When you have nothing else to do, social media can be an excellent way to pass the time.
But if you’re a small business owner, managing your social media outlets, or even trying to come up with a social media plan, can feel like a drain on your short supply of energy, especially when your days are already jam-packed.
And like any relationship where you feel that you give more than you get, feelings of resentment are soon to follow.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Small business owners who view social media with a mix of annoyance and avoidance, and only use it begrudgingly, are probably not getting much out of it either.
But like the good Dr. Phil, we’re here to mend this broken relationship, and get you on the path to a happy co-existence with your social media plan.
Ready for our pain-free plan for social media success?
Make a Commitment to Post Regularly – and Stick to It
If you’re ready to get serious about social media for your small business, the easiest way to work it into your life is to publish a post every day that you’re open for business.
Whether that’s three days a week or seven, if your store is open, you must communicate that through social media.
If you aren’t at a schedule-making level yet, make it a part of your morning routine to post something within the first hour that you are open for business. And if you work from home, it’s even more imperative to be openly communicative with your audience.
For example, every morning you open for business, make your first post of the day about one of your items, and call it ‘Today’s Featured Product.’ This is an incredibly easy way to get on a regular social media schedule, and it’s in a format that your customers will appreciate. And always include a picture of the item.
- You can even use a free site like Hootsuite to schedule all of your posts in advance to make things easier. Set aside a couple hours on a Sunday to write posts for the week and then use a social media-scheduling tool to set the date and time and you’ll have pain-free posts sent out each day of the week to the accounts you specify. (You can choose Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, etc. on Hootsuite.)
Get Busy Promoting Your Events, Sales, and Short-Time Specials
Second only to talking about cats, sales are generally the most popular topic on social media.
But wait, you’re thinking, I don’t hold sales and my next event isn’t until Christmas!
Oh, do I have a solution for you. Because of the nature of small businesses, any item you create can be turned into a can’t-miss-limited-supply-special. Unlike the boring corporate chains, most small business owners don’t order 50 million pieces at once. Instead, they fill stock as needs and demand dictate.
Therefore, when you are nearing the end of a certain line of product, it’s an opportunity to let everyone on social media know that this special item will not last long – in fact, you only have 5 left!
Creating demand like this might seem silly, but the average consumer will view limited-quantity items with higher regard, and it will give you a chance to cycle through a variety of styles and stock. This also means that you can feature different products at different times, allowing you more creativity and flexibility in what you make.
- When you find you have only a few of a certain item left, take a good picture of the remaining pieces, and use that same picture to post about the limited-time offer until all of the items are sold. You don’t have to post every day, but you can include an extra post every few days to promote it. This will help you measure how engaged your social media fans are, and how popular that particular item is.
Use a Schedule to Keep You Organized and On Track
If you’re ready to graduate to Jedi-level social media master, then start getting friendly with a schedule. Creating a simple spreadsheet with your upcoming events, featured items, and major holidays will help you manage your social media plan and brainstorm what you want to talk about on any given day. Additionally, you can give every day a theme in order to keep your content engaging.
Here’s our free, downloadable social media schedule template to help you get started.
This might seem like an excessive bit of scheduling to you, but I guarantee that it will remove a lot of the anxiety associated with trying to post on social media. If you are unsure of what to post on a particular day, simply refer to your schedule for a bit of inspiration.
- Setting themes for each day of the week will help make social media more manageable for you. For example, maybe Mondays you highlight a product, Tuesdays you talk about upcoming events or sales at your store/website, Wednesdays you feature a fan wearing or using your product, Thursdays you post something funny or entertaining that also relates back to your industry in some way, and Fridays you offer a helpful tip that is relevant to what you have for sale.
Don’t Knock It Till You Try It
These days, having a website is simply not enough. You may have all of the elements in place, but driving traffic to your site and people to your store is paramount to success. And that’s where a solid social media plan comes in.
Basically, you can think of social media as a way to engage with your fans on a personal, fun level that they will welcome, and become more responsive to over time. So stop knocking this marketing tactic and start seeing it as a way of not only connecting more deeply with your consumers but helping your business reach its full potential.
Share with us: Do you currently have a social media plan?