In last month’s post, I talked about discovering where the target readers of your Business Blog may be lurking and I touched briefly on Social Media.
You will probably be active on some of the Social Media platforms already. You may have found that there are some platforms that you enjoy more and may have also found that you have a preferred platform for sharing existing content.
Or you may not have ventured in to the world where Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram reside yet.
For some people the mere mention of Social Media is enough to send them running for the hills.
It can be difficult for a small business to get the help they need that specifically meets their requirements. We often pick up bits of information here and there but putting them into action for ourselves can be a little more difficult.
It can also be very time consuming so you may want to investigate scheduling posts.
There are several schedulers but some you may have heard of are Buffer, Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. You can experiment more when you are ready to.
I’m going to do a brief ‘back to basics’ overview of the main platforms and how you may wish to share content. It is quite often the basic steps that are the hardest to grasp. As a small business, people often assume that we know more than we do about content creation and social media. We may attend training courses where it is assumed we know more than we do. However, no question is too simple when it comes to learning. Getting started is often the hardest part.
It is important to be social on all of these platforms. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you will no doubt be familiar with the networking scene and social media is really no different – except that it is online.
I will start with Facebook as I suspect this will be a site you are most familiar with. I am also going to assume that you will have a business Facebook page that is separate from your personal page. You may well already be sharing content via this platform. If not, I’d recommend it as a good place to start.
Facebook is particularly good for interacting with local communities. I mentioned in my previous post about joining up with local Facebook groups in your area and how it is worth investigating these and asking to join. If you have a business that serves the local community, this an ideal place to share content with your audience. On a wider scale, you can also find groups specifically for your area of business (ie Gardening, Accounting and also networking groups).
Shareable content can be anything to do with your business, blog content goes down well and images always tend to get more interaction.
The key, as I keep saying, is social interaction and engagement with others. Constantly posting without taking the time to reciprocate ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ can put people off.
Most of the traffic to my blog comes via Facebook which is quite unusual for a blog. It’s about experimenting and finding which sites best fit your business.
Twitter is another great place to share content. It is a very fast moving platform and you will need to share content regularly to be seen. Again images work better with tweets alongside your 140 characters. The key with Twitter is to be brief in your message and to condense any links that you attach so as not to take up too many characters. Scheduling posts is a huge timesaver with Twitter and you will also get to see the analytics of how a post has performed with some of them. It’s always good to see where traffic has come from and which posts have received more engagement.
You can follow people that you perceive to be your target market and with whom you wish to interact and people will also follow you. The hashtag also comes into play with Twitter and there are many which you can use that relate to the content you are sharing so that others can find you more easily. It is also worth spending time looking in to the hashtag areas that relate to your business keywords because you may find people that you could usefully follow and, in turn, people can also find you.
If you have a creative business, then Instagram is an obvious choice. However, as long as you can provide good quality images that work with your business, then they are shareable.
You will no doubt be using images in your blog posts so these are perfect. Links to blog posts can be put on to Instagram with a picture that works with the subject.
As before you will want to use hashtags when posting on Instagram.
Unless you have a creative business and use lots of photography, you may not have delved into the world of ‘pins’.
Of course Pinterest as a platform is great for sharing photographic content, but it needn’t be the preserve of creatives.
As with all the platforms, images do tend to receive more attention than just words. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have nothing to add if you are not a creative. After all, you wouldn’t have a website with no pictures – would you.
Think of Pinterest as more of a platform for searching for and finding content rather than in the same way as the other Social Media platforms.
I post all of my blogs to Pinterest and I do get traffic to my blog from there.
Make sure you make use of the description boxes to accompany your photographs and describe your content. You can also link blog and pictures directly from your blog to Pinterest.
As I said, a brief and basic overview.
Practice is the key and the more you are active on the platforms, the easier it is to learn the ropes.
Remember, we are all at different stages at Social Media for our businesses and everyone has to start somewhere.
It can be quite scary when we push the button to publish for the first time. Remember, you are sharing useful content about your business which may in turn solve a problem for someone.
It is also useful to comfort yourself with the fact that people don’t always comment on or like posts but that doesn’t mean they haven’t seen it and digested the information. Quite often we store information in the admin part of our brain and recall it when we need to revisit the area in question.
Be consistent with your posting. Regular repeat action gets noticed. You will start to become aware of this. Be sure to respond to comments in good time too.
If you are completely new to the Social Media scene, I’d recommend choosing one platform that you feel comfortable with and taking it from there.
Good luck and enjoy sharing.