You Like Me: Now What?
You’re a small business owner in Lanark County and you’ve finally decided you need a Facebook page for your small business. You’ve got it set up. You’ve encouraged your family, some friends and a couple of your customers to “Like” your page. You look on your small business page with pride. Then all of a sudden you ask yourself, “Ummm…what now?”
It’s a good question. What are you supposed to be doing with this social media thing? How do you make it work for your business?
One word: plan. Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, all of the above, or something else, you need to have a plan for the content you post. There are five simple rules you can follow to help you do this.
Tips for planning your content and time:
- Know your audience
- Understand why you’re using Facebook
- Plan your social media marketing content (80/20 rule)
- Interact with your fans
Know Your Audience
Before you post anything, ask yourself two questions:
- Why am I using social media?
- Who am I trying to engage with?
The first question can be answered fairly easily: for increased recognition and additional sales for your small business.
The second question is a little harder to answer, but only because it is unique to you as an entrepreneur. Content marketing for small businesses is really about identifying the right audience and understanding their needs. Whether you’re a retailer or you own a service business, you’re posting information that your ideal customer will find interesting and entertaining. If you’ve been in business for some time you probably already know what kind of information your customers find useful (although you still need to be ready to adapt once you’re using social media). As a new start-up company you might have to experiment a bit at first and try to keep tabs on the posts that generate the most interest and engagement from your business’s social media followers.
Why Use Social Media?
Social media is about engagement and building relationships; that is how it differs from other forms of marketing. It is not a push media but a pull. In other words, you’re not trying to hard sell people to come into your store or hire you as a consultant as with a newspaper advertisement. Rather, you’re trying to engage people and make them a part of your business. You’re trying to attract or pull them to you.
How to Plan Your Social Media Content
When planning your posts, keep the 80-20 rule (Pareto’s Principle) in mind. Eighty percent of your posts should be designed to provide information about your industry and connect with your followers. Twenty percent of your posts should be direct sales messages. Keeping sales messages in proper proportion means you don’t oversell or undersell to your followers and fans. In other words, one out of every five posts should be a sales message, and the rest of the posts will be helpful or fun content that your audience will enjoy.
Interacting With Your Followers and Fans
Remember to set aside time to follow up on posts and respond to questions and comments on your Facebook timeline and in the direct messages. It’s one thing to put the content out there, but you have to follow up on it. In order to keep the engagement up, you need to let your followers know you are listening to them.
Keep in mind that you need to spend time on reciprocity. You can’t expect others to share your content and talk about you if you don’t do the same for them. A portion of the time you spend on social media should be focused on sharing and talking about content published by others.
These five simple rules for social media content marketing will help you to achieve greater success on all your platforms.