Social Media is an ideal way for your business to weather the current storm. Used effectively, it allows you to keep in touch with your past and present customers, and remain visible to potential customers.
Checking in with loyal customers, or engaging with potential new customers, is something to try and focus on if at all possible at the moment. Many people have currently got more time than usual to browse the internet and social media channels, and when life begins to return to normal, you need your business to be at the forefront of people’s minds, so they come to you before anyone else. Here are some golden rules for communicating in these more than challenging times, and some tips on how to set up and update a social media channel if you need to.
Don’t Try Too Hard To Sell Anything
Unless you are trying to sell something that you KNOW to be useful i.e. essential food supply parcels or takeaway meals from your pub. Your communication with customers is a gentle reminder that you’re still here. Most people have more financial concerns than usual at the moment, and don’t want to feel pressured to part with money.
Generosity Is Key
Reach out to those who are vulnerable or those who are struggling, such as key-workers and offer them something to improve their situation (if you can – we appreciate you also have your own finances to keep control of and families to look after). Your kindness will be rewarded as people share your generosity. Good deeds during these difficult times will be remembered.
Share The Good News
Whether it’s related to COVID-19 or not, there will be some good news around. Make sure you become a cheerleader for other small/local businesses, and promote local initiatives. Share some happy throwback words or pictures if you have to, or find uplifting stories that you know will make others laugh.
Think Hard Before You Do Anything
Not just so you don’t appear too pushy or ‘salesy’, but also to avoid offending anyone who is struggling due to anxiety, separation from loved ones or poorly family or friends.
In all ways! If you commit to keeping people up-to-date with what you and your business is doing, then do so. Not as difficult and time consuming as it sounds, because the last thing you want to do is bombard people. Think about organisations that you feel send too much information your way, and those who you think get it about right, and act accordingly.
Social Media For Small Businesses
It’s likely that you already use some form of social media to promote your business. However, if you don’t, or have found yourself a bit out of date with social media developments, here’s a simple guide to getting set up on the most popular channels, and making the most of the opportunities they’ll bring.
You definitely don’t need a presence on every social media channel going. Those of you who supply something that looks good, whether it be food or flowers, or have a skill, such as joinery, may choose Instagram. If you feel your target audience is families or those who are slightly older, then you might opt for Facebook. And if you’re supplying a service with a more corporate bias, then LinkedIn could be the thing for you. Twitter is a great way to interact with your customers and troubleshoot problems and complaints quickly. Let’s get started….
Facebook has over 2 billion users globally, and because of this it’s an extremely cost effective way of marketing your products or business. You can even advertise job vacancies. See our article ‘10 Reasons Your Business Should Be On Facebook’.
It’s very straightforward to set up a Facebook page for your business. You need to have a personal Facebook account first though. To find out how to set one up, and then how to go on set up a page for your business, see our simple step-by-step guide below.
In this guide we also explain how to use Facebook Business Manager. Again, a simple tool that allows you to schedule Facebook posts in advance, so you don’t have to set aside time to post content everyday. Through Business Manager, you can also see how many people your post has reached and how many people have actually engaged with it. This gives you a good idea of what your potential customers are interested in, and on what days and and times they are most responsive.
Once you’re up and running, see also our tips on increasing your Facebook Likes.
Instagram is where people go to find content related to things they’re interested in, and to be inspired. If you have a talent, skill or product that is best showcased visually, then an Instagram Business Account will be ideal for you. Over 200 million ‘Instagrammers’ a day visit at least one business profile every day.
Like Facebook, you need a personal account first. Then you simply need to go to ‘Settings’ and ‘Switch to Business Account’. A Business Account allows you to add company information to the profile, such as contact details and opening hours. You can also see data and get insights into the type of followers you have, and how they interact with your posts.
Visit this Instagram Guide to get started!
Twitter is a fountain of knowledge as far as up-to-date current affairs are concerned. There may be fake news, and some news may be skewed by extreme opinion, but if people are talking, you can tap into the conversation, especially if it’s something relevant to your business. If you use relevant hashtags when you tweet, more people will find you, and the more followers you’ll accumulate. If these people become your customers, then it’s an instant way to engage with them, ask their opinions and solve their problems.
For more information, check out our blog on reasons to use Twitter for business.
Like Facebook and Instagram, Twitter allows you to set up a Business Twitter Account. You choose an ‘@’ name, such as ‘@janehaircuts’ which you can’t change, which will appear below your ‘normal’ name on your profile. You CAN change your normal name though. You choose a profile picture, and a header image. The header is a bit like your shop window – you can swap and change it depending on what your company is doing. Your ‘bio’ is a 160 character description of what your business does, when it is open, how it can be contacted etc. You can put a link to your website in here as well.
Visit here for more information on getting your account set-up.
Once you’re up and running, you need to focus on increasing Twitter followers.
LinkedIn – the original business networking channel. There are over 575 million LinkedIn users globally, and the beauty of this channel is that those who have a profile on it are there for professional purposes. This means your message relating to your business is less likely to get lost amongst posts of a more personal and social nature.
LinkedIn offers an array of analytical tools so you can keep track of how people are reacting to the information you’re sharing. If you can establish yourself as a trustworthy voice or expert in your field, you’ll more easily be able to guide them towards using your business, via your website or other channels.
A LinkedIn Company Page is set up from a personal profile homepage, by clicking the work icon in the top right hand corner and following the instructions from there.
When setting up a LinkedIn profile, company or personal, consider these areas in particular:
- Personal Branding
People will check out your LinkedIn profile prior to working with you. Ensure your online personality matches your real personality.
- Profile Picture
This should either be a clear image of you – so people can recognise you when they meet you in real life, or a company logo which is clear and stands out, therefore reinforcing your brand every time you post.
This appears on your profile under your name and needs to really grip people, so think about WHO you are, WHAT you do, and HOW you can help people. You only have 120 characters, so you need to make it snappy.
Guidance can be found here: getting started on LinkedIn.
Google My Business
Google My Business helps customers find your business, learn more about what you do and get in touch, both on and offline. Using Google My Business enables your business to be searchable and findable on this most popular of search engines, and also to stand out as a trustworthy choice.
When people local to you search for a business ‘near me’, your business will be the one that appears, therefore generating more physical traffic to your door. You can use the Analytics function to find out who is searching for you and their demographics, so you can re-target effectively. You can also encourage, view and respond to your business reviews and (hopefully) show off your 5 star rating.
It’s free, and very simple to set up. You’ll need your contact details, opening/contactable hours, your website, a list of business attributes (such as free W-Fi if you’re a cafe), photos and any reviews you already have. Explore our Google My Business guide to learn more.
Good luck, stay safe and we hope your business thrives!