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On mobile, this article is best read in landscape format. This article contains several examples of social media postings that are easier to read this way.
Social media is used every day by thousands of people across the world; we use it every day to share updates about our lives to our friends. But social media is not all about talking to friends; when it comes to business, social media is one of the biggest marketing tools out there. Many of the biggest brands out there use social media as you will see in this post; we will mostly talk about Facebook, however some tidbits of information regarding other social networks will be mentioned as well as we discuss what you should be doing to promote your business on social media. It is important to know that your small business (or large) should be as on as many social media networks where relevant rather than as possible; if you can utilize all social media networks for your business then that’s great! Being on social media can help your search engine ranking increase, but more importantly it gives you visibility to thousands of people. Having a presence on as many social media networks as possible helps people who do not use one social network find you on another. The main reason we will mainly focus on Facebook is because it has 1.6 billion monthly users and several of these users (not all) are in your target market, so it is important for your business to maintain a presence on Facebook.
Let’s go over some social media basics for your business.
Utilize the Call to Action Button on Facebook
On your Facebook business page, a Call to Action button can be found on the lower right-hand corner of the cover photo. You should not ignore this button as you can use it to allow visitors to contact you in many ways, such as by linking the button to your website or even as a Call Now button (for mobile users) to name a few. If you do not utilize these buttons, your business could be losing money every hour; because of its location on the header image, you should use a header image that compliments the button.
Utilizing the Call to Action Button on Yelp
Many mobile users search for a business and review businesses on Yelp, so you should consider getting your business listed on them in order to help increase its visibility. Just like on Facebook, Yelp profiles tied to businesses who have Yelp’s paid advertising have call to action buttons located at the top of the page just below the business photos. The difference between Facebook and Yelp is that Yelp has two call to action buttons: one shown to desktop users and one shown to mobile users. You will also have the ability to add a personalized message next to the button as well as on the button. Just like Facebook, you can have the button call your number, link to your website, book appointments or link to other relevant pages to your business. For example, if you are running a special on Facebook then the button can link to your business’ Facebook page advertising the special.
It is also important to note that call to action buttons are not just exclusive to Facebook and Yelp; you should also have one incorporated into the home page of your website, preferably at the top of the page. For more information on creating an effective call to action, please see our blog post from August 2017.
When you post on Facebook (or any social network), your post should not only be something for your visitors to simply look at or read. Effective posts should encourage some sort of interaction, such as sharing or commenting. Wishpond wrote an interesting blog post titled “8 Sure Fire Facebook Post Formulas That Drive” that gives great tips on how to create posts that can increase your page’s activity; please read it when you get a chance and start seeing more activity on your page. In addition to the methods mentioned in Wishpond’s post; another way to see interaction is to share blog posts that you write on your website. Links are your best friend when it comes to getting traffic on your website and seeing higher search engine rankings, so you should share your posts on all of the social media networks your business has a presence on and then ask your audience for their insight on what you have written. Always remember: posts that ask for interaction are much more effective than posts that do not.
Include photos, nice graphics or videos in your posts
Posts should always be eye-catching and grab people’s attention immediately. If you just simply post a few lines of text, nobody will really notice them; if you post large paragraphs, nobody will read your post. But if you include something that grabs the reader’s attention immediately, people will notice right away. The example above is from Neil Patel’s Facebook page; the video follows a topic that would grab his followers attention. The topic sentence states that the video below features 7 free tools for helping you rank #1 on Google; first the word “free” was used as the first means to grab the reader’s attention. Next, he mentions the benefit of the video which is to help you rank #1 on Google; this post uses only one line of text and entices the reader to watch the video. This post is effective because it uses one sentence to describe why you should pay attention to it and it includes an educational video to ensure that users will interact.
Create Educational Posts
As seen from the example from Neil Patel, posts that can be educational will grab the interest of your readers easily. Any time you can help your audience solve their problems regarding issues or questions that they want answered, you should create a post that helps them easily whether it be with a simple picture, a blog post or just a small tidbit of information. The example above from Inc. Magazine’s Facebook page uses an eye catching photo to grab the reader’s attention and links to their article on saving money for retirement. To encourage people to interact, the post even asks a question; asking questions is a great way to start engaging users as they will answer it in the comments section. As a bonus, you should even encourage your readers to share your post as a means of increasing exposure for both your Facebook page and your website.
“Like if_________. Share if__________.” Posts
An easy to encourage people to interact with you post is to prompt them with the headline to like the post if they agree with one option and share the post to agree with another option. In this example, Skittles made a post asking users to both like and share the post if they would push the button (if it were real, that is). The post has a great humorous effect on the reader by only giving the reader one option and it uses a colorful graphic that stands out; asking the users to like or share your posts will certainly increase the post’s activity and encourage conversation with the readers.
Think about common questions and problems your clients have. Answer their questions in a post.
This is another way of creating an educational post that could grab your reader’s interest. You may get clients all of the time who ask a certain question such as “How do I keep my website safe?” or “How often should I clean my car?” Questions like these can be answered on social media easily and you can do it with infographics, blog posts and text complimented with a photo. If you have an FAQ section on your website, include the answer on that page and then link that page to your post. This will not only create interaction on your post, but will also bring your website some traffic. The example above comes from AgoraPulse, who wrote a blog post on building your email list on Facebook on a tight budget. If clients are always asking about how they should manage their funds while trying to build their email list, AgoraPulse’s post answers their questions and gives tips on how to do it.
Offer Incentives in Your Posts
People will interact with posts that give them something in return for interacting with it; they will especially love posts that give away things for free. The example above comes from HealthProductsForYou.com, which is giving away a coupon code in this case. Many tips on how the post is effective are outlined in the photo. Posts like these are a great way to increase engagement on your page and drive traffic to your website. Coupons, free gifts and discounts are only a few examples of incentives to give your readers. If you really want to take things to the next level in terms of offering incentives, consider starting a contest on your Facebook page.
Using Polls While Offering Incentives
Polls are a great way to get your readers to interact as they ask questions and give users options to vote for. This example from Shoe Mania offers an incentive to the reader who votes in their poll. They are asking users to vote for the shoe that they want to see go on sale; by doing this, interaction is growing from users answering the poll who are obliged to buy their favorite shoe at a discounted price. The only caveat here that the incentive only goes to the users whose favorite shoe wins. You do not have to offer an incentive to anyone who votes in your polls, but incentives do encourage more interaction.
Having an event at your business? Promote it on Facebook.
Is your business having a grand opening ceremony? What about a special guest? Let everyone know on Facebook by setting up an event; encourage people to RSVP for special prizes and ask questions to your audience on the Info section. When people comment on your event, always answer every post if possible to show that you are listening. The example above offers door prizes and encourages users to invite others. When this event was created, it should have been created by California Closets not the individual user. When you create events for your business, ensure that your business name is the creator and not your individual user account. This gives your event page more professionalism and separates your personal profile from your business profile. If your website runs WordPress, display your Facebook Events on your site with the Import Facebook Events plugin to ensure that your website visitors do not miss out and are given the opportunity to RSVP.
In addition to posting photos and videos that grab people’s attention, you will also want to use them showcase other aspects of your business. One thing you should remember is that because Facebook owns Instagram, they integrate with each other easily and you can post to Instagram and Facebook simultaneously. Make sure you follow these steps from Instagram’s help center to connect your Facebook account to your Instagram account; you can even share to other social networks such as Twitter.
Use Instagram to showcase some of your best work
Whether you are a plumber, painter, interior designer or a roofer your work deserves to be seen. Pictures of your best work will show the public that you have the skills and experience to perform the job. With Instagram, all you have to do is snap a photo of the completed job with your phone and upload it with the Instagram app. If you are interior designer, you may be interested in the blog post Elle Decor made on the 10 Best Instagram accounts for interior designers; check it out here.
The Power of Live Streaming
If you have an event that is going on, why not stream it live to show your audience what they are missing out on? Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all allow you to stream live videos to your followers. You could even do a video webinar this way as well if you want to teach something to your followers and answer their questions directly. Need inspiration? Check out this article from Forbes discussing 5 great examples of live streaming from different brands.
Show that you are a real business
As a small business owner, you may have run into the problem of being a stranger; that is people want to know if you are a real business or not before they come to you for services. The best way to fight this problem: post pictures of you and your employees in action at your office or on the job site. Are you a sole proprietor? Have someone take some nice photos of you hard at work on one of your projects. You will gain the public’s trust when they see your company actually has real people working there.
Go beyond a simple review on Google or Yelp (these are still important, though) by encouraging your satisfied client to speak about their experience with your services. You can post the video testimonial to Facebook and your YouTube channel. See the example below from Sono Bello:
You do not have to create any fancy videos or anything that looks like a TV commercial. A simple recording of the satisfied client speaking into the camera will work fine; if possible, have them speak while standing near the work you completed for them.
Start a YouTube channel and make educational videos
Many people search YouTube for “how to” videos all of the time. If you want to share tips or give specific instructions on how to perform a task, make some videos that would be of interest to your audience. Do you own a specialty food store? Make some videos on recipes using the ingredients you sell. Are you an electrician? Why not discuss tips for saving energy that could help people save money on their bill.
We have already covered the use of call to action buttons on Facebook and Yelp as a means to help possible customers contact you. However, you want to be able to expand your reach and one way to do that is to have a presence on different social media networks and platforms; people who are not on one platform may find you on another and contact you for business. We are going to mention some apps below that can help possible customers contact you easily.
Facebook Messenger If you are using Facebook for your business (and it’s recommended), then you should have this app on your phone. You will be able to talk to anyone who messages you through your Facebook business page (as well as your friends) while on the go. The app is available for Android and iOS and there is also a Windows 10 app available as well (so you do not have to open Facebook every time); the Messages app in Mac can also be connected to your Facebook account, since there is no official Facebook Messenger app for Mac at the moment.
If you are using Facebook for your business (and it’s recommended), then you should have this app on your phone. You will be able to talk to anyone who messages you through your Facebook business page (as well as your friends) while on the go. The app is available for Android and iOS and there is also a Windows 10 app available as well (so you do not have to open Facebook every time); the Messages app in Mac can also be connected to your Facebook account, since there is no official Facebook Messenger app for Mac at the moment.
Skype Messaging client for desktop and mobile that allows you to send free messages and can even be used for making phone calls with subscription. You can create a free account for your business and then add a button to your website that will allow people to contact you through Skype if they have it installed. Skype is similar to Facebook Messenger because you can send photos, links and files with it; available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
Messaging client for desktop and mobile that allows you to send free messages and can even be used for making phone calls with subscription. You can create a free account for your business and then add a button to your website that will allow people to contact you through Skype if they have it installed. Skype is similar to Facebook Messenger because you can send photos, links and files with it; available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
WhatsApp for Business (Android only) Just released in January 2018, WhatsApp for Business is currently only available for Android at the time of this posting. This free app allows you to create a business account for WhatsApp that will allow people to message you inquiring about services. Features include options to organize contacts with custom categories and a business profile that features your company’s logo, a description of your company and your address and website.
WhatsApp for Business
Just released in January 2018, WhatsApp for Business is currently only available for Android at the time of this posting. This free app allows you to create a business account for WhatsApp that will allow people to message you inquiring about services. Features include options to organize contacts with custom categories and a business profile that features your company’s logo, a description of your company and your address and website.
Google Voice This free service from Google will help you separate your personal phone calls from your business calls if you are only using one cell phone. You will be able to create a free phone number for calls, texts and voicemail that will direct to your cell phone number, but the person on the other end will receive your calls and texts at this free number instead of your cell phone number when you call or text with it. Vonage Business Cloud (requires subscription, app is free) If you use Vonage for your company’s landline phone, did you know that you can take calls from that phone with you? You will never miss any calls to your landline with this app as it allows you to make and receive calls to and from your Vonage landline on your cell phone using your Vonage number. In addition to that, you can send and receive texts using your Vonage number and check your voicemail. Available for Android and iOS.
This free service from Google will help you separate your personal phone calls from your business calls if you are only using one cell phone. You will be able to create a free phone number for calls, texts and voicemail that will direct to your cell phone number, but the person on the other end will receive your calls and texts at this free number instead of your cell phone number when you call or text with it.
Vonage Business Cloud
(requires subscription, app is free)
If you use Vonage for your company’s landline phone, did you know that you can take calls from that phone with you? You will never miss any calls to your landline with this app as it allows you to make and receive calls to and from your Vonage landline on your cell phone using your Vonage number. In addition to that, you can send and receive texts using your Vonage number and check your voicemail. Available for Android and iOS.
If you are really serious about social media marketing, then you will want to plan your social media posting strategies accordingly. Check out this guide from our friends at Loomly on starting a social media calendar.
Disclaimer: Creativity Design Group does not endorse or have any affiliation with any of the products or companies mentioned in this post. We do not receive any monetary compensation nor do we have any connection to employees with these products or companies. Information is for educational purposes only.