Prepared for VRGA by Molly Goodyear of 802Social
For more information and additional blog posts head to www.802social.com
Join us on April 29th at 2PM for "Social Media 101: The Basics of Facebook and Instagram for Business"
The Internet, smart phones, and social media together have radically transformed the way people connect, communicate, and consume, yet never has the seemingly indispensable convenience and expediency of these tools been more profound and vital than in a situation like we all find ourselves in today.
Nearly every person on the planet is intentionally isolating themselves from everyone else in order to stay safe. To say this is unprecedented would be an understatement. The kind of connection that matters to us the most as human beings and businesses is literally not an option for the foreseeable future. Each of us are flocking to the internet and social media for important, up-to-the-minute information, for ways to stay connected to our communities and our loved ones, and to support the people and businesses we care about.
Your customers are looking to support and stay connected to you, and social media is uniquely positioned to fill the gap in what is clearly an unprecedented time for all of us. If you hadn’t come around to social media before the crisis, now is clearly the time. Social media provides one of the most powerful ways to communicate and stay connected to your loyal customers, while reaching new customers, and new audiences at the same time. Social media allows your community to connect to you, your product or service without having to physically visit your premises. Staying connected while respecting social distancing is the name of the game right now, and social media the dominant arena.
Facebook and Instagram Best Practices
Whether you’re new to social media or not, there’s a few things you should always keep in mind.
Engage – Your community and customers are scrolling for interesting, informative content right now. They are looking for ways to stay connected, and to literally get the things they need and want. Facebook and Instagram are the most convenient ways to get important information about your business out to your customers, and keep people connected to your business. Create conversations that take on a life of their own about the work you do, and the business you’re in. Present ideas and ask questions. Invite people into the conversation, and assure your community that you’re still there for them as you always were, and with their help, you will continue to be.
Consistency – Show up often. The current situation ensures a captive audience to anyone willing to reach out. Don’t just post once a week; reach out daily, or multiple times a day. You have a unique opportunity right now to distinguish yourself, your business and your brand, from all the others. Be consistent in your messaging and your commitment to your audience. Post content of real value that is relevant to your business in these uncertain times, and of particular interest to your community.
Use Hashtags – Perhaps now more than ever, there are certain narratives and we are all following. Whenever relevant, use hashtags in your post to weave your business into the larger conversation. Things like #curbsideservice, #delivery, or #staysafe, help connect your business to the community in ways relevant to them in the moment.
Plan with Content Calendars – Just what it sounds like, content calendars are one way to plan and organize upcoming social media content. Content calendars keep you organized, they help you know what you’re publishing, where and when, and collaborate more efficiently with others on aligning consistent, compelling content with real world experiences for your business and clients. Keep in mind, your content calendar is not set in stone; with the business and social landscape changing daily, be flexible and responsive to the situation, as well as the needs of your business and your customers.
Monitor and Measure – Don’t just take my word for it, dig into the analytics for yourself! It’s a lot easier than you might think. Both Facebook and Instagram make it really easy for you to see how well your posts are doing, what kind of public engagement you’re getting, your audience’s reactions, etc. Take a few minutes to see what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust your approach as needed.
Social Media Beyond the Standard Post
Remember, for a lot of people right now, social media is their number one form of communication and entertainment, so step outside the box and show them something special.
Facebook and/or Instagram Live – Going LIVE provides an immediate connection with your audience wherever they may be watching. People viewing can ask questions in real time, and see how you’re working and holding up. It’s the next best thing to being there! If you’re a business that wants to have a conversation with your audience where you allow them to ask questions, express concerns, or just spend a few minutes together as we’re all navigating this unique time, this may be the place to go.
Stories – Found on both Instagram and Facebook, Stories are ongoing daily slideshows that invite people to experience your day right along with you. Stories are found at the top of both your Instagram and Facebook home screens, they last for 24 hours, and you can keep adding to the story at any time, all day long. More than just static images, Stories allow you to incorporate short videos, and add creative flourishes to images with text, drawing tools, face filters, and stickers! Stories are a great way to stay engaged with your audience throughout the day, and for all of us to share this experience together.
Facebook – Shop/Services/Offers – Facebook has three business-related tabs on the left side of the page where you can set up to sell or promote services and products. Leveraging the connections you’ve already established on Facebook, and Facebook’s own unique algorithms, these tools allow your business to sell and promote to a virtually infinite audience.
The New Normal
So much of what was standard business practice just a month ago, seems almost entirely irrelevant today. That said, this too shall pass. None of us know just how long the current crisis will continue, but at some point we will come out of it, and things will return to “normal.”
When that happens, remember the relationships and connections you’ve built on social media, and don’t abandon them! As we all settle back into our routines, stay active with your audience, create a new content calendar, stay consistent and stay engaged.
Until then, stay social, and STAY SAFE!