6 Social Media Starters for Small Businesses

Yesterday I met with a friend, Jamie Day Fleck, who is a photographer here in Toronto.  She asked a common question I hear a lot from people – how do I maximize myself as a business on social media? Whether it’s photography, fashion, food or health, getting onto social will help your business grow faster and give you a more positive brand impression for your fans.  Here are some starters:

Differentiate your Facebook techniques from Twitter Never ever connect the two – literally.  There’s an option to send Twitter posts to Facebook.  DO NOT!  They are separate beasts.  Facebook requires fewer posts that are more intriguing to generate engagement.  Twitter is more liberal (so you can post more often) and is more of a connecting tool.

Twitter? Yes. Twitter is your friend.  It’s the most powerful niche search/forum online today.  Here’s how to start:

  1. Use hashtags and experiment with ones in your industry.  For example, if you want to focus on wedding photography, use a hashtag in front of #wedding, #bride, #photography etc. to make your tweets more searchable (see image below)
  2. Find Twitter chats (online meetups for industry leaders and followers). For example the travel industry’s largest chat is #TTOT , “Travel Talk on Twitter”, and it’s on Tuesdays at 5pmEST.  Every ten minutes, a themed question is posted by the chat’s hosts, always using the #TTOT hashtag within the post.  Responders answer questions and engage with others.  It’s a great way to get to know influencers.  Can’t find a chat? Start your own.
  3. RT (that’s retweet) and ‘favourite’ key influencers’ tweets.  The star beneath a tweet is the favourite button. It shows up in the tweet composer’s interactions and shows them you’re watching. It’s like a ‘like’ on facebook.
  4. Use tools like Google Reader, StumbleUpon, Twitter Lists and others like Reddit to generate content.  Remember, your own content is #1 to share.  If you have a blog, link your blog to tweet out automatically when posts are published.

Learn the secrets of posting well on Facebook There are countless whitepapers and guides out there to help people understand what goes into a good post. But, truthfully, there is nothing out there that describes the simple basics of one:

  1. Use a headline that’s catchy and hit the SHIFT + ENTER button to create a space afterwards
  2. The post ‘body’ should only be 1-2 sentences (note: your average friend’s post has 9 words)
  3. Use a photo or video with EVERY post.  It’s eyecatching and enticing.  People can ‘like’ it and that ups engagement.
  4. If using a link, post it a few spaces below the body.  Don’t let it form a preview or box.  Your PHOTO should be the centre of the post
  5. Thanks Brad Clarance for liking my photo 🙂

There is such a thing as a bad Twitter post Bad grammar, too many U’s and R’s instead of ‘You’ and ‘Are’, and slang, bad language, or fluff posts like – ‘I had an omelette for breakfast’ should be avoided.  Instead, ask yourself, if this tweet was a newspaper headline, how would it sound? Would it be funny, witty, a call to action, or dramatic? Talk to other tweeters like a real person.  You are real and so are they.  Remember, you don’t always have to follow back, but you have to follow someone.

Don’t overshare Some brands make the mistake of over-posting on Facebook.  Not only does this start to irk your fans because you show up too often in their newsfeed, but it decreases your EdgeRank.  EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm for determining what is relevant to you and your fans.  It’s based on geolocation, interests, relationships, and scheduling.  The more valuable and engaged your posts are, the more likely they are to show up in your fans’ newsfeeds.  Keep it to 1-2 posts per WEEK.  Avoid weekends at first – but Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, each around 11am-1pm prove good times.  Use the Facebook scheduler to play around (image: the clock a the bottom left of a new post, see below).

Become ad-friendly Facebook ads are very easy to use, won’t cost you a fortune, and can be very effective in targeting the right audience for your page.  Capping your budget is simple and I recommend you do that to start.  Photographers have no problem finding original creative content for their ad design, but do try to use four variations in the initial ad launch.

While there are best practices for succeeding in social, there’s no wrong or right way to use it.  For more on social media starters or consulting, please leave a comment!

2 responses to “6 Social Media Starters for Small Businesses”

  1. Kathy Reiffenstein Avatar

    Excellent tips, Mel, for newbies and good reminders for those more experienced! If only more people would embrace the one about not pushing Twitter posts to Facebook!

  2. ademoiselle Avatar

    Thanks Kathy! Absolutely, social media are channels – you wouldn’t put a radio broadcast over TV and vice versa! 🙂

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