Last week we talked about the current trends and some general practices in social media. This week I’m going to dig into some examples of how you can leverage social media for your local business.
As you probably know it’s not an issue of if your business needs a social media presence, but how to best do it. The best practices we will list here can be applied to any platform.
Start with the Basics
Review all your social media platforms and your presence on popular directories. Make sure your location, Contact information, hours, services, etc. are all accurate and up to date. Inconsistent listings can have a serious impact on your SEO. Also review the best practices for each, For example, make sure you have at least the minimum number of images and categories. Do the descriptions and offers match your current business? Are the pictures recent? Are they noticeably dated? Consider taking some time to update them, and if possible include customers, commonly visited areas, etc. One advantage that social media can have over regular advertising is a sense of authenticity. Pictures of staff and customers are always more authentic than stock photos.
How often to Post?
One of the more labor-intensive but important parts of social media is making regular posts. But how often should you post? There is some debate but a good rule of thumb is a least 5-10 posts a week. This may vary by industry but a good way to check is to set a steady cadence for a couple of weeks and then check your Facebook analytics and go to Insights and then posts. You can then check the level of engagement. Do you get more or less interest with a higher number of posts? Are your regular posts getting shared more often?
Post with a purpose
Your posts should support the overall strategy for your platform. Perhaps you want to build your audience by posting viral photos or infographics that your followers will share to build your audience. Informative and helpful posts can help promote your expertise. Posts about life inside your business, such as office events or outstanding employees can help your followers feel more connected to you.
YouTube Channel Basics
One of the most common problems with YouTube channels is a result of them being so easy to set up. Often a channel doesn’t take adequate advantage of all the settings and options for the channel and the individual videos. Take a look at all the options when creating and editing a channel. Do you have an accurate and up to date description? Are your videos marked with the right tags? Consider how the thumbnail looks, you can select another from the video or upload a custom thumbnail to make the video more click-friendly.
Take some time to make sure your channel puts your business forward in the best light. Test your background and logo in different formats (desktop and mobile).
Build your videos, like your posts, with a purpose. Select a topic or keyword that will support your SEO strategy and be sure to include that keyword in the title and description. Feel free to identify yourself and let the viewers know what you do. Clients will feel more connected to your channel if they are familiar with the creators involved. Be sure to have a clear message and a call to subscribe to your channel in your video and/or your description.
Having a realistic production schedule is important as well. If there is a long gap between videos you will lose momentum and subscribers will lose interest. It’s also important to have decent equipment and a quiet space for recording videos. Bad audio and distracting background noise will have users leaving the video before they get to your great content. One place not to skimp is with a decent microphone.
Content is King
Plan your video to have maximum impact. Keep any intro graphics or music short, people have a short attention span on the internet and this extends to video. Start it with a hook, explain how the viewer will benefit from the video. Keep the video moving along quickly to keep the audience engaged. Finally, end it with a compelling wrap-up and be sure to promote related videos and a recommendation to subscribe.
Social media is a great place to promote any events or community outreach. For retail, this could be a sale or cross-promotion with a vendor. For non-public facing businesses, such as B2B you may want to promote a training event for your clients. If your company is involved with any charitable events these are a great subject for a post and will help build a bond to your community.
Involve Your Followers
Give your followers a chance to be involved by ending posts with a call for feedback. People love to post and interact, and if you can give them a positive way to do that they will be more engaged and likely to share your pages. Keeping an eye on posts and responding as appropriate is also important. Your social media can become a liability if users feel they are ignored or a bad actor is allowed to derail the purpose of the page. Have a simple policy of what will be tolerated and enforce it fairly.
Reviews are Essential
One of the biggest factors in your Google search results presence is the number and quality of your reviews. Having a community built through social media is perfect for this. Encourage clients who have had positive experiences to add reviews to your Google listing (which will appear in the search results) and your supported social platforms.
Some Best Practices for Building Reviews
- Follow up after an appointment or sale with a request for a review.
- Make it easy for the client to post a review with maximum impact. Learn how to create a link to your Google My Business reviews.
- Mobilize your team with recognition and bonuses based on positive reviews.
Wrapping it up
Social Media can be as important to business today as acquiring a brick and mortar location and should be approached with as much care. Your social media presence can take a significant amount of time and effort to build and maintain, but the benefits far outweigh the investment.