Running out of time to manage social media? By now, you know the value of social media to your business development. It’s a vital avenue to reach new business, strengthen existing relationships and maintain positive connections with current and future employees. It’s a way for you to share your business culture, events and news in your communities.
But finding the time to create all those posts and review your post performances is the challenge. So, how can you do that when your time is spent out networking and conducting your daily business operations?
Here are time saving tools that allow you to share valuable content with your audiences. Social media scheduling tools allow you to manage multiple profiles and networks from one location. So, you can schedule your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other posts for the week (or the month or longer) via one tool, saving you valuable time. You can also review reports (or customize reports) to view your post performances. For instance, you can track how many people you reached, how many people liked, shared, commented on, etc. each post.
Since there are numerous social media scheduling programs available, each with their own set of advantages, drawbacks and prices (some programs are offered at no charge), be sure to do your research prior to choosing a social media scheduling program for your business. Here are a few of the more popular social media scheduling programs:
This program optimizes your time by allowing users to manage all social profiles from a single dashboard. Users customize their dashboard in the way they want to see their data. The program comes with a default reporting system for social media analytics and you can also customize the reports to meet your particular needs. Hootsuite is a popular and widely-used program for businesses of all sizes.
MavSocial is a platform that allows users to schedule and track social media posts and their performance. Another MavSocial time saver is its large stock image gallery for ease of finding images for your posts.
Built to scale, Sprout Social saves time for teams of varying sizes. This social media management platform provides engagement, publishing, analytics and collaboration tools. Sprout Social includes a robust selection of reporting tools to analyze your social media performance. Sprout Social is a popular program for advertising and PR agencies that manage multiple client social media accounts.
One additional note: Remember Alliant National is a great resource to advise and educate independent agents on social media best practices, including which social media management tool is ideal for your needs.
Here’s How to Increase Audience Engagement Via Social Media
Social media is everywhere. And it seems like every day another social media network pops up. How do you make the best use of your time, while also keeping up with new networks, new ideas and all that posting work?
Start by understanding which networks are available, and of those networks:
Who is their target audience?
What is their primary purpose?
Then, match that data to your target audience to determine which networks you should engage with to get maximize your audience engagement. Alliant National’s marketing team can help you make that determination. The most popular social networks for Alliant National’s independent agents are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Once you know which networks to join, create a strategy that includes: topics you’ll post about, as well as the frequency of your posts (2-3 times per week, consistently, is great). Here are a few tips to get the most audience engagement out of your social media activities:
Include graphics in your posts. Everyone loves graphics in social media posts. They are easy to spot when scrolling though our feeds and the more eye-catching, the better. Make sure you use clear, politically-correct and appropriately sized graphics for your post. Do a quick google search to determine size requirements. Also, be sure to give appropriate credit to each image.
#UseHashtags. Hashtags help keywords stand out in the post, and they’re also handy for tracking discussion around a specific topic and connecting with people who are searching for that particular hashtag.
Create interesting posts. Posts should be insightful, informative, fun and thought-provoking to audiences. People don’t want to be advertised to through your social media channels. Share industry-related articles, fun holidays, pictures and stories of your business supporting local charities, events happening in your community, etc. Invite your audience to share their stories and pictures and to comment on your posts.
Join the social media party. Don’t just post. Read and respond to all comments you receive on your social media networks. Comment on social media posts from business contacts. Think of it as a networking event. You have to get out there and be social in order for it to be a valuable experience.
One additional note: Remember Alliant National is a great resource to agents in helping them with social media best practices. We can get you started and/or help you get on the right path to increased audience engagement. We love our independent agents!
Your business is a success. Congratulations! And why wouldn’t it be a success?
You’ve worked hard, faced and overcome many challenges, added some blood, sweat and tears, and worked many nights and weekends to ensure success.
You have professionally-designed ads throughout the community that promote your business. But, what does your personal Facebook page say about your business?
If you have crazy spring break pictures, online gaming stats, political messages and/or colorful language and extreme opinions posted on your public Facebook page, it’s likely to damage that business reputation you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Here are some best practices for your personal Facebook page:
Utilize the privacy settings. If you haven’t done so lately, take a tour of Facebook’s privacy settings. You can choose who can view your page, as well as your posts, comments and images.
Would you want current or prospective customers to see each post, comment and picture on your page? If not, make the appropriate changes. Use the privacy settings wisely.
Know what your kids are doing on your page. Do you allow your kids to play games through your Facebook page?
Or, perhaps you are playing all those farming, candy-gathering and other trendy games on Facebook. If so, update your settings so that Facebook doesn’t notify and invite all of your friends to play, too.
And, sorry folks, your Facebook friends don’t care that you plowed a new field in FarmVille.
Chain letters are still frowned upon. Don’t. Just don’t. On behalf of all your Facebook friends and future Facebook friends, please don’t send out requests for people to “share this post to 10 other friends to avoid extreme misfortune.”
Think how your clients would feel receiving all those messages from you.
Be mindful of the opinions you share. It’s true. You don’t have to share your political beliefs, Vegas trip pictures and current mood on your Facebook page.
You can also disagree with someone else’s post without actually commenting on that post. Again, keep in mind the message these posts are sending to your wide range of clients, and use the privacy settings sensibly.
One additional note: Keep in mind your employees likely have personal Facebook pages that may pose a danger to your business reputation. You should ask them to read this article.
Don’t let your personal Facebook page scar your business reputation.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool for marketing and growing your business. If you aren’t already utilizing this method of marketing, you’re missing a big opportunity.
And, hopefully you don’t have the mindset that, “I’ve done great so far without it, why start now when it may just be a fad?” Influencer marketing is here to stay!
Influencer marketing has been here for centuries, but in other forms. Referrals and customer complaints are influencer marketing. The art of influence elicits changes in thinking or behavior.
An influencer is someone who has the power to change our perception and behavior.
Because social media is now mainstream, influencer marketing is everywhere. Customers don’t have to go looking for referrals. Referrals (and other influencing content) are everywhere.
So, what’s the best way to use influencer marketing to grow your business?
Here are several ways to increase influencer marketing within your business:
Know the influencers and build relationships with them. Influencers include “influential” people within your community, such as prominent bloggers and local non-competing business people. The influencer’s audience should be the same audience you are trying to reach.
Offer valuable information (contributed article, tips, etc.) to the influencers, asking them to consider sharing the content on their blogs or other social media. The key is to make it pertinent information for the influencer’s audience, and not “salesy” content.
Ask your satisfied customers (who, by the way, are influencers) to review your business on Yelp, Google and Facebook. They love you, so be sure they share their love for you. The goal is for prospective customers to see these reviews when they are researching and making purchase decisions.
Ask customers to “check-in” on Facebook when they visit your office. This is a great method for growing your business’s popularity on Facebook. Consider offering a small monthly prize ($25 gift card to local restaurant) via a random drawing from all people who’ve checked in over the past month.
Engage with your clients via social media. This is a great method of personalizing your service and further integrating into your community. Be cautious of sharing, liking or commenting on any potentially objectionable content. Keep it clean!
One additional note: you should avoid paying influencers to market your product, as paid endorsements lose credibility with buyers.
Follow these tips and you’ll be practicing influencer marketing! It’s not rocket science. It just takes a conscious effort, a plan and a common-sense approach.
Boosting a post works like this: Say you post about an upcoming event, and you then determine you want that post to reach more people’s Facebook feeds and ultimately increase brand awareness of and attendance at your event.
You can pay a nominal fee ($30-50 average per boost) and choose the audience demographics for your boosted post. Boosting posts will increase the “reach” or viewership of your event post.
What’s more, you can also target your boost to reach a desired audience. For example, you may choose all 18-to-36-year-old men and women who live within 3 miles of a specific area code. The more people you choose to “reach” with your “boost,” the higher the fee.