There's no denying that the current Coronavirus pandemic is causing a lot of concern for people right up and down the country. As well as concern for our elderly and vulnerable communities, there are lots of people worried about the impact of the virus on their business. "Will I be able to operate as normal?" "How will this impact our sales and revenue?" "People are going to stop coming into the shop." It's astounding how many business owners feel ill-prepared for this pandemic, but none of us ever expected to be facing such a crisis - this is the stuff of movies and fictional novels.
Lots of businesses have contingency plans or alternative service platforms in place to handle unusual events. For major regulated companies, they are legally required to make sure processes are in place to keep services running. But what about the smaller companies and the entrepreneurs? A contingency plan (or disaster recovery) is usually unique to you and dependent on your operating model, but one way of ensuring you have some plans in place is to create and optimise a social media presence for your business. A social media presence helps to generate leads and subsequent sales, as well as to create strong ongoing engagement with your customers and clients. Below are some tips I've learnt along the way, which should help you build your profile: - Make sure you set up business pages for your social media accounts. Sounds simple enough, but many people rehash their personal accounts to cover their business interests. Keep the two separate as this can create some confusion and frustration with your audience. It's also good practice to keep your private account private - would you want strangers or customers looking at your holiday snaps? - Ensure your business page had an alias that is as close to your business name as possible. In some cases, depending on how popular your business name is, the preferred alias may have been taken by another user. Try and keep it as close to your business name as possible, as this will form part of the URL for your social media account - for example: CleanersRUs may need to be Cleaners-rus.
- Give yourself a clear, concise headline on your page. Think about who you are helping, what you're delivering and how you do it. Use key works that are relevant to your market and customers, as these words are what they will search on, so you'll want to show up in the results!
- Stick to your logo, brand or related images on your profile picture and cover image. It's good practice and helps to build awareness of your business.
- Connect with local, national and even international networking groups. It's a great way to virtually network and for you to learn from others in the market. It helps to build up a reputation across the business community. I'd also encourage you to like, comment and share other business posts that you relate to and support. - Post little and often and make sure your posts are relevant to your products with a clear message - use the same rule as your page header above to help structure your posts. For example, if you landscape gardens for a living, you'd want to post about a recent project, how happy your customer is (with some actual quotes drop them) and possibly think about offering an incentive, or discount, for the first X amount of orders. - Don't be afraid to use emojis. They may seem gimmicky or a tad unprofessional, but actually they invoke a sense of causal friendliness and help to humanise your business 💙. Emojis are common across all social media platforms and used by even the big companies🏢. Just make sure you use them wisely and in the right context. 👍😊 - Try to mix up your posts with a variety of related media methods. For example, using photos, images, videos, GIFs, podcasts, infographics and more to share your products and any news keeps your audience interested. People like a variety of ways to view posts. Personally, videos are proving to be a really good way to authentically communicate and engage with your audience. It takes a bit of practice, but if done properly it can work wonders for trust in your business brand. - Use hashtags whenever you can. These are a great way of bookmarking your post across the platforms search terms. So for example, if you are a boutique fashion store make sure you use hashtags like #boutiquefashion #topfashiontrends #uniqueclothing #feelfabulous etc... Certain platforms will only index the first few hashtags in their search engine, but the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will allow you to add up to 30 tags. Personally, I find this excessive, but it all helps increase your search reach. I would just encourage you not to use 30 hashtags on every post, as 1) it will take you forever to think of them as you'll want them to be related to your post, products and business and 2) it will probably annoy your audience and put them off. - Placing an 'Ad' or Advert on your posts can be a good way to reach more people and increase your leads. However, there are multiple ways to create an Ad. Initially you'll need to decide what you want people to do - I.e. like your page, message you, buy something etc. Next you'll need to determine your audience demographics, which can be quite detailed. Really think about who you're trying to reach before you create your audience filter. Finally you'll need to select how much money you want to spend and over how many days. This will calculate a daily reach and total spend for you. I would recommend you start off small and remember that you can cancel an Ad at any point, once it's been approved by the platform - so don't panic if you create it wrong. There are many more things you should consider when managing your business through social media, but the above are the basics. Please get in touch if you have any questions about the above, or would like to discuss how we can help you set up your profile and implement a series of communication plans for your social media accounts.