The New Year is here! Are you ready? Here’s a quick list to help you head into the new year with a fresh start.
1. Update your LinkedIn profile. Unless you’re a LinkedIn pro, you might find that your LinkedIn profile has gotten a bit dusty. Take 5 minutes and give it a once-over. Read through your job & project descriptions, add any updates, freshen up the language. Take another look at your photo: is it working? (Is it clear, professional, well-lit, inviting…?) Finally, join some new groups and ‘follow’ some industry pros. It’s all about expanding your network, after all.
2. Write yourself an editorial calendar for one month. An editorial calendar is an outline for your blogging or marketing goals, laid out in advance. It’s an invaluable tool if you’re serious about providing regular, exciting content. If you don’t use one regularly, try it for one month. It doesn’t have to be complex or lengthy, just give yourself enough detail to go on so that you’re inspired to keep at it. (Prediction: You’ll see an increase in post frequency.)
3. Change your Facebook Cover Photo. It’s a minor one, but this change gets attention! Think about your brand ‘s major initiatives are right now, and how you can convey that through a photo. Freshen things up! While you’re updating your photo, take a look at your page through a stranger’s eyes and see if there’s anything else you can add to or enhance to captivate new visitors and engage those who already ‘like’ your page. (…and if you’ve written your editorial calendar, you’ll be prepared to serve up engaging content all month long!)
4. Sign up for social media management tools so you can stay active on Twitter. In my opinion, it’s better not to have your brand on Twitter at all than to have a stale, neglected Twitter account! If being consistently active Twitter is a challenge for you, check out some tools to make Twitter more manageable. Programs like HootSuite are designed to make tweeting even easier, with features that let you write and schedule tweets ahead of time, data reporting to help you judge how effective your tweets are, and more. Finally, remember to check your Twitter account often so that you can reply to mentions and interact with your fans in a timely manner.
Here’s to a happy and productive New Year!
So you’ve set up social media accounts for your small business… but things are feeling a little lackluster. Or, downright slow, even. Don’t throw up your hands and walk away from the digital world! Get your customers engaged with your posts, and generate excitement around your brand. Here are several ways to generate customer engagement on social media:
1. Be yourself. Yes, the same advice your mother gave you all those years ago rings true today! Your customers love you & your brand for who you are, and that’s why they keep patronizing you. The tone and attitude you bring to your business should be carried across to your social media campaigns. This is a core element of successful branding, and will only help strengthen your business. Speaking in a familiar, consistent tone conveys authenticity, and nothing is more valuable than that.
2. Ask questions. Give your followers a chance to speak their mind, share a story, or voice an opinion and they will! Come up with a question or poll that is relevant to the service you provide, and encourage your customers to tweet their reply or post in the comments. Keep the conversation going by replying, retweeting, and posing follow-up questions.
3. Create a contest on social media. A little incentive never hurt anyone! Inspire your customers to share something on social media - a photo of them using your product, a testimonial, a favorite memory - and offer a prize for participation. Be sure to promote the contest to your fans through emails, and in-store posters, and watch the engagement happen. Again, acknowledging participants is a must - even if they aren’t the big winner!
4. Use images. As this article from Social Media Today explains, images posted to Facebook generated much higher engagement than any other type of content. Harness that power and share fun images from your business. Encourage your fans to share their own pictures, and re-post them. Keep it relevant, and keep it fun.
There are plenty of ways to inspire engagement on social media, and these will get you headed in the right direction. What has worked for your business on social media?
A few weeks ago I posted the first in a series of write-ups reviewing tools for smarter tweeting. If you’re managing the Twitter account for your business - and also trying to, you know, run the business - finding an effective way to plan and share content is crucial. Save time, tweet smarter, and share great content with your followers using these programs!
Last time, I reviewed Buffer, an app that allows you to schedule as many Twitter and Facebook posts as you can write ahead of time. It’s great - you can prepare all the tweets and posts you need, and not only does Buffer post them, but it will give you metrics to show you how many RTs and clicks you got for each one.
But let’s talk about those clicks… obviously the goal is to share content that gets as many clicks as possible, so naturally, your odds are increased when you have more followers online. But how do you know when that is? That’s where Tweriod comes in.
Tweriod analyzes your Twitter followers and provides you with a chart showing how many of your followers are active at different times throughout the day. It provides these statistics for each specific day, as well as weekends combined, and weekdays combined, giving you insight on the optimal times to share your content.
Tweriod is free (with slightly limited features) for analyzing up to 5,000 followers. If you’re just getting started, the free version should suit you perfectly.
Tweriod markets itself to work alongside Buffer, which I have been making use of, but the information the program offers can act as a guideline that you can use with any other sharing app.
There’s a ton of information being shared on social media, designed to lure readers, engage them, make them click, buy, retweet, etc. When you are just one voice among these millions of other voices, how will you make sure you’re heard? How can you be certain that the content you’re sharing is engaging your followers, and attracting new ones? Here are some strategies for smarter sharing on social media sites.
1. Mind your post frequency. Too often and it’s annoying, too little and you get lost in the crowd. Deciding on how often to tweet or share takes time, and you’ll find your rhythm as you go. For starters, shoot for a handful of posts per day - more than 3 - and see how that goes. The key here is consistency. If you suddenly vanish, the social media world will forget about you and keep moving on. Dedicate yourself to a regular number of posts - blog posts, Facebook and Twitter posts - and stick with that frequency.
2. Maximize your reach. If you’re managing multiple accounts, consider this point raised by Robert Caruso, author of bundlepost. He argues that strategic posting across each of your social media channels increases the exposure of your post. If you’re sharing your new blog post on Twitter, share it on Facebook at a different time, and engage a new audience. The audience on your social media sites fluctuates throughout the day, and if you only share it one time, double-posting on social media sites, you’re only reaching one audience, one time. With that in mind…
3. Work the metrics. There are many apps that can work to your advantage when it comes to content sharing. One of my favorites at the moment is an app called Buffer, which allows you to schedule tweets and Facebook posts ahead of time, and then provides you with the analytics for each afterwards. (Read my review of Buffer here.) The benefit to this is being able to see how effective each post was - how many people saw it, how many clicks it got, etc. - so that you can fine-tune your sharing strategy.
Thinking strategically about how you share will increase traffic to your site, engage your audience, and help you grow your social media presence.