By Ian Meyer
There really is no way around it, it's that simple. If you have a business and aren't posting on a regular business you're beating yourself over the head. But the good news is you don't need to use every platform there is, and have a variety of different strategies you can use.
If you have a business but and it is not active on Social Media platforms, your inaction is actively hurting the business. Simply for the sake of providing customers with your basic business information, it is smart to have a profile for your business. For the sake of them knowing you are alive, doing well and actively operating - it comes off as a nice gesture to at least leave a post once in a blue moon. In some cases a person may question the legitimacy of your business... Having an active Social Media presence reassures your potential customer that you are the real deal and not some elaborate scam.
Having active Social Media accounts brings benefits to your business beyond the reasons I just mentioned. When your customers like or comment in your posts and you engage with them, you are building the foundation to a relationship. In some cases you are building trust. When you are posting and engaging on a regular basis you are always front and center, fresh on their minds. Of course, there is a line and you can also over-do it. But when you can find that sweet spot of frequency to your posts, and also bring something of value to your audience... You've got a golden opportunity on your hands.
Social Media Marketing isn't that complicated, I promise. It is repetitive, though. It can sometimes feel a bit tedious and even annoying as you have so many things on your to-do list. But don't overlook, or under appreciate its importance. If you do the work yourself, you're technically looking at a free source of marketing. But is it really free? If there is anything that is true in business it is that time is money. And like I said, this shit may only take a small portion of time out of your day, but over time, it really adds up. So if you are ready to get started then be prepared to commit to it.
The first thing to consider when starting SMM for your business is to figure out which platforms work for you and which ones don't.
There are so many different types of Social Media platforms available to us in this day and age, more than I will even be touching on in this article. What you need to be doing right now is focusing in on the platforms that are the well known and cater to your target audience. And also try to figure out (and you may not know this right away) which one is clearly going to be most compatible for your business and its audience. When you have figured this out, make that platform the focus of your Social Media efforts.
In this article I will briefly touch on the bigger Social Media platforms to help give you an idea of which demographics are the majority that's using each platform. Because as logical as it seems to just be on every single platform, you may find yourself spinning your wheels and wasting your time on some platforms.
And what did we just go over a few moments ago? Time and money go hand in hand when it comes to business and you don't want to waste one penny, or one second (and trust me, you will waste both at one point or another unintentionally, so save your time and money at every opportunity possible).
So for instance, if you're selling blood pressure monitors, you might find yourself wasting your time on a platform like TikTok seeing as roughly 50% of TikTok's global audience is under the age of 34. If you are selling a product that is more targeted to women such as beauty products - your best platform could very well be Instagram as 57.3% of the users on Instagram in the United States are female.
I hate to say it because I am not a fan of Facebook but it's probably the best platform to be on as it has 2.7 billion users worldwide. An audience of that size creates a lot of potential for any business of any size, especially small businesses. And we cannot leave out YouTube with it's 1.3 billion users collectively watching 5 billion videos in a single day.
I'll be honest, Youtube kind of snuck up on me, as in the beginning and for many years after I thought it was just a place for cat videos and people doing stupid shit for attention. And don't get me wrong, there are still people doing stupid shit for attention. But, now after spending years on YouTube, paying attention to and picking up on the sales tactics and marketing strategies being used - I feel YouTube is a force to be reckoned with.
There are a million different scenarios I could lay out because there's a million different ways to make money. I don't know what type of business you have, what product or service you offer, so on this one you are going to have to do your homework. And when you do, just search for things on Google such as "Age group of users on Facebook" or "What percentage of women use instagram in the United States". Things of that nature.
Now, who are the big dogs in the industry? According to Adobe the top 7 Social Media platforms in 2020 were:
And before you go off to the races and start creating these accounts, I think it is definitely worth mentioning that anyone offering professional services should also take the time to create a LinkedIn account and be making posts on the platform on a regular basis, regardless of what your profession is. If you are selling a product, I'd say you don't need top worry about being on LinkedIn outside of creating a business profile.
Now, I could start going on about each one of these Social Media platforms in length but this isn't that type of article. We do want to finish reading here at some point. So I am going to get right down business and just tell you what strategies I've used for marketing on Social Media and what little tips I can share along the way.
The first thing you're going to want to do is get creative.
I usually end up on 4 or 5 different Social Media platforms when I get any particular business started on a campaign. After you've figured out the best platforms that work for you, start considering your angle. For instance if I am doing a marketing campaign for an attorney, I will compose a post that targets each area of law that they practice. Then I will find an photo to pair with it that explains each practice area in a single shot. I'm sure you've heard "a picture is worth a thousand words", well all you need is a picture that explains enough for people to make the connection in their mind within a single frame.
Then I will get into Photoshop, and add the attorney's logo, along with the name of that practice area (i.e. Personal Injury), their phone number, and website URL. A rule of thumb to remember is you never want to clutter an image you use for your marketing. So be sure that you keep it short, simple and sweet by getting your message across without covering more than 20% of the image.
Here is another example:
This is an actual image I've used for my other business, Boston Segway Tours. And as you can see this is a slightly different approach, but the main rule still applies. I am not covering more than 20% of the image. But let's touch on a couple other cardinal rules, one of the most - if not the most important being - that if you are going to go the route of pairing a photo with your post, the photo has to be nice and clear. Nothing kills the image of your business like using a blurry or pixelated image in your marketing.
Also, try to use crystal clear text when applying it to your image. Again, blurry or pixelated text over your image looks like total shit and you should never do it. And so this all reminds me of 2 things I also need to mention. You really need to get on a photo editing program and start getting yourself familiar with it. I prefer to use Photoshop, and will be talking about how to use Photoshop i my next article.
But another thing I wanted to mention here is another series of tips that also serves as a segway (pun intended) into my next point. In a more broad sense, there are basically going to be 3 main formats in which you should be creating posts.
They are as follows:
A post paired with a video
In my opinion, I feel posts with videos will stop someone scrolling along, right in their track, more than anything else. Of course, these are probably the hardest to come up with. Especially if you are coming up with your own material, and even more so if you are trying to post fresh content even on a semi-regular basis.
A post paired with a photo
This is still a super effective way to grab attention. Especially with rich content. Meaning, the better your photo, the more attention you will most likely grab. And again, remember not to cover the entire thing with a bunch of scrambled text. Make sure it is organized and kept to a minimum.
Using plain text on it's own
I would advise against this unless you are really getting creative and only if you are making it interactive (conversation starters). And in my mind you can only do this by either asking people a single question and asking for them to voice their opinion. Or, setting up a quiz with multiple choice answers that instantly show what answers others had chosen (which are only on specific platforms like Twitter or YouTube).
You should never, ever, ever type some text on it's own without it being interactive. The fastest way to have your posts ignored is to just type some paragraph making a bland statement on something, no photo, no video.
Sequence, how many times you will post back to back. Frequency, how many times you will come back to the computer to post in a day / week. Timing, what time of day as well as what day of the week is the ideal time you can reach the most people in your target audience.
Sequence can vary quite a bit. Let's go back to the attorney posts because I feel it's a good example. When I post for an attorney, I am creating a sequence of posts for each area of law that they practice across all the platforms I have deemed most useful to their industry. So, say I will leave posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Maps, Twitter, Yelp, Yellow Pages and Google My Business. This attorney practices 6 areas of law. Corporate Law, Bankruptcy, Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Real Estate Disputes and Personal Injury.
Do the math, 7 platforms over 6 different types of posts. You've laid out a sequence of 6 different posts on each platform, totaling in 42 posts. If you have your written content saved in a word document of some kind, your images already made and ready to go, and the Social Media sites you will post on - bookmarked in a folder on your bookmarks bar - you'll get through the process as fast as possible. This type of sequence takes about 20-30 minutes and my frequency is only once a day in the morning around 9 am.
But now think about it, in a matter of minutes this business has had an explosion of posts pop up all over Social Media. Complete with lots of hashtags related to their industry, tags connected to their business location, and a link to their website for people to follow. You see how I use something like Google Maps, right? Well you can't add any text to those posts, only a photo can be submitted. This is why I will put some text into the image. All platforms work a little different, which is something I will talk about later in this article.
Now say with Boston Segway Tours, man... I would go a little crazy with it because a) This is my baby and I want to give it all I've got and b) When I do posts for someone else I am getting paid only but so much, and in turn will only do but so many posts and spend so much time on any given campaign. If someone were to pay me more for me to to do more, of course I'd do it. But usually everyone sticks with the standard campaign I set up for them.
Now with Boston Segway Tours, I have different sequences and frequency based on what time of year it is. Keep in mind that every business is different, every industry has their own trends, their own needs in this regard. This particular industry in this particular location is seasonal. So in the winter months I am not posting that much, maybe a few posts in a day. But still, let's go over this example...
For BST I use Facebook, Google Maps, Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google My Business, Instagram, and TikTok. Sometimes I even put some stuff on YouTube but it's hard for me to get that creative while doing everything else. Even TikTok I may not do as often either. Remember, video takes some serious creativity so it's harder to maintain. But no matter what, in a standard sequence I will do the first 7 platforms I've mentioned. So lets do the math, even in the winter when I post at my slowest, a sequence of 3 different posts spread out over 7 platforms is 21 posts.
In the spring its more, in the summer I am all out posting like a mad man, in the fall I am posting a similar amount to what I am posting in the spring. But let's go to full peak of the season in the summer. I will do a sequence of different posts, and my frequency is once in the morning / once at night. I know it sounds nuts but you'll understand why in a moment. Let's do the math, 20 sequences of posts over 7 platforms is 140 posts total, in one day. You're probably thinking "WTF, Ian?!"
Well listen to this. In the first season (2015) of Boston Segway Tours I spent $60,000 on marketing. Some of it was even print marketing (which I do nearly zero print marketing anymore). My 2nd season, I had this asshole pop up, doing Segway tours in Cambridge, MA claiming he did tours in Boston when he didn't. This is when I started doing crazy posts and came up with this strategy. That year I only spent $30,000 on our marketing through PPC ads combined with Social Media Marketing, and only one type of print marketing which was to be in these maps that were handed out all around the city.
In my 3rd season, I did the maps again. I spent $10,000 on Google and Facebook Ads during July and August. And then did a ridiculous amount of Social Media Marketing. All in all I spent about $15,000 on our marketing and 2 great things unfolded. We became the #1 tour on TripAdvisor and we had grown our following on Facebook to about 40,000. Today, we are still #1 on TripAdvisor and we now have over 70,000 followers on Facebook. All of this while bringing our marketing costs down 75%. Not to mention year after year increasing our sales by about $100,000.
Now onto another client of mine. She sells CBD products among many other things in an online Herbal Apothecary, and has an inventory of nearly 600 different products. Unlike the strategy I use for my attorney clients, where I highlight each practice area, I do not highlight every single product she sells every single day. Obviously that would be ludicrous. But instead when I initially started her account, I did a different post, every day (Monday-Friday), for the first month (20 different posts in all).
As I got past the first month, I would then begin to repeat those 20 posts, adding a new one usually about once a week based on different angles of marketing. Maybe there was a new product she wanted to highlight and sell, maybe there was a sale she wanted to run, maybe it was the holidays and she wanted to do a Black Friday Sale or sell Gift Cards leading up to Christmas. As time goes on I'll add the written content to her specific word doc and matching images or videos to her specific media folder. Now I have a huge collection of different posts I can unleash at any time.
Based on different factors, I will post different things. But for her each post takes work as I make a custom image or video for her every single time. This takes time and effort, as well as creativity. So even though I only do one sequence of posts, with a frequency of once a day (Monday-Friday), I still end up spending about 20-30 minutes a day just to do a total of 5 posts. In case you're wondering, I use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google My Business, and Pinterest for her campaign.
Each platform you'll use works a little bit different than the other
If you know a thing or two about Social Media Marketing you have probably heard of websites like Hootsuite and others that provide a similar service. Yes, I know about them. But, when you post on different platforms your content is presented in different ways and because of this, I prefer to go to each platform individually to ensure the post is going to look solid, while still keeping the consistent look across the board. Some don't allow GIF files, some only 280 characters. Some allow only photos.
For the sake of having the best looking post I possibly can, I customize the content to suit each individual platform. I haven't checked in a long time but I don't think a service like Hootsuite does that. And that's fine, to each his/her own. For all you know, Hootsuite may be a good fit for you so it is worth checking out. How I handle my SMM is just my preference, as I like having more control. If you want to save even more time outside of the little hacks I taught you, you can do so using something like HootSuite.
Now before I finish this portion of the article, let me also take a moment to talk about timing. As you just read, attorney clients get posts at 9 am because I imagine their target audience is probably online looking for legal help around that time. I post morning and night for a business like Boston Segway Tours because I want to flood people's Social Media accounts to the point they can't ignore us. And for a retail business like the Herbal Apothecary I will post typically sometime between 1 and 4pm.
Why between 1 and 4pm? Well let's think about it. You are busy in the morning running errands, working, trying to check things off of your to-do list like look for an attorney because you got a speeding ticket the day before. Then you have lunch. After, you might be at work, your brain isn't as sharp, you're most important work of the day is done, maybe you're responding to emails and following up on tasks you started earlier in the day but find yourself drifting over to your Facebook or checking out your Instagram to see what everyone is up to.
Thats why, lol. And honestly, I have read all sorts of different things. Post between 9 am and 12 pm. Post between 1 pm and 4 pm. Post between 6 pm and 9 pm. I think this is going to be a call you have to make on your own based on your industry and target audience, and that the call is all your own. But at the end of the day the most important thing is you stay consistent and post on a regular basis.
Quick tips before we wrap this up
The more custom the better
Always keep that in mind. This is your brand! This has your name all over it! Not only does it speak to who you are and what your company is about, it affects the bottom line a.k.a. your pocket! I know some days can be more hectic than others and you may be short on time, or not have the creative energy necessary to make a custom looking post. But know that if your logo is on the image in your post or better yet you created a short 15 second video to show off, you're going to grab that much more attention and it's totally worth it!
Engage the engagements
It's too bad you couldn't like another persons like, because if I could - I would! The more a post gets reactions and engagements (whether it's you or them), the more it's deemed interesting and is shot right up to the top of users news feeds. Of course you never want to be the loser who likes their own post, but once someone leaves a comment, comment back! If anything, like that comment! It's only going to help the ranking of your post. The more people interact with it the more likely it will end up being the first thing someone sees when the log on.
Break it into bite size pieces
Your message should be as short and to the point as it can possibly be. But if it has to be a bit lengthy, you've got to break it up into little bite size pieces. Even if it is sentence by sentence, like little mini-paragraphs. If someone see's one long chunk of text with no break in it, it is most likely going to drive them away. Don't be that post! Think of the user experience!
Emoji's are, Okay 👍
Hell, I use them for Boston Segway Tours. But would never use it on a post for one of my attorney accounts. It has to be suitable for your industry and it's audience. And if you do happen to use emoji's, please, for the love of god, don't over-do it! I can't tell you how many people I've seen go way overboard with emoji's. It just looks ridiculous. This is business, not a chat between two 13 year olds.
Don't underestimate posts on GoogleMyBusiness
Like, at all! Because honestly out of all the posts you are doing, I would say posting on your GoogleMyBusiness page is just as important as posting on whichever platform you deemed most important and relative to your target audience. Let's look at the cold, hard fact that 70.38% of all searches done on the internet were done on GOOGLE! So, even though they may not have their failed form of Social Media (Google+) - Google still reigns supreme on the internet. And last time I checked, thats where all Social Media resides.
Don't forget about the little guys
Yes, in this article I mentioned how you want to be on the big platforms but that doesn't mean you should forget about the lesser-known Social Media out there. Look... if I can post there, and it holds a certain amount of relevance to my potential client - I am going to post on that shit. You may have noticed on that example I showed of my Bookmarks Bar that I had Yelp and TripAdvisor included in those Bookmarks. That's because they hold a significant relevance to Boston Segway Tours and there's an option to leave a post! Why not?
Make sure your hashtags stay relative to your post
It's okay if you have a lot of hashtags at the end of a post, or intertwined into your post. But, the more hashtags you add onto a post, the more likely you start to drift away from being relevant to the post. So don't just drift off into space and leave a bunch of pointless hashtags on your post, it eats away at your credibility and makes you look, well, dumb. Here's a little snippet for you from a stand-up comedy show done by Iliza Shlesinger (can be found on Netflix).
That's all for now, everyone! Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned for more blogs coming soon. I've been inspired to write a few just from this article alone, so there is definitely more to come.
And if you feel a bit overwhelmed about Social Media Marketing, don't! It gets easier and easier as you build up your content. You just have to take those first steps and get the ball rolling. If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me here in this blog. I will answer as soon as I can. Thanks again and have a great day!
"Stay Calm and Build On!"
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Article By: Ian Meyer - Entrepreneur and Creator of Business Builders Club
Ian has been infected entrepreneurial spirit since he was a child, from small time hustles like mowing the neighbors lawn to selling drugs as a teen. In his 30's he went on to run what would become the #1 Tour in Boston, MA. As a way to pivot during COVID19, he is working on multiple projects trying to make a path to the next chapter of his life.