Social media platforms are immensely powerful for businesses but when they are not used wisely, they can cause some problems. When you are starting out, it's important to define your objectives and strategically plan how you will achieve these goals. But before you dive into the world of social media, I would love to share a few points:
1. Don't spread yourself thin.
With so many social media platforms out there, it's really important to decide which are the best for your business. If you're not outsourcing social media,it's difficult to keep on top of them. The best thing is to choose two and branch out if / when you can handle it.
2. Don't be salesy.
People go on social media to have fun,to share news or to educate themselves. If you constantly share posts about your products and services, people get bored.
It's not about you or your business, it's all about your community. Before sharing any post, ask yourself: Does this post entertain, inform or educate my community?
3.Don't forget that your community is watching you.
Dedicate a staff to monitor the platforms and answer each and every comment. If you receive negative feedback, don't get aggressive.Take the conversation offline and bear in mind that sometimes negative feedback help you improve your business. Remember your community is watching! Angry customers can be very helpful in amplifying your message if handled well.
4. Don't leave your social media to unqualified staff.
Managing a company's social media accounts is very different from managing a personal account. You need a strategy and expertise to achieve your goals so make sure you have a qualified expert to look after your accounts.
5. Don't buy followers.
It might sound like a good idea if you are just starting out but don't ever fall into this trap. Yes, you might have thousands of followers but the number of followers don't mean anything. The important thing is having an engaged community, even if it's a small one. You won't gain leads from a group of people who are not interested in your products.
Social media is not magic. It works but it takes time and requires effort! If you don't have the time or the knowledge to do it yourself, just get in touch and we can talk about your requirements.
Building a vibrant and growing community is no mean feat. It requires hours of planning and execution.
First things first: we must know our ideal client. Who are we trying to reach? What is their lifestyle? Where do they hang out? What are their problems? How are we going to solve these problems? To be able to connect with the audience, we need to know them and send them the right message.
Plan and schedule your content
Think about what you want to achieve: Creating a buzz around a campaign or an event, drive website traffic, increase brand awareness. Consistency is the key to success and this can only be achieved by planning. Plan your content with your end goal in mind, around key dates, Christmas, Easter etc. Once you have a plan, you can start scheduling it. If you’re scheduling in advance, always remember to tweak things for any last minute news or crisis.
Don't just broadcast.
Remember that social media platforms are social. Ask questions, reply comments, be kind and friendly. When dealing with negative comments, be careful because your community is watching. Last but not least, show the human side of your brand. Make sure your posts are not too salesy. People buy from people so nurture the relationships you’re building and sales will follow.
Use the analytics to gain insights.
All social media platforms have analytics tools that give in depth data. You can get a lot of insights about your audience (for example how old are they, where do they live, when are they online) as well as how successful the content that is shared.
If you haven't set up Google Analytics on your website, I highly recommend you do this in order to track traffic from social media. Monitor the activity, reflect on the results and adjust your strategy.
Consistency is the key to success on social media. Building an engaged community is a lot of work and takes time, but it works.
As always,if you need any help, please get in touch.
Photo of me,aged 6, on my first day of school in Germany.
In the UK most children go back to school today or tomorrow. It's a day full of excitement and as parents we like sharing their photos on social media.
As a social media marketer and someone who reads a lot about online safety, I sometimes see how much parents give away inadvertently when sharing these photos.
If you would like to read more about how to safely share your back to school photos,please head over to Clare Murthy Photography to read my guest post. www.claremurthy.com/blog/2017/9/first-day-of-school-photos
Having a Facebook page is no longer a luxury! In today's world, if you have a business, it is almost inevitable that you will have a Facebook page. But how do you optimise it so that you can get the best possible results from it?
1. Start off with your page name. Choose a name that is possibly the same across all your social media platforms. Usually this will be your business name or if that is not available you can use some variations but usually people will search by the business name so make sure you find a search-friendly user name. Don't choose a name thinking that you can easily change it later as changing page names can be tricky.
2. Another way to make your Facebook Page more discoverable is with a vanity URL. For example mine is www.facebook.com/socialthyme Once your Page has 25 Likes, you can set a custom URL.
3.Choose a cover photo that reflects your brand or business. If there is text on the cover photo, when viewed on mobile, it is likely that the text will get cut off so be careful with that. Alternatively choose a cover photo without text. It is a good practice to change the cover photo every couple of weeks as it creates interest.
3. Fill in the about section of your business. Make sure you add your business website and depending on your business, you might want to add a customer response time and address etc. Think about what kind of information your clients might need and make it easy for them to contact you. People love contacting businesses via their Facebook pages whether it's about a problem they are having or when they are happy about your products/services and they want to share it with the wider world.
4. You can add a call-to-action button such as "learn more" as seen above. Depending on your business, you can choose "Download the app", "book services" etc. You might want to try different buttons and see what resonates best with your audience.
5. There are different type of templates which you can choose according to your business. You can find this option under edit page. For example if you have a restaurant there is a special template and if you are a service based entrepreneur, there is a different template that will serve you better. You can find the edit page option under the settings.
6. Choose your audience so that Facebook shows your page to more relevant people. You can access this option from the settings. You can choose the demographics of your audience and their interest and language. This will help Facebook to put your page in front of the people who I am targeting. As a social media manager,I prefer to engage with people in the UK who are entrepreneurs and business owners. I can potentially target any country in the world or any English speaking country and I might get people following and engaging but the I am not doing this because I'd rather reach to people who are more likely to buy from me.
These are just a few easy steps to use Facebook strategically for your business. Facebook constantly changes things around, adds new features etc. So every now and then, go to the settings of your page and check if there is anything that's new and if relevant for you, use it!
If you need more ideas to improve your page, read this: 7 tips to improve your Facebook page
7 social media tips that you can start implementing straight away
If you need more help, please get in touch.
If you have never used Twitter before, it can feel a bit daunting. How can you possibly tell something in just 140 characters? Do you need to read every tweet? How do you use those hashtags? Should you follow everyone who follows you?
Twitter is one of my favourite social media platforms. Unlike some other social media platforms, there is no barrier between you and your followers and this is fantastic! But how can you make the most of this fabulous tool to grow your community?
1. First things first: Optimise your profile. Your Twitter bio should clearly indicate what you do in your business with a link to your landing page. No one wants to follow an egg, so don't forget to change your profile photo either with a professional head shot or your logo.
2. Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter. It simply is not possible to to read every tweet from everyone you follow. The best thing you can do is to segment the people you want to follow into groups.
I created different lists for various topics such as Education, Foodies etc. I add people to these lists and when I check out my Twitter account it makes my life much easier because I can see all the tweets from my favourite people in one place. You don't have to follow someone to be able to add to a Twitter list.
You can add anyone by clicking on the gear icon on their profile and then click on to add/remove from lists. You can set your lists as public or private. If you add someone to a public list they receive a notification of this. However they don't if it's a private account.
3.Now that you have Twitter lists, have set times throughout the day-maybe once in the morning,once around lunch time and once in the evening depending on your schedule. Spend 10-15 minutes engaging with the people in your lists. Reply their questions, share their content, retweet their tweets. Be helpful and be kind. This is how you connect with people and build relationships with people on Twitter.
4.Use images to stand out from the crowd. Twitter is like a traffic lane with hundreds and thousands of tweets at a minute. To get the attention you need to stand out with your visuals: branded images, gifs and so on. If you need some help with this, here are my favourite tools to create social media images that convert.
5. Be consistent. Use a scheduler to share curated and created content that will add value to your followers. It's okay to tweet the same content a couple of times through out the day. This will let you catch different audiences at different times. As long as you share great content, people don't complain!
6. People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter search. For example if you search #smtips you can find lots of social media tips. I can simply search this hashtag on Twitter and if I think something worth sharing, I can retweet them to my followers. Spend some time to research your industry specific hashtags and make a note of them so you can use them later.
Don't use too many hashtags! One to two hashtags are enough and research shows that these tweets get more reach than those with more hashtags. You also want to leave some space for people to retweet your tweet so it's good to be careful about this.
You can also come up with your own hashtags. For example if you're running a campaign you can come up with a catchy hashtag like #ThisGirlCan. You can also use a branded hashtag to create brand awareness. For instance, I could use #SocialThyme to create brand awareness. However no one is likely to search this hashtag on Twitter, I would only use it for brand awareness. The second hashtag would be to use an industry specific one, for example #socialmediamarketing which is what people would be searching on Twitter.
7.Use Twitter Chats to increase your reach and grow your following. There are many industry or location specific tweet chats happening every day. These are set hours that are held once a week. They are usually hosted by one twitter account, and the host will encourage networking and interaction between the people who participate in the chat. Here is a list of Twitter Hours happening in the UK. The list is not very up to date so do check if it's still happening before you start posting.
8. Use a @ before their name to mention someone. They'll get a notification of the post. It’s common when people tweet a link to a blog post from your site or if customers are commenting about your company. Once you send a Tweet mentioning another account, they’re likely going to reply and @mention you. Getting an @mention in Tweets makes your account more visible as your tweet is now going to be seen by their followers and this in turn can help you earn new followers. Engaging with industry influencers in this way helps you grow your account.
9. Finally, if you are only pushing out automated content, you are just broadcasting which puts people off. Think of Twitter as an online party. You wouldn't go to a party and start selling your products, would you? Share great content, engage with people, build relationships and sales will follow.
If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments. If you feel you don't have the time/don't feel inclined about using Twitter yourself and would rather someone else manages it for your business, please get in touch.
A couple of weeks ago Instagram rolled out an amazing new feature: They introduced location and hashtag stories on the explore page.
What does this mean for you and how can you utilise this for your business?
Here is a story I shared earlier today with the location sticker of my town Guildford.
Using the location sticker gives my story more context. Anyone in Guildford can see the stories on their explore page in the Instagram app.
Instagram randomly selects posts to be part of the larger Location Story and if your story gets selected and you have the chance of reaching to people outside of your followers which is amazing. You need to swipe up your story and check the stats to see if it was selected.
My story was selected. Now let's see how many people engaged with my post
At the time of publishing this post the story got 47 views and 41 of these were from the Guildford story! Bear in mind that the story is there for 24 hours so this number will increase. For comparison, you can see the story on the left which I shared yesterday,reached only 35 people as I did not use a location or hashtag sticker.
There is so much potential in this! If you have a cafe/restaurant or a local shop or if you are organising a local event, a training; you can reach the local people with this tool. You can reach the travellers in your area. If you are at a conference, you might be able find some people who you might want to network with.
Now let's click on the Guildford sticker and see what happens: It gives me the option of viewing the top posts.
There is a beautiful cake from a local blogger, a photo from a local music store, a local photographer, a floral farmer which I might consider to follow and engage with. As you can see it gives me the option of connecting with a variety of people in my town.
Similarly if you use a hashtag sticker, for example #Fashion #LondonFilmFestival etc on your story you can use that to reach people outside of your followers.
It is not out there yet, but if the rumours are true, soon there will be a search option within the stories.
I hope this gives you some ideas about how to utilise the Instagram Stories location feature for your business.
Read this if you are not sure how to get started with Instagram stories. As always if you have any questions or need help with your social media, just send me an email.
One of the questions I frequently get asked is "Which social media platforms should I be using for my business?" I have written a post about this a couple of weeks ago. Ideally, you should be on at least three of the platforms however if you are a solopreneur juggling all the demands of your business or if have never used any of the platforms before, this can feel very overwhelming.
Each platform is different and each one requires a different strategy and tactics. Cross posting or linking the accounts just doesn't cut it. If you really want to see benefits from social media marketing, you need to invest in time and effort to create and curate content and do the engagement with your community. Setting up the accounts and posting whenever you can without a strategy will not bring you leads.
Consistency is the key. You need to show up every day! You need to be posting valuable content, educating your audience about your products or services whilst engaging with your community and the wider world.
So what do you do?
I believe that less is more, even in social media! I would highly recommend that you start small. Decide how much time you have and choose one or two platforms to start with.
If you are starting from scratch, it will take a while to grow the number of your followers. But please don't feel discouraged. An engaged community who comments, likes and shares your posts is much more valuable than a big but non-responsive community.
Once you feel comfortable with the platforms you have been managing, perhaps after two or three months, it is the time to add another platform into the mix. Now that you are more familiar with social media marketing, you won't find it that difficult.
However if you would rather focus on the other aspects of your job and outsource social media marketing, please get in touch.
As a social media manager, I spend a lot of time online and I am always looking for apps that make my workflow more productive and efficient. I try out new apps all the time and here are 7 apps that I use every day in my business.
1. Google Drive: I save all my documents and photos in Google Drive. I love that I can access all my documents even when I am out and about and don't have my laptop with me.
2. Pocket: Pocket is a very useful tool which lets you save articles in one place. So, if I come across an article whilst browsing Facebook and I think that I would like to use on one of my social media accounts or I want to read it later, I can save it in Pocket. I have integrated Pocket and IFTT (a third party website that lets you connect different websites or apps) so all those saved Pocket articles are saved in a spreadsheet in Google Drive. Brilliant to have all the content in one place!
3. For content creation Feedly, Nuzzel and Flipboard are amazing tools. You can add RSS feeds to Feedly, key words to Flipboard and Nuzzel analyzes your account and offers content accordingly. You can then share these to social media or save in Pocket for later.
4. The Canva app is great for graphic design. They have built in templates and you can design social media graphics, flyers, invitations,banners and so much more.
5. I also use the Adobe Spark Photo and Video apps a fair bit. I don't know what I was doing before Adobe Spark! It makes graphic design so much simple! If you'd like to read more about tools to create social media graphics that convert, read this.
6. I like using Rippl to create short videos or animations using photos. Easy to use and great results! They tend to have seasonal templates and designs. There is a paid version but you can do lots with the free version as well.
7. Unum is a very useful app to plan your Instagram in advance. Its visual planner feature allows to you see your photos as they'd appear on Instagram. By planning which photos/colours/themes go best together in advance, I can save time and be organised about my Instagram marketing. You can use this app to schedule posts for Instagram. Unum will send you a notification when it's time to post.
Do you have any favourite apps? I would love to hear them, please let me know in the comments.
When I asked my followers what kind of content they would like to read on my blog last week, lots of people said they would like to learn how to manage their social media accounts effectively as it takes too much time.
We are all busy running our businesses and on top of that we have to think about social media marketing. Updating Facebook, Twitter,Instagram... Creating images, videos, live streaming... Answering queries, replying the comments.... Social media marketing can be very time consuming. I wish I could say that there is a magic tool but there is not. However there are some tips that I would like to share with you.
1. Schedule your content. Use scheduling tools such as Hootsuite,Buffer, SmarterQueue to plan in advance what you are going to schedule. All of these tools have free or trial options available so you can see which one you like best. Again, some of these tools also suggest you post for your accounts which can be very handy!
Save time by batch processing. Once you have created a couple of days' or a week's content on your scheduling tool, you don't have to worry about it as the content will be automatically published on your channels.
2. Use content aggregation tools to find articles and news about your industry. Having great content ready will make your scheduling much more easier and quick! My favourite tools are Feedly, Flipboard, Google News, Twitter Lists and Pinterest.
I would like to share screen grabs of a few of them so you can see how they work:
I can add all my favourite blogs to Feedly and quickly scan the feed to see if there is any good content for me. If you're using the paid plans of Buffer, you can connect Feedly and Buffer as well.
I quickly check Google news to see industry related news. Some people like setting up Google alerts using key words, however unless your key word is a name, you get too many news so I suggest being careful with that.
And there is Flipboard where you can add your key words and the tool will suggest you lots of good content.
I also use an app called Pocket. For example you are reading an article on Facebook and think you want to save it to share on your accounts later. This is where Pocket comes in.
I also connected Pocket with IFTT so all my saved articles are kept in a spreadsheet in my Google Drive. (If you haven't heard of IFTT, you really must check it out as it connects different apps or websites so you can get the most out of them!)
3. Analyze and reflect: Now that the content is being published automatically, once a week, check out the analytics of your social media accounts. Check out what content performed best, which day, what time etc. Note the best performing content, a link, a video, an inspirational quote. Whatever it is, create more of that content. If you see something is not working well, note that as well as you don't want to spend time replicating that.
4. More tools to analyze: If your Twitter community consists of less than 5000 people, you can use Audiense for free to analyze your account. For Facebook, you can use Likealyzer. This is a brilliant, free tool as well. It not only analyzes your page, but also offers suggestions to improve it.
5. Batch produce social media graphics: Are you creating images to share on social media? Batch producing images will save you lots of time. In this post I shared my favourite tools for creating social media graphics.
6. Content is king and engagement is the queen and she rules!
You have automated the posts so you don't have to think about what you are going to publish on your accounts. You are pushing out content on a consistent basis. Now all you have to do is engagement on a daily basis.
However be strict with yourself and set boundaries. If you don't set boundaries, you will waste precious time on social media. Set time 15-20-25 minutes a day, and engage with your community, answer questions, reply comments etc. Depending on your daily schedule, you might one to do this two-three times a day, once in the morning,then at lunch time and in the evening or whenever you have pockets of time available throughout the day.
Without being actively engaged on your accounts, it is very difficult to gain leads so make sure you do this. Be aware of the time spent there as it is so easy to get distracted. Make sure you use this time to connect with your community and build relationships to grow your business.
I hope you find these tips useful and if you have any tips that you'd like to share with us, I would love to hear them. Alternatively, you might want to outsource your social media marketing. If so, please do get in touch.
One question I am regularly asked about Facebook is "What is the best time to post to Facebook?" It depends on your community. When are most of your followers online? When do they really respond to your posts?
Facebook analytics offers incredible insights for businesses. The insights help us understand if the posts we are sharing create engagement, where our page likes happen and the demographics of our community and so much more.
Go to the Insights on your Facebook Business page and click Posts to see when your fans are online.
Below you can see a screenshot of my Facebook Business Page and it shows us the data for a recent one week period. As you can see, more and more people are online in the morning and at around 9am, it is more stable. We see a little decrease in the afternoon and then it goes up again in the evening.
There are a lot of articles on the internet that tells you which days and what times you should post. Some suggest you should post early in the morning as everyone checks their Facebook feed when they wake up. Others think lunch time is a good time and then there are others who argue 8pm-9pm posts are the best as people hang out on their phone in front of the TV in the evening.
This is why you really need to observe your community and find what time of the day works best for you. When you are first starting out, think of your ideal client. When do you think they will be online? Also, remember that people don't always see the most recent posts on their news feed. So even if they are online, they might see posts from yesterday or the day before.Try different times of the day and test what works best for your community. Some scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer suggest you what time you should publish your content. If you are using one of these tools, see if these times work for you.
Facebook also gives you in depth data as to how each individual post perform. Unless your post is time sensitive, your content is a much more important factor that determines the success of your Facebook post.
If you click on the Post Types then you can see which posts performed well and which did not. Now this data shows me the types of posts, the dates and what time of the day I shared these on Facebook.
By carefully studying and reflecting on this data, I need to work out what works best for me. As you can see, I sent out posts at different times throughout the week: Some posts are published around 8 am, some around lunch time and one of them is published at 8:30pm. What really makes the difference is the content I am putting out there. If I know what type of content my audience likes and if I can create more of that, then my Facebook page will be more successful.
Of course, this is not set in stone and it might change as my page grows or as the algorithm changes. It's really important to get into the habit of checking the insights weekly and reflect on what works.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you need any help, don't hesitate to get in touch.