Five years ago, Facebook was a popular outlet for sharing vacation
photos, LinkedIn was a helpful way to receive recommendations and
Twitter and Pinterest were unheard of.
Five years ago, Facebook was a popular outlet for sharing vacation photos, LinkedIn was a helpful way to receive recommendations and Twitter and Pinterest were unheard of. Today, however, Facebook has been used to build million-dollar business enterprises, LinkedIn is used for free test marketing in closed groups, Twitter breaks live updates before you hear them on the news, and Pinterest delivers tasty eye candy to draw people into shops and websites in record numbers.
Social media has become one of the best ways to grow a brand in stages. All you need to do is add creativity, passion and consistency to snag the attention of your target audience. However, many small business owners get stuck because they are not sure how often to post, tweet, share, comment, repost, retweet and interact with people on these platforms.
More importantly, what are you supposed to say? And finally, how much time should you budget in your day to use these platforms? After all, someone still has to make the doughnuts or truffles.
By far, the most popular question of the bunch is “how can I make time for social media to keep my business afloat?” Here are three steps you can try in 10 minutes that I showcased in my presentation at this year’s National Chocolate and
1. Say hi (one minute)
Imagine that posting on Facebook and Twitter is as easy as having a conversation with a good friend. Get to know what is going on in the lives of your followers, and vice versa. Ask how their morning is going, and show pictures and posts that sum up your morning so far. Can they relate? If so, they will talk back, share your posts and ask questions.
Why it works: Customers enjoy spending their money with businesses that brand themselves by speaking directly to their community. Studies have shown that customers in the baking and confectionary industry would rather give their money to a business with an active Facebook fan page rather than one with an inactive page that hasn’t been updated in at least seven days.
2. Use a social media dashboard to schedule posts (eight minutes)
Sometimes, the most opportune time to post material is when you are in the kitchen getting your hands dirty. Create a virtual clone by signing up for a free social media dashboard with scheduling capabilities. My favourites are HootSuite and Gremln. They allow you to schedule posts that include pictures, video and more for any time between five minutes from now and 12 months in the future.
Why it works: If you travel for trade shows, events, have a sick day or just need a vacation, you won’t abandon your social media community. You can still keep the party going and the conversation flowing if you have to step away, and you can plan posts for the upcoming week (or month) in just a few minutes.
3. Change your cover photo (one minute)
Cover photos are the customizable banners you see on social media platforms from Google+ to Facebook to LinkedIn company pages.
Why it works: You can share a message with your customers that will not disappear to the bottom of the page as you update your posts. Do you want to thank the individuals that came to your pastry-making event? Snap a photo with your phone and post it. Are you debuting a new dessert? Take a teaser picture and let your community know what’s coming soon. These cover photos are placed prominently at the top of the page, so use this free real estate to your advantage.
If you can make your customers feel like they are about to taste something unique and special, you have them for life. Carry this momentum into your social media and you will create a very powerful branding force that can significantly grow your business on- and offline.
Lauren Young is an award-winning author, professional speaker and the CEO & Founder of Freshly Baked Communications in Chicago, Ill. Her newest book, Stir – Achieving the Perfect Marketing Mix, is available in stores now.
For more on business, visit www.bakersjournal.com
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