By now, most companies have at least one social media business page. In fact, according to socialnewsdaily.com, 97% of small businesses are using some form of social media to promote their products or services. Let’s face it, people live on their social media pages and if your business doesn’t at least have a Facebook page, you’re living in the Dark Ages.
Here’s the problem that a lot of small businesses face – they don’t have a plan to manage their social media. You have a Marketing Plan, right? That plan should include social media management. Sure, Facebook is making it increasingly hard to avoid paid ads and if you haven’t figured out what to do with those pesky hashtags (#iamsolost, #whatsahashtag, #helpme) you can easily get frustrated with Twitter. With just a little effort, though, you can turn that right around.
If right now you don’t have the funds to outsource your social media, hire a full time social media manager or pay a lot of money for ads, do not despair! Just start with a plan. Setting up your company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram page is FREE! Once you’ve done that, and with some planning, you can start attracting clients to your company’s page and then the advertising begins.
When I first started managing Success Academy’s social media pages, there wasn’t much activity and I’ll admit I didn’t know where to begin. We had a Facebook page and a Twitter page, along with a handful of ‘likes’ and ‘follows’. The first full year that I managed our pages, 2013, we saw a 15% increase in our audience and participation. It was marginal growth as I didn’t have a definitive plan in place that year. Then, while developing my goals for 2014, I decided it was time to step up my efforts. I saw an opportunity to build a community made up of our clients – you – where we could announce and celebrate your successes, share training tips and insights to help you build a Culture of Training, and communicate future training classes.
I had to start somewhere, so I put a plan in place that addressed these three key areas: growing our audience, engaging our fans and getting the rest of the team more involved.
Growing Your Audience – the simple solution to achieving this goal is to get the word out about your page(s) and to give your clients a reason to visit said pages. What’s the point of spending valuable time creating these pages if no one’s paying attention to them? My goal for 2014 was to increase our audience by 35%. The first thing I did was list our Facebook and Twitter pages in every single marketing piece. I also gave 4-5 reasons to like/follow our pages. Not my reasons, but reasons for members to WANT to visit our pages. Additionally, I enlisted our trainers to help spread the word about joining our pages during class. More about getting your team involved later.
Engaging Your Fans – the worst thing you can do is drive clients to your page and not offer them a compelling reason to stay and keep coming back for more. If you promise to deliver something on your page, then you better be prepared to back it up with content or special offers. We implemented quite a few actions to drive engagement, and I could take up this entire article listing them for you. But it’s an ever-evolving process and what may work for one company may not work for another. So I’ll share one of the most popular posts we continue to do that always gets the most attention – graduation pictures posted after every class. The students love the attention and sense of accomplishment and recognition, and their managers love the results. What can you do as a home service provider? When you receive a great client review for one of your technicians/sales people/call taker, celebrate it with an announcement on your Facebook page. This gives recognition to your dedicated employees, great service, and you as an employer!
Getting the Rest of the Team More Involved – I think the best thing we ever did to keep our Facebook page consistently active was to implement our Facebook Ambassador of the Week program. Each week, a different team member’s assigned the responsibility of posting daily content on our page. This has been the single most effective way to have a reliable presence for our Facebook Fans. The other benefit is the ability to share different perspectives from the team. Providing well-rounded content from employees with diverse areas of expertise can engage a much wider audience with various interests.
That was the three-pronged approach I took in 2014. The results? We grew our Facebook audience by 155% (we hit the 35% goal in March of that year), our Twitter audience by 35%, and have now established our pages as the training-centered community we aimed to create! My social media plan for 2015? We’re creating two NEW social media pages – LinkedIn and Instagram. Look for those pages later this year.
You too can take this simple approach to social media to grow your audience and get the word out there about your great company, employees and service.
Here are 5 additional tips to keep the momentum going:
- Promote your page in ALL your marketing campaign pieces – and offer them an exclusive advantage to joining your social media community
- Pay attention to your page(s) engagement, this will tell you what your fan/followers respond to the most so you can keep providing content that gets noticed. Facebook, in particular, offers an extensive ‘Insights’ section to help you analyze your page’s engagement.
- Do your research. I sometimes get my best ideas from other business pages. You are not alone out there and you do not always have to recreate the wheel. I am constantly looking at other Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for ideas that I can implement into our own social media efforts.
- Post something on your page(s) every day. That sounds easy enough, but it takes a commitment to find or create content for every day of the week. Don’t lose sight of your plan!
- If you have multiple social media pages, combine your content posting efforts by using a social media management product. There are many out there, some are free or have a very low monthly cost. Try Buffer or Hootsuite.
Carla Hulderman has been a member of the Success Academy family since 2010. As the Marketing Coordinator since 2012, she has been the driving force behind the department’s training communications in a variety of media formats. Through research, training and application, Carla has developed into a subject matter expert on social media marketing, with a targeted focus on Facebook and Twitter. To expand further Success Academy’s social media reach in an ever-changing environment, Carla is in the process of developing LinkedIn and Instagram pages in 2015.