How to be Social Media Savvy as a Small Business

As a small business owner, social media presence is essential for exposure, branding, customer service, marketing, and all manner of other uses. The modern day business just doesn’t exist without being on social media. Unfortunately for the small business owner, however, it’s just another thing to have to think about.

Being social media savvy as a small business is about getting the benefits from these online platforms with minimal effort. It’s about working smarter and not harder. When it comes to social media and your business, you get out what you put in.

So, if you don’t have the time to become a social media guru yourself, and you aren’t quite ready to employ a social media manager, what are the best ways to invest your time and energy to get the most out of social media? Let’s have a look…

phone-945451_640

Use it or Lose it

A truth of social media marketing is that a poorly run account is more detrimental than not having an account at all. If, over the years, you’ve joined various platforms, set up a very basic account, and then forgotten all about them, it’s time to go and clean that up.

You don’t need to be on ALL social media platforms, you just need to be active on the ones you are on. So, chose the platforms that make most sense for your business and that you can dedicate the time to, and delete the rest.

Make your Branding Uniform

Now that you’ve whittled your accounts down to just the ones you’ll use (most likely Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, with perhaps one or two more thrown in depending on your business), it’s time to make sure that they all present the same company image to the audience. Make your profile pictures the same or similar, colors and fonts identical, and themes and content on-brand. When customers come across your presence online they should be met with a unified and consistent message.

Check out your Competition

Have a look at what your competitors are doing on social media – it’ll give you some of the best information you can find. What works for them? How are they engaging customers? What are they doing that you could improve on?

Leverage User Generated Content

When it comes to great effort versus reward ratios, it doesn’t get much better than user generated content. For the time-poor small business owner who doesn’t have much time to curate and post their own content, sharing customers’ posts is just about the best thing you can do. User generated content is one of the most effective ways of influencing people’s opinion of your business and generating social proof.

pokemon-1548194_640

Promote your Social Media Offline

Tying into the previous point, by encouraging people to follow you, tag you, leave a review, or check-in to your business, you’re growing your social media without actually being on it. You can do this by simply adding your social media details to your business card, your receipts, or even on a sign at your business premises. Increasing your online following gives you greater reach, and if you encourage people to post about your business, there will be more user generated content for you to leverage.

Repurpose Content

Just because you posted something once, doesn’t mean you can’t post it again. You can and you should. Link your accounts so that you can post your tweets and your Instagram photos to your Facebook page. You’re creating content once but using it on multiple platforms – that’s multiple reward for the same amount of effort.

Use Throwback Thursday to repost old pictures or articles. Re-share content at a different day and time – your content will reach audiences that it didn’t reach last time.

Marketing on social media can reap huge rewards for little effort, but the flipside is that poorly run social media accounts can work against your brand and your business. Social media savvy small businesses use these listed tactics to run a beneficial online presence without investing too much time and effort. The savviest of small businesses, however, understand that with social media marketing, you get out what you put in, and the best way to reap the most rewards is to hand the reigns over to the professionals.

Advertisements

5 Essential Habits of Successful Social Media Managers

If you were talking to your 2006 self and said that you’re a social media manager, younger you might respond with “yeah, but what do you do for a living?” Earning a crust under the title of social media manager (SMM) is a very recent career option, and because of this, the best practices of a SMM are still somewhat up in the air.

There are a few habits that a social media manager can form that will put them in good stead, however. Following are five things that you’d do well to think about day-to-day to ensure that your social accounts are firing on all cylinders.

excited-1280963_1280

Start every day by checking the social pulse

The first thing that every social media manager should start their day with is checking any interactions on their accounts, then looking around social media to get a sense of what’s trending.

While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s surprising how many companies allow their social accounts to lay dormant for days on end. Being a good social media manager means being active and responsive; if you aren’t logged in, then there’s no way to keep on top of current interactions and events.

Eat your veggies first

It can be easy to slide into an attitude of “I’ll do it later” when it comes to the more difficult tasks that you face as a social media manager. But time and time again it’s been proven that successful people knock over the difficult stuff first, and save the easy stuff for later. Vegetables before dessert.

Many studies have concluded that most people’s willpower is far higher in the morning than it is in the afternoon. For this reason, the best time to attack the hard tasks is when you first get to work. Save the simple stuff – the commenting, responding to messages, and sharing content – for when your willpower starts to wane.

Respond to direct interactions

Aloofness is not a sought-after quality when it comes to social accounts. If your audience senses that you feel you’re above responding to them, or that they’re not worth your time, they’ll soon feel the same about you.

So, all of those Facebook messages, comments and tags, all of those Twitter DMs and @s, all of those Instagram comments; they need to be treated as if they were written by your largest client. Your commitment to interaction will pay off big time down the track.

Search for new followers

In a perfect world, your social audience will grow organically. People will have an affinity for your brand and will want to hear more from it. But a perfect world very rarely exists. If you’re a new brand who hasn’t managed to get its name out just yet, or your company hasn’t yet built up much of an online presence, you’ll need to actively search for new members of your audience.

One way this can be achieved is to follow industry trend-setters, in the hope that they will follow you back. This will open your brand’s posts up to being shared and retweeted, getting a swathe of relevant eyes gazing on your material.

Opting for a paid campaign on Facebook is another way to get your name out there. By investing just a few dollars, you can get in front of thousands of new faces.

pexels-photo-3

Post content that starts a conversation

Engagement is the name of the game when it comes to your social accounts. On platforms like Facebook, more engagement gets your content in front of more eyes, through their algorithm that prioritizes heavily liked and commented material.

To get your content fitting the bill, you can try the following strategies:

  • Share interesting and relevant articles
  • Reference a recent news event
  • Ask a provocative question
  • Request feedback on your brand’s products or services

Call to actions are vital for engagement. By making the audience’s next step very clear, you’ll ensure that you get maximum reward for effort.

If the title of social media manager was unrecognizable ten years ago, you can only imagine what it might entail in another decade. But by staying focused on the fundamentals in the meantime, you’ll ensure that you’re on the leading edge of social media managers for years to come.

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes Restaurant Owners Should Never Make

Marketing on social media is critical for any business in this day and age, and restaurants are no different. Social media marketing allows you to access a huge audience, engage with your customers, generate a following, promote your product, and attract new customers, all for comparatively low cost and effort. This is one of the joys of social media – anyone can use it. So, many restaurants can and do conduct their own social media marketing.

With so many businesses fumbling their way through their online marketing, there’s bound to be mistakes. If you are an owner/manager/marketer, there’s some simple rules to keep in mind to make sure your efforts are working for you rather than against you. Here are the five social media marketing mistakes restaurant owners should never make:

open-sign-1617495_640

Not Using Analytics

If you’re not measuring the impact of your social media marketing, how do you know that it’s working? You don’t. Without analytics you are just throwing content out there and hoping it sticks.

Even the simplest metrics – number of likes, shares, reach… – will give you an idea about what posts work for your business. Use this to guide your future efforts.

Lacking Cohesion in Branding Across Platforms

Put simply: your website should match your Facebook should match your Instagram should match your restaurant premises. Everything should work together to send one common, strong signal. Customers like to know what they’re getting.

If a prospective customer finds your Facebook page and it looks very casual and basic, then they click through to your website and it is high-end, formal, they’re only going to be confused and turned off.

Not Taking Social Media Seriously

Social media has enormous power. Many tech-savvy restaurants are working off of purely social media presence and marketing and their businesses are thriving.

Having an incomplete Facebook page or no presence on Google is a huge marketing mistake for restaurants. Sponsoring posts on Facebook and Instagram is definitely worthy of consideration for your marketing budget.

person-731479_640

Neglecting Feedback or Responding Inappropriately

This is a doozy. The online review culture has been one of the biggest game changers for restaurants with the rise of social media. People read reviews and quite often reviews have a lot of sway over their decision making.

One of the biggest mistakes restaurants make on social media is not responding or responding poorly to feedback. People will read your response to reviews, so keep them upbeat and appreciative when responding to positive reviews – signal that you appreciate every single one of your customers and don’t take positive feedback for granted.

For bad reviews, take the high road. Lashing out at even the most unreasonable of reviews will damage your image, and ignoring them is dangerous too. Respond with explanation, compassion, explanation and apology.

Being Inauthentic

People can smell a rat if you’re pretending to be something you’re not. A huge part of branding is sticking to the image you’re trying to portray and the message you’re trying to send. You know who you are as a restaurant and what you’re about, make sure that’s what is being conveyed in your social media post.

Trying to appeal to everyone is a marketing mistake restaurants make far too often. You’ve grown your audience because they like what you do and feel an affinity with your brand. Putting up something that goes against this is only going to turn them off.

Health food restaurants putting up a post that positions them as a “beer and burger” venue is going to alienate loyal customers. Similarly, if a burger bar starts posting about the benefits of their kale chips and wheatgrass shots, they’re going to lose their target audience.

dining-room-103464_640

Owning a restaurant now often comes with the added responsibility of social media marketing manager. If you choose to go it alone and do your online marketing yourself, just keep these tips in mind. Steer away from these five social media marketing mistakes restaurant owners should never make and you’ll be one step closer to being an SMM guru!

The Keys to Using Social Media to Promote Content

You’ve worked long and hard at creating a stunning piece of content. You’re proud of it, and so you should be – it’s great! But unfortunately, your job’s not nearly done. The “build it and they will come” philosophy doesn’t work when it comes to your organization’s content. Your adoring public probably won’t bother looking at your masterpiece unless it’s put right under their nose. You need to promote it.

But you needn’t feel like a greasy snake oil salesman. Content promotion can be just as fun as content creation if you go about it the right way. So what is the right way? Are there a set of content promotion commandments to follow? Is this going to be straightforward?

While there aren’t rules set in stone, there are certainly best practices, and you may be surprised at just how under-promoted your content currently is. Let’s have a look at what your options are when it comes to using the social media megaphone for your content.

megaphone-1480342_640

The Platforms

Every social media platform is a gateway to another audience for your content. While it may be tempting to keep it simple with just a Facebook page, your content deserves more than that. At the very minimum, your organization should have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and either LinkedIn or Instagram. At a minimum.

Over and above these, you’ve got Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube and Vine. And while these may seem like overkill, they are each home to large communities who may never otherwise see your content. Once you stop seeing the social networks as inconveniences and more as opportunities, you’ll open up whole new worlds to your content.

What’s more, with tools like Hootsuite, adding another social network to you portfolio doesn’t take up any more time at all.

man-1718099_640

Creating Posts

There are a variety of ways you can sell you latest piece of content on social media. In order to form an example, let’s assume (without making an ass out of you and me) that your piece of content is on your organization’s website, and you have to link back to it. And let’s use Facebook as our platform of choice.

There are three different ways that you can share this type of content on Facebook: a link post, an image post, or a rich media post.

A link post is a Facebook post that will automatically generate a preview of your link (including an image, title and description) for you audience. But did you know that you can alter these image, title and description fields? This means that you can make the same piece of content look different every time you post it, creating the opportunity to promote it over and over again within a short period of time!

An image post does what it says on the packet. It uses a main image, with the post text and link sitting at the top. Again, this is entirely customizable. It has been argued that this form of content post achieves greater engagement due to the highlighting of the image, but this engagement is only measured on Facebook rather than in terms of activity on your organization’s site. Nonetheless, it is an effective option.

A rich media post uses either a video or a piece of audio to attract attention. While this may be the best choice if your content features a strong piece of media, it’s not terrifically effective at directing traffic back to your site, as the media is digested on Facebook.

Each social network offers slight variations of these same three post types, offering a huge amount of posting options for your next piece of content.

Ideally, a post will get the audience hungry for your content. It will use a punchy title that piques the interest, an eye-catching photo that will stop people scrolling, and description text that whets the appetite.

ipad-820272_640

Post Frequency: Rinse and Repeat

Most people are seriously hesitant to repost content. It’s natural; you don’t want to flog a dead horse. But the truth of the matter is that reposting – particularly when the same piece of content is made to look different, as mentioned above – is an incredibly effective strategy.

“Sure, I’ll repost the content in a year or two.” No. How about five times in one week? While that may seem like some people’s idea of hell, check out what happened to Coschedule’s engagement when they shared the same piece of content nine times in just seven days. Quadruple the numbers.

The frequency of reposting does depend on how much you post day to day. If, for example, you post 2-3 times a day, the following reposting formula may suit:

  • Week 1 – Post your piece of content 3-4 times
  • Week 2 – Post it 2-3 times
  • Week 3 – Post it 1 time

Try it out for yourself – change the repost numbers to suit your normal social media output, and test the schedule above out on one piece of content. After the third week has passed, compare the performance of your reposted content to the performance of content that you’ve posted once. The results may surprise you.

The key to promoting your content on social media is making the most of what you’ve got. Squeezing every possible drop of juice out of the orange. You’ve spent a lot of time on your content – it deserves to be seen.

It’s your job to make sure your audience sees it.

The Best Bar Promotion Ideas to Boost Your Bottom Line

Bar promotion and marketing can satisfy a range of goals, and the strategy you use to advertise your watering hole depends on what you’re trying to achieve. At the end of the day, you’re trying to increase your bottom line. But how?

Are you trying to attract new customers? Turn occasional patrons into regular visitors? Extend the amount of time customers spend in your venue? Increase the amount of money patrons spend in one visit? All of these options are legitimate ways to increase profit.

Depending on what outcome you’re aiming for, there’s great bar promotion ideas to achieve just that.

drinks-1746272_640

Happy hours are one of the most tried and tested bar promotion ideas. Not only do they bring more people through the doors, they bring them through at a shoulder time where, without the promotion, there would be few people in the venue.

There are multiple ways to run a happy hour, but one of the most effective ones is to encourage more people through the door with group specials and discounts. For example, focus on the after work crowd. Getting a bunch of colleagues to come in is going to create more revenue than if one lonely bar fly comes in. So, create a “cheese platter and bottle of wine for you and your colleagues” special rather than a “cheap pints of lager” special.

People who come in for happy hour are more likely to stay on after happy hour if you’ve got something to keep them there. Live entertainment, a quiz night, themed music – anything to keep your audience interested. They’re then going to spend more money on full-priced drinks after happy hour has ended. So, instead of just promoting your happy hour, promote your entertainment instead. Let people know what your bar is offering that they won’t find anywhere else.

The old “throw your business card in the bowl for a chance to win a drink tab for your workplace” is always a fruitful bar promotion idea. Give a bunch of thirsty office workers some free drinks on a Friday night and you’ll have them eating out the palm of your hand forever (or, drinking your beverages, as the case may be).

Advertise all of your events and special promotion at your bar using table top signs, posters, or chalkboards. If your patrons are having a good time at your bar tonight, they’ll come back again if they know they’re guaranteed another great night. Converting patrons into regular customers is not only great for your bottom line, it’s great organic advertising for your bar. That regular customer is going to bring more friends and spread the message of your bar via word of mouth.

performer-958392_640

Competitions where patrons can influence the menu are always a great way to foster a sense of community among your patrons. People love having a drink named after them – it makes them feel like they’re involved.

Bad Frankie in Melbourne, Australia, nailed this bar promotion method with their Jaffle Making Competition. The bar offers boutique spirits and jaffles, and ran a competition where patrons could enter their own jaffle idea into a social media based competition. The jaffle which won the most votes on social media was added to Bad Frankie menu.

This was a very clever and unique bar promotion tactic. Best of all is the lack of effort required on the bar’s part. The punters did all of the heavy lifting by promoting it and pushing for votes on their own social media pages. It was the perfect combination of social proof and user generated content for Bad Frankie.

Consider running a similar promotion for your own bar. Whether it’s allowing patrons to create the next cocktail or name the next bar snack, getting them involved is a great way to foster loyalty and turn customers into ambassadors for your brand.

So, adopt any of these bar promotion ideas to achieve the desired marketing result.

Foster loyalty with a competition that gets the patrons involved. Offer a happy hour that targets groups rather than individuals to get more people through your doors. Hosting your happy hour at a quieter time boosts business in the shoulder time slots, and offering some entertainment after happy hour ends gives punters a reason to stay and spend more money. Whichever way you do it, you’re bound to increase your bottom line.

The 4 Integral Components of a Good Social Media Marketing Campaign

Despite the field of social media marketing still being very much in its infancy, many campaigns have already shown how it’s done. While the formula for success is far from being clearly defined – and the fact that the goalposts are constantly being moved will mean that this is the case for the foreseeable future – organizations are beginning to cotton on to the potential that this marketing avenue brings.

And despite the lack of a sure-fire blueprint for success, there are certain components of social media marketing campaigns that seem to be constants. If you dissect any good social campaign, you’ll find that these successful strategies share four common elements. By including these elements in your own campaigns, you’ll be putting yourself in the best possible position for success.

target-1506088_640

Clear Goals

Like leaving your driveway before you know your destination, before you start your social media marketing journey you really need to be clear on where you’re trying to head. Defining your goals is the first, and in a lot of ways the most important, step.

You don’t need to wear blinkers, focusing on one sole goal. Your campaign can be focused on achieving multiple goals. Some common goals include:

  • Increase brand awareness: If you’re just starting out in business, or are looking to expand your operations, you may want to get your brand in front of more eyes.
  • Drive more website traffic: For those in e-commerce, more traffic to your website equals more business. Social media is a great way to direct traffic to your site.
  • Increase engagement and loyalty: Social media provides a way to show your organization’s heart and personality, which can result in a deeper connection between your business and your clientele.
  • Improve your conversion rates: If you feel as though you’ve got a sizable and loyal audience, you may want to focus your social activity on improving your sales conversion rates instead.

A Detailed Plan

A plan to achieve these goals is vital. Before reaching for the graph paper, however, you should first conduct some research on your direct competition, to see what will work for your organization and what won’t. You should also compare your current social media activity with these competitors, to identify things that you can improve on.

Your plan should detail your company’s voice, and the sort of material that you’re going to deliver through your social channels.

Different social platforms will be effective in targeting different demographics. For B2B organizations, LinkedIn is a great option. Instagram and Snapchat are home to millennials and young people. Facebook is the obvious choice for those without a clearly defined target market.

It’s important to remember that social media marketing takes time. Your followership isn’t likely to explode overnight, and your plan should reflect that. Focus on producing quality content and sharing quality material over a long period, while capitalizing on paid advertisements to power your growth.

Cross-Channel Promotion

The best social media campaigns aren’t limited to social media. They are promoted through other marketing channels too. The fact is that many people aren’t particularly active on social media, or aren’t following your account at the moment. The success of your campaign hinges on getting in front of these new eyes.

Combining your social media efforts with email, search or online banner advertising can be a very cost-effective way to spread the word. You can plan these out so that your target audience gets regular, but unique, reminders of your brand. Be careful not to assault people and overwhelm them by being everywhere at once.

pexels-photo-95916

Exhaustive Analytics

Knowledge is power. And in this age of digital marketing, you’re treated to more knowledge than you’ll know what to do with! There is an incredible amount of data on offer, and your social media campaign will benefit from you using as much of it as possible.

How has your campaign performed? Are you working towards those goals that you set at the outset, or do you need to recalibrate your strategy? Thankfully, seeing as though you had clear goals from the start, you should be able to compare any appropriate metrics easily.

You should also be keeping an eye on how the social media specific metrics are affecting the “downstream” metrics – things like website visitors, new clients and sales figures. After all, a solid, well thought out social media campaign should grow more than just your follower count!

Happy Hour Marketing Ideas

For as long as there have been bars, there have been happy hours. It’s that sweet window of opportunity for patrons to nab a deal and for bars to increase sales. It’s a win-win situation.

The happy hour is one of the easiest ways for a business to attract customers to their watering hole. There’s many a take on the happy hour – from discounted drink prices, to special food offers, to exclusive happy hour menus – but at the end of the day they all serve to increase business.

Happy hours increase food and/or beverage sales during periods where there are usually less customers, such Tuesday nights, mid-afternoons, or late at night. They can also attract new patrons who wouldn’t have otherwise visited your establishment.

Once these patrons are through your doors the happy hour can boost your business by encouraging patrons to spend more money once happy hour has ended, turn once-off customers into repeat patrons, and increase awareness of your menu and other events you are hosting.

happy-hour-1167575_640

Happy hour marketing ideas can be as creative and varied as happy hours themselves. The more innovative and organic they are the more impactful they’ll be. People love something new and something fresh. Having cheap drinks for an hour and advertising this special through traditional mediums won’t have as great an impact as devising a new and fresh happy hour special and advertising it through social media.

If your happy hour and its marketing are creative enough you shouldn’t need to discount your product significantly to interest and attract customers. Come up with a special offer that your target audience would be interested it, then all you need to do is let them know about it.

Think about branding and what your establishment is about. Are you targeting the “foodie” market? Design a happy hour where you customers can order a matching food and drink pairing. Are you an edgy, on-point bar? Tap into the zeitgeist and focus your happy hour around the coolest new cocktails.

Now that you’ve got a happy hour to advertise, you can start promoting it. Advertising your happy hour should be a multi-pronged approach, with a combination of online and in-house efforts.

Social media is critical in this day and age. Advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is essential. Give it a little thought and your social media happy hour marketing can make extra impact. Post just before your happy hour. At the end of the day when people are thinking about knocking off and are scrolling through their feeds, seeing the ad for your happy hour may be all they need to convince them to grab their colleagues and head for a cheap pint at your pub.

As well as your online marketing you should advertise in-house as well. Even if patrons have missed happy hour, you want to let them know when it’s on so they don’t miss it tomorrow or next week. Table-top signs or posters (which can still be hung in the bathroom if your venue doesn’t have posters hanging on the walls) should clearly let customers know what your happy hours entail.

martini-623430_640
A bounce-back system is another way to market your happy hour. With a business card, a special coupon, or a receipt, customers can return during designated happy hour times and receive a discount or special offer. This type of promotion encourages customers to return during happy hour.

Partnering with associated groups, brands or individuals can be a great way to market your happy hour. Whether it’s a charity, a social club, influential local personalities, professional associates, or neighboring businesses, get them involved in your happy hour. This spreads the word of your happy hour and your venue through good old fashioned networking and word of mouth, as well as through others’ social media accounts.

A truly effective happy hour will be so irresistible that it promotes itself. Your happy hour marketing ideas need only get patrons through those doors once. If the happy hour itself is worth its salt, those patrons will become dedicated regulars.

Everyone loves that magical time frame where the bar, pub, or restaurant offers them an awesome deal. They just need to know about it.