re all static; they’re two-dimensional information only promotions. They’re basically just all business cards of different sizes. The only problem a business card ever solved was a wobbly table.

Your social media posts can deliver so much more! Depending on your audience and your industry, with social media, you can engage with and invite people to see inside and understand your business and the solutions you offer in ways a business card could never do.

  1. Behind the scenes. People love to get a sneak behind the curtains. You may think what’s going on back there is boring, but to the folks that aren’t toiling away there every day, it can be quite fascinating. Taking your customers behind the scenes is also a great way to build a tangible relationship between your business and your customers, it helps people connect, and connections are what people put their trust in and where they spend their money.  
  2. Entertain your audience with a fun fact about products, your services, and your industry. Be creative. Present your content in popular “hashtag days” like #motivationalmonday, #hottiptuesday, or #thirstythursday. (Speaking of hashtags...well, let’s save that for another blog!)
  3. Ask for feedback! Social media is all about engaging. Asking for feedback is a great way to get your community involved and have them feel invested in what you’re doing, and being a part of something. If you’re a blogger, ask for suggestions on what people would like to read about next. If you’re looking to make changes in the products you sell, ask your audience to weigh in on what they would like. Or it could be as simple as, “Which is your favorite season and why?” The important part here, is that if you do ask a question, be sure to acknowledge the answers and keep the conversation going.

 

“Customers report spending 20% – 40% more money on brands that have interacted with them on social media. Some people may consider social media followers a vanity metric that does not relate to more profits, but this statistic proves that simply isn’t true!”

- Lyfe Marketing

 

I just don’t have the time!

Ready to take the plunge, but can’t find a minute to do so? Create a social media editorial calendar, or consider a scheduling app to help you coordinate your efforts. You don’t have to be online all the time, you just have to find a time to check in and engage with your audience. Maybe over coffee in the morning, or as your settling down for a few minutes at night.

There are of course strategies upon strategies and best practices to help guide your social media efforts, but simply getting in the game should be your first priority; you can figure out the rest as you get comfortable and start seeing the results of your efforts.

Truth is, you most likely hired someone to build your website, because your website should look cool, and work, and you had no idea how to build it, what it should say, or what it should do. The same can be done for your social media marketing.

At 802Social, we strive to help businesses not only to succeed in their social media marketing efforts, but to understand the power and importance behind the investment. We have the time, and we know how to use it. Give us a call and we’ll help get you started!

 

Go Social with 802Social

Facebook Groups: Connecting Your Community

In my blog post from last August about Growing Your Facebook Business Page, I noted with some amazement that by the first quarter of 2017, Facebook had 1.94 billion active monthly users; by the fourth quarter, that number jumped to 2.2 billion! Of those 2.2 billion individual users, one billion belong to Facebook Groups.

Facebook has long held to its original mission statement, which committed the platform to giving “people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” There is no question they still do that, but in 2017, Facebook introduced the company’s new mission statement which envisions providing, “people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

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This focus on building communities and groups, is a natural evolution of the way we interact every day. Groups can galvanize new possibilities, and forge new, active, and important webs of connection.

Create Your Group
Anyone can create a group. Chances are, there’s already a group out there rallied around your particular interest. Do your research before you create your own group. Type your interest in the search bar at the top of the page and choose “Groups” from the list of possible search categories.

Groups can be small, just you and your siblings, or you and your office mates, or a much larger community of like minds in your industry. If you find groups related to your business or interests already exist, join up! Plugging into a group offers insights into trends and discussion you otherwise might be missing, allows you to keep an eye on the conversation, and provides an opportunity to present your brand’s perspective.

Set your notifications to alert you whenever there’s a new posting so you can stay on top of the conversation, at least for a little while.

Attract Like Minds
When you begin to set up your group, you'll need to decide on a name that resonates with the community you’re looking to connect with. Search for names you think work best to make sure they haven’t already been taken.

Make sure whatever name you choose clearly represents what your group is about. It's not necessary to make a single catch-all group, you may want to create smaller, more individualized groups focused on specific services or products your business offers. For example, TV networks have groups for their entire network, and separate groups for individual programs.

Invite people to join your group. Colleagues, employees, friends and family will help get things started. Spread the word by cross-promoting your new group on other platforms and reaching out specifically to active contributors to your Facebook Page or similar groups; let them know you’re creating a group that you’d love them to be a part of.

Privacy & Personality
There are three types of groups on Facebook, depending on the group's privacy settings:

· Open – Anyone can view the group, its members, and their posts.

· Closed – Anyone can view the group and its members, but only members can see group posts.

· Secret – Only members can see the group or any of its information.

Set the privacy of your group to reflect how you want the group to interact and conversations to unfold. As the group evolves, so can your privacy settings. You may start open, but want to close up a bit as your group really expands.

Finally, you’ll want to personalize your group. Go through the group settings to make sure you’ve provided all the information, photos, and images you can to customize and brand your group’s Facebook presence. Start populating your group feed with relevant content, and engage in any conversations that get started and gain traction.

Promote the conversation by asking questions, or asking specifically for input or advice. Conversations are the foundation of connections, and connections are what hold your group together.

Still unsure? Join my Facebook Group, and have a look around!  Behind the Scenes of Social Media

Be social! Join the conversation with 802Social.

5 Tips to Growing Your FB Business Page

As of the first quarter of 2017, Facebook had 1.94 billion active monthly users.
One point nine four billion!

Does your business need to be actively marketing and making connections on Facebook? Only if the possibility of reaching one quarter of the world’s population with your message sounds exciting! Yes, you absolutely should be on Facebook, but you already knew that; the question isn’t whether your business should have a Facebook page, the question is what do you do with it? How can you successfully grow your business using Facebook most efficiently and effectively?

Be Consistent
Show up regularly with compelling content of real value that is relevant to your business, and of particular interest to your Facebook community.

Don’t drop off the face of the earth! One of the most important things you can do for your Facebook audience is show up consistently, and keep delivering content that provides insight and usefulness. Be fascinating!

Link It!
Plaster the internet with links to your Facebook business page. Wherever you’re reaching your clients and community, they should find that little Facebook icon that links directly to your business page.

The link should be in your email signature, in the footer on every page of your website, in your bio on Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Anywhere and everywhere you can put it, link people back to your Facebook page to keep them engaged.

Create Conversations
Get people talking. Create conversations that takes on a life of their own about the work you do, and the business you’re in. Facebook loves this!

Present ideas and ask questions! Invite people into the conversation, and then let that conversation expand on its own. You’ll be surprised how far those conversations can go, and how many people will be organically pulled into it, connecting to your business, and creating real value through dialogue and participation.

Content Calendars
Just what it sounds like, content calendars are your way to plan and organize upcoming social media content. Just like you mark your niece’s and nephew’s birthday on the calendar on your wall (you still have a wall calendar, right?), there are important dates throughout the weeks, months, and year that you will want to highlight in social media.

Your content calendar should contain important dates that matter to your business including holidays, special events, product launches, milestones, and campaigns. Content calendars keep you organized, they help you know what you’re publishing, where, and when, and collaborate more efficiently with others on aligning compelling content with real world experiences for your business and clients.

Monitor and Measure
There are many tools out there designed to help keep you organized, and provide real world analytics to measure if your social media efforts are successful.

Hootesuite, Sprout Social, or Agorapulse, are just a few examples. Each has its perks, but it really comes down to how you use it. While Facebook provides unprecedented opportunity to connect with your community, it can be hard to know just how well you’re doing out there without digging into the analytics, see what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust as needed.

Let Us Help!
Didn't realize a simple Facebook page could be so complex? Let us help!
Sign up for a FREE 15-minute call, and let’s get your Facebook business page moving.

Stay social in the 802!
Molly

 

Keep it Fun: Facebook for Business

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Facebook for business is a must have to stay in tune with your customers. That said, we don’t want you to be bombarding them with repeated reminders of your upcoming sale or pushing a service out to them that they may not need right now. So what to do? Keep your customers engaged and enjoying the content you are posting. How can we do that?

1. Contests
Who doesn’t like a giveaway? The best giveaways are the no strings attached...yes, you can hold contests to collect customer information, but best to utilize them to remind your customers how much you appreciate them! You can ask them to enter by re-posting an imaging or tagging a friend in the comments section...this helps your interaction and exposure but doesn’t make them feel like they’re giving away an arm and a leg. Celebrate your customers!

2. Live Video
We’re loving when our clients use live video to humanize their business. Use live video to show behind-the-scenes, generate buzz about a sneak preview of a new product or introduce the office dogs!

3. Testimonials
You may be sensing a theme here...we want facebook to be a lifeline to a human! Don’t be another promo post on your customer’s news feed; share the stories of your happy customers on Facebook! You can post testimonials in a variety of ways. Our favorites? A photo and a few short sentences from a happy  customer! Or, post a picture of video of your product or service and ask for comments on it...let the promotion happen authentically! Think about it: when you’re curious about a new restaurant, what do you do? Go to yelp or another review site to see what other people are saying about it! Make it easier for your customer and post it right on your facebook page!  

We love working with our clients to think up new and fun ways to engage and retain followers on social media (and turning them into paying customers!). There are lots of great ideas out there to try out and, as always, we’re here to help.

Thanks for reading!

Molly