Everybody is using different tools to manage their social media accounts. I can guarantee you that any business or brand out there is using some type of automation tools to help them maintain their social profiles.
But I also think many times people associate automation with sounds robotic, and that’s totally not the case.
The fact is, it’s nearly impossible to manually manage your social media and still have time to actually…you know, run your business.
I wanted to share the tools that help me manage my social media accounts as well as client accounts. Some are free, some are paid, all are awesome!
P.S. You can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest if you’d like!
Buffer is now one of my favorite tools to use to schedule out content for my social media platforms.
I primarily use Buffer to schedule content for my Twitter and Instagram accounts.
I love Buffer for several reasons.
1) It makes for easy scheduling when I’m reading articles I want to share.
All y ou have to have is the Chrome extension installed for Buffer. Once you have this installed and you click on the Buffer button, this pops up:
Then you can schedule to whatever social platform you like. You can either add it to your queue that you have set up, share it next, or share it now.
You can also use the Power Scheduler feature if you use the paid version of Buffer.
This essentially means you can schedule the post to go out multiple times. This is a great tool to use for scheduling your own blog content to go out, as you want to make sure you are sharing your blog posts multiple times on Twitter.
Not everyone is seeing every single one of your tweets, so it’s okay to promote your stuff again!
2) Another reason why I like Buffer is that it can directly connect with your Feedly account (another tool I recommend later in this post!).
All you have to do is click the Buffer button (pictured below).
And then schedule your post to go out!
3) A third reason I’m obsessed with Buffer is that you can see the analytics for each of your posts.
Below is a screenshot of my analytics for my Twitter account. As you can see, you can filter it by all of your recent posts, most popular and least popular.
Here is my analytics from my recent posts on Instagram.
This is great because you can see what types of content resonate with your audience, so you can create more posts like it in the future. You can also easily “Re-Buffer” content that you’ve already sent. This essentially schedules it again to go out. I use this occasionally for Twitter when I run out of time to input fresh content (hey! It happens!).
I wrote an entire post about why I love BoardBooster and how you can use it for your business but let’s chat about it again, shall we?
BoardBooster allows you to schedule out your pins to be “dripped” out to your feed, so you don’t have to manually pin 50 pins a day.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite do have an option to schedule out pins but I’ve found I like BoardBooster better.
One feature that is ah-mazing is the Looping feature.
This lets you loop older pins that your audience maybe didn’t see the first time around. Remember, not everyone is seeing all of your tweets and certainly not everyone is seeing all of your pins.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to use BoardBooster for your business, I encourage you to check out my post.
First loves die hard, don’t they? Well, at least in scheduling tools for me 🙂
My first social media scheduling tool love was Hootsuite and I definitely still use it.
I use Hootsuite to monitor several different feeds for Twitter.
This is great for when I want to see my feeds all at once. I like the interface of all of my mentions being in one column, so I can quickly respond to anyone who tags me.
Feedly! My favorite tool uh…ever. I wrote a gigantic post as well as created a tutorial video all about how to use Feedly to streamline your social media scheduling. It’s comprehensive and you should definitely check it out if you’re looking to save some time (aren’t we all!).
Feedly is my tool of choice that I use to aggregate all of the blogs I read and where I can directly schedule to my Buffer account, which I mentioned above.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming! But indeed this is not a typo. Spreadsheets are a powerful (free!) tool you can use to manage many aspects of your social media platforms.
Two ways I use spreadsheets:
I pre-write 5 different tweets for each of my blog posts. That way, when I go into Buffer to schedule out my tweets for the week, all I have to do is copy and paste.
Obviously if you use a system like Edgar this step isn’t necessary. But I realize there are many of you out there that aren’t in the market right now to spend that much on a marketing tool (me included!).
This is my way around that and it saves me hours of time.
I also log my social media analytics onto a spreadsheet at the beginning of each month. I like to track to see how far I’ve come and to set goals for myself.
I don’t get too stuck on the numbers though. A small following can still be a mighty following!
I use Canva to create all of my images for my blog and social media posts. I am thisclose to investing in Canva for Work which will save me so much time!
But for now, I essentially created a template for each of the social platforms I share graphics on.
Once you’ve created your template (or a couple of templates if you like variety!), it takes you literally minutes to create a new image to share.
This is a great tool to use if you’re not a graphic designer and/or don’t want to invest in Illustrator or Photoshop.
There are plenty of other tools out there that may be a better fit for your business. You need to take a look at your business and offerings and see what methods work for you and then give it your all!
Being a solopreneur business owner can be rough, wouldn’t you agree? If you truly want to have social media work for your solo business, you need to have a strategy. Otherwise, you’ll end up stressed out, unfocused, and overwhelmed with social media (and will most likely give up completely!)
In addition to being a solopreneur myself, many of the clients I work with are also solopreneur business owners. Using the strategy below for your business will help you have clarity, confidence, and focus for your social profiles and for your business.
Before we start building a social media strategy for your solopreneur business, we first need to identify the goals you have for your business.
Because ultimately, any and everything you do on social media should be supporting one of your goals for your business. Your goals for social media should never be to “have thousands of followers” or “earn thousands of dollars.”
Say one of your goals for your business is to increase your client load to two more clients. Your goals for social media should support you in getting two more clients.
This may mean creating posts that shares your services, featuring testimonials from happy clients, participating in Facebook groups to get your name out there, or participating in relevant Twitter chats where your target audience hangs out.
You don’t have to do all of these things and you can create ideas that are unique to your business. The important thing is that you make sure everything you share (your content plus 3rd party articles) are all supporting your business goals.
Once you know your goals for your solopreneur business, you’ll have a better understanding of what your goals should be for your social media platforms.
The next step is identifying your target audience and narrowing in on where they hang out the most.
What I find helpful is to write out a paragraph describing your target audience in detail. Give him or her a name and describe who they are, what they like, where they shop, what sites they visit, and what their values are.
Here is a great article that helps you create an audience avatar.
Using the information that you discover about your target audience and what resonates with them most will help you understand exactly what type of content they will want to read about, both on your blog and on your social platforms. This will help you also discover which platform they use the most.
From the previous step, you should have identified the platform that your target audience hangs out on the most. Whichever platform that may be, we’re going to focus solely on that platform.
Yes, you will be tempted to use the other platforms. Yes, you may feel uncomfortable with not posting regularly to one of your platforms but you know what…that’s OKAY. It will still be there when you’re ready to come back, I promise.
The point of doing this is so you can fully be present on the one platform. It’s time to be helpful, show up, and start working toward your goals.
Schedule time in your calendar every other day to commit to this platform (or plan ahead if you don’t think you can be there that often). Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes, do the work and commit. Over time you will start to see traction and all of your hard work will pay off.
The best out there are the best for a reason. There’s something about their posts that resonate with people. Observe what type of content they post (video, picture, text?), how often, and tone.
Does their content resonate with people because it’s informative? Or is it because it’s more personal?
Are they sharing primarily videos, photos, text or a mix of all three?
Now this isn’t to say you should copy exactly what they do, but more of an overall observance their content and why it resonates with their audience. You can then start to brainstorm ways you can share content that will resonate with your audience.
After observing what works for others, you’ll have an idea of the type of content you’ll want to share on your platforms.
You’ll want to define how often you are going to post as well as what type of content. Keep in mind how much time you can reasonably dedicate to doing these tasks because they will take some time if you’re running a solo business.
While you’re defining your content calendar, you might as well schedule the time during your work week that will do these tasks. I find batching tasks to be the most efficient way to complete these items.The complete guide on building a #socialmedia strategy for your #solopreneur business from @BrittneyLLynn! Click To Tweet
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but you would be shocked to know how often I’ve worked with clients in the past who didn’t have a complete profile.
A running list for a complete profile includes:
Yes, you can get help from automation programs!
Some people think that automating parts of your business me and your business is less personal. If you set them up to sound like a robot, then you indeed will not come off as personable.
But it is possible to automate and sound like a normal human being, it’s all about how you set it up.
Programs I currently use, use for clients or have used in the past include:
Programs I haven’t used, but have heard great things about:
Automation is wonderful, but you will still need to devote some time to network on the different platforms. Some platforms aren’t built for much networking (i.e. Pinterest) but there are still ways to network on each of the platforms. Below are a few ideas to get you started.
I want to make sure to note that building your brand on social media will take time. It is rare for a business to suddenly explode on social media, especially these days. Don’t have expectations that overnight your profiles will skyrocket. Slow and steady wins the race.
Oh! And the best reminder —> Stop comparing yourself. To other business owners, to other businesses, to everyone and everything. Comparing will not get you anywhere and will not make you feel better. Stay in your lane and enjoy the ride.
If you haven’t heard, I love social media. I truly think it can help transform a small business. In fact, it’s a large part of how I grow my own business.
I asked 15 small business owners how social media has helped them grow their business and I can’t wait to share! There are a lot of goodies in here, so take notes!
Social media has been the catalyst of my personal brand and business. It allows me to directly connect with community members through my #createlounge Twitter chat and through personal Instagram updates. Whenever I launch a new product or service offering, I never have to feel like I’m going to launch to crickets because I have a supportive community on social media. Social media is absolutely worth the time investment, especially in the early stages of your business growth.Social media is absolutely worth the time investment, especially in the early stages via @kayla_hollatz @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Social media has helped grow my business in so many ways. Honestly, if I didn’t have social media I wouldn’t have a business.
Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest have been the big game-changers for me. Twitter introduced me to my best friend and is responsible for forming my mastermind. I don’t want to think about where I’d be without those amazing ladies. Facebook groups have been helpful in building relationships, finding clients, and growing my traffic. Finding each group’s daily threads and participating regularly is a great way to make the most of the groups you’re in. And Pinterest has been my #1 traffic source from the day I started giving it the attention it deserved as a social media account.
If you’re looking to grow your business through social media, be sure to study up on how to best use each platform. I recommend focusing on one platform at a time until you get the hang of it and really key in on what works well and what your audience resonates with. It can be time-consuming, but it’s well worth it!I recommend focusing on 1 platform at a time until you get the hang of it via @heykristarae @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest
Social media is the number one factor that has helped me grow my business. Pinterest, along with other social media platforms, is where I get most of the traffic to my blog. And more traffic means a bigger platform, which means a growing business. Without social media my business wouldn’t be successful.More traffic means a bigger platform, which means a growing business via @natalierbacon @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram
I had achieved success on Pinterest for a past travel business, and ended up booking over 75% of my travel clients directly from Pinterest. So I knew how powerful it could be! But I didn’t know how well it would work for my current business. Well, I shouldn’t have doubted it! Pinterest allowed me to go from a “nobody” in my industry to being seen as an “expert” with knowledge worth sharing. There is no way I would have been able to build my email list to over 3,000 subscribers in under a year without the use of social media to help me get my message out!
Follow: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram
A lot of people are on social media to get clients + sales. We’ll be honest, our regular social media posting has never gotten us a client — and we’re totally okay with that! What social media has done for our biz is that it allows us to connect with like-minded business owners. Having a place where we can openly share wins and struggles, while being supported by a community is essential to our ability to be boss day in and day out.Social media allows us to connect with like-minded business owners via @weare407 @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
When I started Amy Howard Social, I had a super small social media following – like most do when starting out. In less than one year, I now have a combined social media following of over 12k. This has resulted in an increase of blog traffic, client work, brand awareness, and relationship building. Social media is a huge part of my business, seeing that I am a social media strategist. I cannot express all that social media can do, but for me and my small business it has helped me quickly grow my dream biz! Pinterest is BY FAR my number one traffic driver and Instagram is my favorite for relationship building.Social media has helped me quickly grow my dream biz via @amyhowardsocial @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram
Social media not only launched my business, but has given me a visible platform to help and encourage women. Whether it be running Twitter Parties, hosting Instagram campaigns like #theimperfectboss or using social media to make new friends, it has grown my email list, connected me to clients and given me a voice. I believe social media can be a weapon in our business and a platform for so much goodness.Social media has given me a visible platform to help & encourage women via @ashleybeaudin @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram
Social media has played a huge role in my business, and it’s actually how I got my business off the ground when I had first started offering blog design services. Since then it’s helped me connect with people who may need my services through word of mouth and my sharing blog posts or my work, and that’s just Twitter! Facebook and Instagram have been a bit trickier to land clients through, but through sharing my work on Instagram with strategic hashtags and others mentioning me for work in Facebook threads, all three platforms have been amazing for my business!Social media has helped me connect with people who may need my services via @korymae @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
I owe a lot of my success in business to social media. It expands my reach and gets my content in front of thousands of people and gives me an opportunity to connect and build relationships with other online business owners. Most of my clients come from social media and most of my ideas for products or services are initially generated through questions I see people asking on social media. Overall, as far as I am concerned – social media is vital to my business.Social media expands my reach & gives me an opportunity to build relationships via @thecrownfox @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
Social media has played a huge part in growing my business. Its impact has been 2-fold. First, there’s traffic. Pinterest has been my #1 traffic driver recently, and all it took was being consistent. Second, social media has allowed me to meet and collaborate with many other bloggers. I’ve gotten my posts shared, traded guest posts, gotten referred for jobs, and have made online friends that collaborate with me on courses and webinars, all of which help boost my business.
Follow: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook
Social media has allowed me to connect with my ideal clients in two huge ways: Facebook & Instagram. All of my clients have come from Facebook groups I am a part of (and active in) as well as referrals within those groups. Instagram is newer for the “business” side of things for me, but I’ve continued to engage and interact with other online entrepreneurs there.
I am looking forward to growing my Instagram in September and adding Pinterest to see where those can take me! The biggest thing for me & social media was this – being social! That’s kind of the whole point isn’t it? I’d encourage others to get out there and just be engaging on a daily basis.I'd encourage others to get out there & be engaging on a daily basis via @thesocialwalker @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Instagram
Social media has helped me to connect with readers and other writers in a way that I would never be able to do with just email or my website alone. I’ve made some amazing connections and friends because of social media. For every troll or hater on social media you can find at least 5 more supporters if you look in the right places. I think being able to engage and interact with people on social media really helped me figure out what I wanted to do and which direction my business was going.Social media has helped me to connect w/readers in a way that I would never be able to do via @diadoll @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
Developing a strong personal brand through my blog and social media is the sole reason I was able to quit my PR job in December to take my side-hustle full time. I actually landed my first-ever client by including an article written by a startup founder in a link roundup on my blog and tweeting it to him! That small social media interaction was the catalyst for a business relationship that is still in progress more than three years later.
The majority of my clients tell me they find me through Twitter (the social media site I’m most active on), as well as through my blog. Taking the time to develop a personal brand while building your business is key. People tend to get bogged down in client work and put their own brand on the backburner, but when you make time for both, your business can truly thrive.
A small social media interaction was the catalyst for a business relationship via @jesslaw @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Social media has helped me grow a thriving community around my business. When I first started out, I fell under the camp of “promote, promote, promote”, but now I’m all about building relationships and creating connections. My Facebook group is one of my favourite places to hang out online, and it’s really helped create a nurturing, supportive community around my brand. In this day and age, that’s absolutely valuable!
My Facebook group has helped create a supportive community around my brand via @WanderfulWorld1 @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest
I’ll speak for two of my favourite social media platforms. Pinterest plays a big role as content marketing distribution for my small business, which helps me reach wider audiences apart from the existing readers. Then there is Instagram which brings out my personality through consistent content and increases engagement + conversations with my existing customers and potential customers.
Instagram brings out my personality through consistent content via @bluchic @brittneyllynn Click To Tweet
Follow: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest
As you can see, social media has been absolutely game-changing for many of these small business owners. In fact, several admit they wouldn’t even have a business if it weren’t for social media!
How do you use social media to grow your business? If you’re looking for more tips on how to use social media to increase your business reach, sign up for my free email course Shape Your Social!
I think I would go plain crazy if Feedly didn’t exist. That sounds dramatic, but it’s true! I no longer have to stress about finding 3rd party content to share on my social platforms and I also don’t have to go to a million different websites when I’m ready to schedule.
I had so much fun sharing my BoardBooster video tutorial last week that I decided to make another sharing how to use Feedly! Scroll to the bottom of the post to check it out!
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How To Use Feedly To Streamline Your Social Media Scheduling
Feedly is an aggregator that compiles news feeds of blog posts, news articles, and web content into one place so you don’t have to go to a million different websites to read your favorite content around the web.
Feedly came about because Google Reader shut down in 2013. I was an avid Google Reader user and I thought no other program could compete but I’ve certainly been proven wrong after using Feedly!
I not only use it to schedule content to my business social media accounts (follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!) but I also use it to keep up with my favorite recipe blogs, news sources, and friends and family members who have blogs.
The #1 reason why I suggest you to use Feedly is that it will save you so much time. I’m talking hours. Who doesn’t want to have more hours back in your day? I know I sure do!
Another reason is to have all of the 3rd party content you read in one place. Isn’t it annoying to go to 20 different websites every day to catch up on what you missed?
Feedly loads everything into one place so you only have one website to go to and catch up on all your favorite blogs and websites.
Setting up a Feedly account is easy.
Step 1: Go to http://feedly.com.
Step 2: Create an account.
When Feedly first came out, you could import your Google reader account, so I connected with my Google account. You can choose whichever option you would like.
Step 3: Start adding your favorite feeds!
If you don’t have any specific blogs you want to add, you can browse by topics and the sources they have to get started.
Related post: How To Streamline Your Social Media SchedulingLearn how you can use @Feedly to streamline your social media scheduling from @BrittneyLLynn Click To Tweet
You can organize your content by creating different categories. For instance, say you have a lifestyle blog, where you share all kinds of content related to recipes, fashion, and home decor.
You can create three different categories: recipes, fashion, and home decor featuring all of your favorite sources of those categories.
Then, when you find a new blog or website you like and want to share their content, you just add it to the appropriate category!
Check out the video below for more on how to organize and find new content.
Yay! My favorite part of Feedly: sharing social media content!
So here’s a piece of content that is in my Feedly account that I would want to share with my audience. There are multiple ways to share this to your social media accounts.
You can connect your Feedly account to your Buffer account and share content to your Buffer feed. This is free to do.
This is what it looks like once you click the Buffer button:
If you use the paid version of Buffer, you also have the option of using the power scheduler.
The power scheduler allows you to schedule the same piece of content multiple times in the future. I would recommend only using this feature to schedule out tweets.
You can then remove and/or edit the piece of content to say whatever you would like. You can also hook up your Facebook page, Google+ account, and LinkedIn profile to your Buffer and directly share from Feedly as well. I don’t have those connected to my Buffer account.
You can also share to your Facebook page and Twitter profile for free as well.
You can also highlight parts of the text and send the highlighted portion directly to Twitter.
You can also pin directly from Feedly for free. Just hover over the photo, and the pin it button will appear.
Once you click the pin it button, this will pop up:
Then you just pick whatever board or boards you would like to schedule it to and then you’re set!
You can also hook up your Hootsuite account to Feedly, but you will have to pay for the premium version of Feedly to be able to schedule directly to Hootsuite. I cover more of this in the video below.
Related post: 35 Ways To Promote Your Small Business On Social Media
Check out the video for a full tutorial on how I use Feedly to schedule my social media posts!
As you can see, I am a big fan of Feedly and if you’re stressed out by scheduling your social media and finding content I think you too should be a fan. It’s absolutely free and worth your time to at least check it out!
Please leave a comment below if you have any additional questions about how to use Feedly! I’d love to help out.
This guest post is from Dia Darling, a digital marketing strategist. Check out her blog for tips on balancing your side hustle
with real life and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.
There are a lot of social media platforms out there and it seems like a new one is gaining attention and traction every few months. It’s hard to know which platforms to hop on to and which are going to waste your time.
If you are a one-person operation, then you don’t have the time to learn and become a master of all the social media platforms all at once.
You don’t want to halfway participate in 5 platforms when you could be excelling at two.
In order to really excel and connect with people on social media then you need to know 3 things:
Now let’s get into how to pick the right social media for your brand.
In order to have a successful blog or online business you really need to know who your target demographic is. Are you appealing to mothers? Business entrepreneurs? Job seeking millennials? Really take a moment to think about who your message is for. Often the main mistake people make when determining their audience is limiting it to like-minded people.
On the other end of the spectrum, some people cast the net too wide and try to connect with everyone and be the brand everyone picks. Obviously, you should have things in common with your audience, like you’ve been where they are or you are where they want to be, but you have to think bigger than that.
What is the age range?
What do they use the internet for?
Do you aim more towards a certain gender?
Are you an ambassador for a certain cause?
What are their interests?
What are their goals?
What motivates them?
Create a client profile and write out your ideal client or reader in a detailed description.
If you are a paleo blogger you may not find much success in vegan markets. Really think about the things someone who works with you would like and what they wouldn’t respond to?
While there are countless social media platforms this exercise focuses on 4 of the most common platforms; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. These are a great place to start.
Image based mobile application. 2015’s fastest growing social network with over 400 million monthly users. Large teenage demographic.
Is your audience teens or millennials?
Does your product or service have a strong visual aspect, like design or art?
Instagram is great for very visual brands trying to reach a younger audience.
Niches that should definitely use Instagram include:
Things to keep in mind: Instagram’s platform is very limiting when it comes to linking to products. Right now you can only have one active hyperlink in your profile bio. If you are looking for a heavy pick and click strategy you may want to utilize a more linkable format.
Image based online site with a mobile app. Easily shareable content. While the number of male users has increased, 8/10 Pinterest users are female. Pinterest has over 100 million users and growing.
Niches that should definitely use Pinterest include:
Things to keep in mind: While Pinterest does have a promotional platform, there are applications that help your pins become more visible like BoardBooster. Only high-quality pins get good traffic, so you will need to either invest time or money into making the high quality attention-getting graphics.Learn how to pick the right #socialmedia platforms for your brand in this post from @DiaDoll & @BrittneyLLynn Click To Tweet
I love Twitter. It’s one of the easiest ways to meet and engage with others. I also like that it limits the characters you can use in a post. It’s a quick, easy summary and then a link to learn more. This is actually a wonderful platform to use to connect with your audience because sharing the content of others and engaging is very easy.
While you can post pictures this isn’t a super image-driven platform. Yes, tweets with images get more engagement but this may not be the ideal platform to focus on for niches like fashion or photography. The hashtags make it easy to get your tweets noticed and find people you want to connect with. Twitter is great for business because you can connect to potential customers on a public forum they already hang out on. You can answer questions, get insights and gain more connections.
Niches that should definitely use Twitter:
Things to keep in mind: Twitter is all about pitching as quickly as you can. If what you offer requires lots of explanation this may not be the best way to get new connections.
There is a lot of talk about Facebook being over and that with all the constantly changing algorithms and policies that Facebook is only good reconnecting with people from middle school. Trust me, this is not the case. While Facebook is rightfully known for mixing things up on its users it is still a valuable social media platform. Facebook has a lot of the same benefits of Twitter but without the small character limit and options for multiple pictures and graphics.
If you are a blogger, one of the best benefits of using Facebook is connecting with other bloggers in blogger groups. While some say it is a dying platform it is still one of the most populated social media platforms and reaches more age demographics.
Niches that should definitely use Facebook:
Everyone- If another platform fits your brand or audience better, I recommend focusing on that platform then adding Facebook to the mix.
Things to keep in mind: Like any of these platforms, Facebook is heavily governed by its own set of rules. Commit the wrong infraction or if the platform undergoes a major change you could lose your fan base.
While social media is so important in branding in business, it’s even more important to have a connection with your audience that you can control. Email subscribers are a stronger connection than social media followers.
Your favorite social media platform may not be where your target audience hangs out or where they search for the services you offer. Think like your potential customer not just yourself.
Howdy! I’m back for another post for my Increasing Engagement Series, this time featuring Facebook!
I see a lot of complaints all over the internet about how Facebook is the worst social platform and how it’s impossible to get any sort of reach without paying for ads.
While Facebook has certainly changed its algorithm making it more difficult for your fans to see your posts unless you pay, there are free ways to at least help optimize your posts to get in front of a larger audience.
Keep in mind, Facebook could change tomorrow making this information obsolete, but this is currently what works in early 2016.
If changes do happen, I will try my best to update this page, or direct you to a blog post to keep you all informed.
Okay, here we go!
Increasing Engagement Series: Twitter
Increasing Engagement Series: Instagram
Video is on the rise, if you haven’t heard, and if you aren’t using some type of video format to promote your business, you will be left behind.
I know, I know. I don’t like how I sound on video either, but we’ve gotta do it. I have plans of launching a Q & A video series so if I can do it, you can do it.
Anyways, now that we are over the fact that we have to do some video, you need to upload videos directly to Facebook versus uploading to YouTube or Vimeo and then putting a link to your video on Facebook.
Facebook hasn’t outwardly admitted this, but they definitely do not put any preference on updates that are linking to YouTube. They want people to stay on the Facebook platform for as long as possible, so you need to upload your videos directly to Facebook for the most exposure.
Did you know you can segment your status updates as a Page to only be seen by certain individuals of your audience? Many people don’t know about this option, but I think it’s a great tool.
Here’s how it works. If your page already has this featured turned on, it’s easy.
There should be a compass looking like object where you can select a specific audience to see a particular post.
You can either choose “Preferred Audiences” or “Audience Restrictions.”
A preferred audience lets you segment by interests. You can get very granular with your selections: segmenting by people interested in entertainment, weddings, fitness, shopping, sports, etc.
Audience restrictions lets you segment using the following information:
This could be great for bilingual pages, if you have an event in a particular city, a product geared specifically for men or women…the opportunities are endless.
Why post when everyone is sleeping, that doesn’t make sense!
Oh, but it does. According to a recent finding from BuzzSumo, posting at night gives you more exposure to your audience because there is less competition to get into the newsfeed.
Think about it, everyone else posts during the day (including not only other pages but people updating their personal status updates too, which you are also competing with).
Take advantage of the downtime when everyone else is sleeping to post your content and watch engagement increase.
My dad has always said, “You never know until you ask” and even though he’s certainly not an expert at social media (don’t even get me started on the questions he asks me about it…) his comment is totally true.
You never really do know what your audience thinks until you ask.
Asking them questions about their opinion on something is one of the best ways to increase your engagement on Facebook.
Pairing it with an image is a match made in heaven, as pictures hold more weight in the Facebook algorithm than text.
This suggestion goes along with posting at night. Overall, posts that go out over the weekend get more engagement than during the week.
It could be because more people have time to be on social media during the weekends, or that there is less competition from other businesses posting on social media during the weekend. Either way, posting on the weekends certainly won’t hurt.
With people consuming so much information, they only have so much time to read updates. Reading your Facebook page’s update might not be high on their priorities, so you need to keep it short and sweet.
Why does Facebook love Instagram? Well for one, Facebook owns Instagram.
And for two…well, that’s actually the real reason.
If you have a business Instagram profile, you should definitely be sending your Instagram photos to Facebook. Especially since it’s only a one tap task to complete, you have no excuse!
Got something you’re struggling with in your business? Or even your personal life?
Ask your audience for help! People love helping other people out. Especially a small business they follow and care about.
Crowdsourcing for information not only will increase engagement on your Facebook page, but will also help humanize your small business, reminding the followers that you too are human and sometimes need a little guidance.
Here’s an example from Pat Flynn:
This post garnered 127 responses from Pat’s audience. 127 is a small number compared to his follower count, however think if you had 127 people in person giving their response. That’s A LOT of people, right?
Crowdsourcing for information helps your audience feel like they are genuinely helping you out, giving them a more emotional connection to you as a small business.
I hope you found some value in this post! Next time, we’ll be talking about Twitter!
Hello, hello! I’m so excited to bring you today’s 1st post in a new Increasing Engagement Series here on the blog! To me, the most important part of social media is engagement. It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of fans and followers if nobody is saying a word.
Especially as a small business, you want your audience engaging with you. Many people like and purchase products from small businesses because they are more personable and fun to interact with.
Engagement is key to being more personable on social media. I’ve rounded up my best tips for increasing engagement for each social platform and plan on sharing these posts in the upcoming weeks.
First up is Instagram!
Can I share a secret? Instagram is my favorite social media platform. You can follow my business account here.
One reason I love Instagram is the visual format. As a visual learner, many times I can interpret an image I’m seeing much faster than I can reading an article. It also feels like a mini-blogging platform where you can be a little bit more personal than you can on other social platforms.
Alright, well I’ll stop my gushing about why Instagram is awesome and we’ll move on to the meat of this post, getting you more engagement!
Increasing Engagement Series: Facebook
Increasing Engagement Series: Twitter
Hashtags. If you’re a super celebrity then hashtags aren’t nearly as important to getting your images in front of new eyes. But I’m assuming no Kardashians are reading this post, so it’s probably safe to say your celebrity status isn’t going to get you the engagement you want.
But hey, that’s okay! Who wants to be super famous anyways?
Anyways, hashtags! Hashtags are a great way to get recognized by followers who wouldn’t have normally found you in the first place.
Search on Google for “your niche + Instagram hashtags” and I bet you there would be at least one article out there detailing popular hashtags in your niche. You can also check out this top hashtags list for ideas too.
If you want to be an ultra pro, add your hashtags as a comment on your on photo. Steph Gilbert does this with her Instagram posts:
Why do people do this? One main reason is to help keep your picture description clean and clutter-free. Some people are turned off from your Instagram posts if you have 30 hashtags on the photo description. Adding the periods and then the hashtags let the followers who aren’t as into hashtags read your comment without seeing a zillion hashtags as well as let new followers find you.
One of the quickest ways to increase engagement? Ask a question! It sounds so simple, but people will respond to questions if they are asked.
People want to feel a part of the conversation and that you as a business owner care about what they think (as you should…they are your potential customers!). The key here is to make the question conversational. It doesn’t need to directly relate to your business or products, but it needs to feel like a question you would ask if you were speaking with a person, face-to-face.
Whitney English had a great example of how to use a question to get your community involved:
Whitney primarily sells planners, so while this Instagram post isn’t directly about her business, it shows some of her personality while asking her followers a genuine question.
Asking questions isn’t limited to the comments section either. Your visual image can also be used as a way to pose a question. This will grab the attention of those visual learners out there (hey, girl, hey!).
Another reason why I love Instagram is that it doesn’t always have to be perfectly curated. Yes, there are plenty of accounts that only post the most perfect photos and that have a pristine looking account but what I love most is when someone shares a personal side to their business.
People need to remember that there is a person behind your small business. A real, live, hard working, caring person that only wants to serve their customers the best products. Giving them a reminder that “hey, I’m not just a faceless corporation trying to get rich” will help your customers make an emotional connection with you.
Melyssa Griffin recently posted this photo. She gets real and explains how she’s started to miss interacting with her followers on Instagram in a more natural way. Instagram doesn’t need to be all business all the time. In fact, I would suggest the opposite of that. People want to connect with other people, not brands.
Another “duh” suggestion but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t do this (I can admit I’m one of them too!). Sometimes, people need to be told what to do. And I don’t mean in a “clean you room or else you’re grounded” way.
They need a call to action (CTA) from you so they know exactly what you want them to do. If you have a new product out, how are your followers supposed to know unless you tell them about it?
Nesha from Nesha Designs shares an upcoming webinar she has including driving people to sign up from the link in her Instagram bio. She could have easily not shared this on Instagram but why wouldn’t she? Her followers want to know when she’s doing webinars and selling products so they can be a part of them and use them.
Tell your followers exactly what you want them to do and they will follow.
People often look to Instagram to be inspired by an account. There are many ways to share inspiration, whether it be a quote, sharing a healthy recipe (if you’re a food blogger), or sharing your story.
Heather Crabtree recently shared this post and how can you not feel empowered by it? Giving those motivational mantras give your audience a boost in confidence, and most times they will share their own motivational message back to you!
Since Instagram is a visual platform, your pictures need to be on point. Here are some things to remember when choosing a photo to use for Instagram:
Some people have a very strict schedule of how often they post, and while I don’t think that’s absolutely necessary, you should have some sort of goal of how often you will post in a week. Once or twice a day is perfectly fine. If you’re posting more than once a day, space out the time between you post your other photos, so they aren’t all posting to your feed at once.
I hope this post was helpful! I can’t wait to share the other engagement series posts!
P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!
Social media is obviously a great way to connect and engage with current and future customers, but how should you use social media to promote your products?
People seem to carry a negative connotation with promotion. They don’t want to come off as too “sales-y.” Which I totally get. Nobody wants to be inundated with advertisements everywhere they go.
But part of the reason why you are on social media as a small business is to promote your products. Getting the word out about the latest and greatest you have to offer is a great way to get new customers.
There are ways to promote your products through your social channels without being too annoying to your audience. Let’s take a look at some options below.
With Twitter cards, you can attach a photo, video, or media link (think article preview) to your tweets. This helps catch a follower’s eye, as we are more naturally drawn to visual images versus straight text.
For driving traffic back to your website for a product you are trying to sell, you would create what is called a summary card.
Here is an example of a summary card:
Do you see how the content is expanded to include a title, a brief description and image? This essentially gives followers a visual preview of your product, before clicking over to your site.
Getting started with Twitter cards only takes 15 minutes to set up. Read more on how to get started with these tips.
Ah, Facebook. I know a lot of people say Facebook is dead, how bored they are with Facebook, and you might have even threatened to get off Facebook forever when they made the last big update (isn’t it funny how so many people say they’ll get off Facebook when a big change is made and then…they never do? I always laugh :))
The truth of the matter is, Facebook still works. People are still spending a ton of time on Facebook.
The key factor to remember is, how you should use Facebook for your business. And if you’re selling products, Facebook ads can have a huge influence on your sales.
The most important aspect of your Facebook ad is not the ad itself, it’s the target audience for the ad.
Your target audience for your Facebook ad should not be a random selection of people in your target demographic. You are wasting your money having a broad audience like that.
You want to target people who are already coming to your website. Why? Because they are already familiar with you. So familiar, that they have already been to your website or better yet, they have already looked at your products on your website.
How do I target those people who are already visiting my website?
Inserting a Facebook ad pixel. It may sound complicated but I promise it’s not. Facebook does a great job explaining how and where you should place your Facebook ad pixel, as well as tracking any conversions.
Rich pins, like Twitter cards, give a little extra information on a pin, giving a follower all of the information they need about a particular pin. There are 6 types of rich pins: app, recipe, article, movie, place, and you guessed it: product.
Here is an example of a successful rich pin for a product:
See how it has the price of the cardigan listed at the top of the pin? As well as more detailed information about the cardigan at the bottom (style, color, brand)? That is the type of information included on a rich pin.
Setting up a rich pin is even easier than setting up a Twitter card or Facebook ad pixel (I swear!). It takes only seconds of your time, and it’s definitely worth it.
If your target audience is on Instagram, working with popular users is a fantastic way to get your products in front of the right audience.
Having an Instagram influencer use and share your product on their account gives their followers a feel for what your product is actually like. Most times, these influencers have had these followers for awhile and they trust the opinion of this person.
Instagram is neat because people can share products in a non-sales-y way, so the promotion of your product won’t come off as an ad, just a way for someone to share a product they genuinely love.
Make sure to only work with quality influencers, ones who you are proud to have represent your brand.
A quick description of social proof, in case you aren’t familiar with the term: Social proof is simply an influencer sharing your product/business on a social platform. Providing “proof” on social media that your product actually is as awesome as you say it is. This proof gives consumers a boost in confidence in your product and in turn, ends up buying it.
Here are a few examples of social proof:
Mariah Coz from Femtrepreneur.co retweeted this tweet from a webinar attendee that was satisfied from a recent webinar of Mariah’s.
Sarah Morgan from XO Sarah retweeted a complimentary tweet of one of her blog posts.
With new social media networks coming out what seems like every other day, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
“Well I have to be on Facebook because everyone is on Facebook!”
“Might as well throw in Twitter too.”
“Oh, what about Instagram? Yeah, gotta share those filtered pictures to my audience for sure.”
“What’s this Snapchat thing? And Periscope? So I just record myself talking and people will want to see it?”
By the end of the day, you spent all of your time on social media, and zero time actually doing the work required for your business!
My hope is to help ease your mind and explain how not to get overwhelmed managing your social media. Let’s get to it!
Everyone claims that you need to have a “social media strategy” for your business, but what does that mean?
In simple terms, it means answering this question: Why are you doing whatever you’re doing on each social platform? What is your goal of participating on being on a particular platform?
There needs to be a “why” to everything you do for your business and the same goes for social media. Do not be on social media just because “people tell you to.” There needs to be a reason, otherwise you’ll lose motivation to continue engaging.
I’m a big fan of batch scheduling in different facets of my life, but especially with social media.
Yes, I work in social media, so shouldn’t I always be socializing on these platforms? No.
For one, I have to write this blog right? Two, I need to meet and discuss with clients, which also takes time. So even I’M not on social media 24/7.
Here’s what I do:
Each Friday, I look at my calendar for the week ahead. I first notice any social engagements, appointments, meetings, etc.
I then plug in my workouts into my calendar.
Then, I schedule out my work week, scheduling chunks of time to just schedule social media posts or find content to share. I could easily spend hours on social media, but having those chunks of time dedicated helps me remember to save it for then.
Just do it. Nothing monumental will happen, I promise. To get a notification on your phone every time someone likes your Facebook page, or tweets at you is distracting and not doing you any favors.
I check my social platforms around three times a day: 1) once right when I wake up, 2) around lunchtime, 3) before going to bed.
Your audience understands that a human being is responding back to comments on these platforms and they know you might not respond immediately and that’s okay. You’re a small business, not a huge corporation that has 10 team members watching its social platforms.
Yep. I said it. You don’t need to be on every platform as a small business owner. Figure out where your target audience likes to hang out, choose those, and lose the rest.
Having a Twitter page just for the sake of having one but never posting on it does you no good. In fact, I think it actually hurts your business more than if you just didn’t have one in the first place.
I’ll use myself as an example. For growing my business, I’m currently only focusing on building my Pinterest and Twitter accounts. These two are where I’m getting the most value for my time right now, so I don’t promote on Facebook or Instagram.
Now that doesn’t mean eventually I won’t move onto those other platforms, but I’m only taking on what matters most to my business while I’m still building.
Pick one platform that you know your target audience is on. Just one. I know it’s hard to ignore all of those other ones but this will save you time and will also save your sanity.
Why focus on just one? So you can master it.
Have you ever heard of “just in time” learning? It’s this way of learning something right as you need to learn it, versus trying to learn allthethings at one time.
Focusing on one account (ideally, the platform that your audience is on the most) will give you time to learn everything there is to know on how to grow that account and make it sustainable. Once you’ve mastered it, you can move onto the next.
Alright, so you have a strategy, you’ve turned off your notifications, and you’re ready to handle multiple accounts. Now it’s time to automate.
There are many systems out there to automate your social platforms. Some are free, some aren’t. Some only handle certain social accounts.
For me right now, I use a mixture of the free version of Hootsuite to schedule my tweets and just started using ViralTag for Pinterest. I am hoping to do a full review of ViralTag in the near future.
My best advice is to use what system that works best for your budget and your business. It might take a lot of trial and error but once you find the right match, it will keep you from getting overwhelmed.
If your small business is growing at a rapid pace (awesome job!) then it might be time to outsource some of your social media tasks.
It can be hard to hand over part of your brand to someone new, but it could help grow your brand exponentially if you’re then free to do what you do best in your business.
Thinking of hiring someone to take on your social platforms? Feel free to check out my services page or contact me directly. I’d love to chat!
I’m sure you know by now that you need to not only share your own content on your social platforms but that you also need to share other people’s content. For one, you don’t want to be pushing your products constantly to your followers, that gets old. Plus, providing extra valuable content to your followers will give your readers an extra incentive to follow you and trust you as a reliable source.
There are many articles out there that detail out the percentages of how much of your own content you should share and how much should be outside content. For my clients I suggest the 70/30 rule. 70% outside content, 30% your business related- content.
That doesn’t mean 30% needs to be you pitching your product/business, but a mix of promotion, personality, photos, videos, etc.
But what about the other 70%? Where are you supposed to find great content to share on social media? Below are the ways I use for finding great content to share on social media for myself and for clients.
People are sometimes intimated by leaders in their own industry because they think “I could never get where they are” but I think that’s a bunch of bologna. You can’t ignore industry leaders, because, well, they are a leader for a reason. Clearly they are doing something right, otherwise they wouldn’t be a leader. Take a look at their social media platforms and see what they post.
Are they posting more videos to Facebook? What pages are they following?
Are they more personal on Instagram? What types of photos are getting the most interaction?
Are they interacting more on Twitter? What publications do they tweet about?
By watching industry leaders, you can start to become familiar with the types of content they share and what gets the most interaction. This will then give you an idea of the types of articles and content you should share on your platforms.
Along with following industry leaders, you should also follow your peers. These are the people and organizations that are on a similar playing field as you. Now you may be thinking, “Wait! But these are my competitors!” and perhaps in some instances they are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find value through following them. Heck, maybe you will end up having a business partnership with them at some point!
The point is, people who follow your peers on social media are most likely the same type of people you are looking for get to follow your platforms. It doesn’t need to be a competition, we’re all in this together as small businesses.
Pinterest is one of the largest search engines in the world now. People are browsing Pinterest on their mobile devices more than ever, even while they are shopping in a store! What is popular on Pinterest is sure to be popular to the world, so browsing what is popular on Pinterest is a guaranteed way to find great content to share with your followers.
To find the “popular on Pinterest” section, all you have to do is:
Creating Twitter lists is something I feel that is underused on Twitter, but can have a major impact. If you aren’t sure what a Twitter list even is, here’s your quick rundown: A Twitter list is curated list (you can create your own or you can follow others) where it only lists Tweets from the people that are put on the list.
For instance, say you want to make a Twitter list of local non-profits in your area. You would search on Twitter for all of the non-profits near your location and add them to your list. Here are some screenshots to help make this a little easier to understand:
How to create a Twitter list
2. Click on “create new list” on the right hand side of the screen
3. Give your list a title (for my example, we will do “non-profits in Dallas.” You can make your lists either public or private, depending on your needs. I made this one private to just show an example.
4. Find people to add to your list.
Once you add people to your list, you can go to the stream of your list to find the content that only they are sharing. It’s a great way to filter out your entire Twitter following to just a certain topic and industry.
There are hundreds, probably thousands, of tools out there to help curate the particular types of content you are looking to share. To list every single one of them would be exhaustive, but I’ve curated ones I have experience with and have loved or that I have seen highly recommended by others.
Google Alerts: Google alerts gets a bad rep now since there are many other programs out there, but I still set up Google alerts for each client I work with, just in case. Remember when setting up keywords to use quote (“) around phrases otherwise your inbox will be quite full by the end of the day 🙂
IFTTT: The best time saver ever. If you’ve never heard of it, might I suggest reading this article to get a really good overview (although I don’t agree with it completely crushing Google alerts! :)). Essentially, it’s a tool that allows different online programs and software talk to each other, without you having to do a single thing.
Here’s how it works: you can set up a “recipe” (their terminology) for the types of content you would want to share to be emailed to you. Say you’re in the technology industry. You can set up a IFTTT recipe that emails you anytime there is a popular article has been shared on the New York Times.
There are many more recipes you can create, this was just one example, so put your thinking cap on!
Pocket: Pocket is great for when you find an awesome article you want to share but aren’t ready to read entirely through the article yet. Pocket saves the article to view later. The best part? Once you save it to pocket, you can even read it without having an internet connection!
BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a great program to see what is getting shared the most on the web on a particular topic. You can also see topics that are currently trending, benchmark against competitors, and find key influencers in the keyword you selected to search.
Theneeds: The reason why Theneeds sticks out to me the most is that it not only pulls in relevant news, articles, and videos but also relevant social posts too!
Flipboard: Flipboard is a beautifully designed app that curates your interests from articles around the web. The design layout is drool-worthy!
Finding great content to share on social media doesn’t have to be hard. Once you set up a few of these suggestions listed above, you are bound to have great content surrounding you.