business reputation

Top 10 Small Business Social Media Questions Answered

     1. What are the 1-2 social media platforms my small business should be using? Why?

It really depends on the business, but Facebook is always a good bet. Twitter can used as a good customer service-type resource. If your brand is product-based and very visual, Instagram is definitely a good platform to be on.

Of these three largest social media platforms, Facebook is a solid choice, especially since it shows up often in search pages.

     2. Does my small businesses need social media to stay relevant? Why?

Absolutely. Many people use social media not only to communicate, but for research. If your social media isn’t updated, many people assume you’re no longer in business. People search for mentions and reviews a lot of the time.

     3. What should I post on my social media channels?

Post content relevant to your brand and industry. Are you a dog groomer? Post content about DIY dog grooming tips, ways to prevent fleas/ticks/heartworm, funny videos and recipes you can make for your dogs. If you’re a CPA, post content about tax season, money dos and don’ts, and updates about your practice. A good rule of thumb is to post content that you know your audience will love.

     4. How often should I post?

It really depends on your brand and what you’ve been doing so far. If you have a larger audience, you can post more often. If you’re just starting out, start slow, but be consistent. A good place to start is 3-4 times a week and tweak that number as needed.

     5. Is there a best time to post? What time is it?

Again, it really depends on your brand. Generally, good times to post are between 8-10am and 7-9pm for Facebook, 12-2pm for LinkedIn, 1-3pm for Twitter and anywhere between 7-10pm for Instagram. Again, these are just averages. The best times to post vary widely by audience.

     6. How do I get more followers?

See #3. Post consistent content often, respond to your audience, and always be human.

     7. Why is it taking so long to get more followers? How can I grow a following faster?

Growing your followers takes time. Nothing happens overnight. You could buy followers, but that will actually do more harm than good. Give yourself at least 90 days to start seeing results. Listen to your Grandma - Good things come to those who wait.

     8. How many followers do I need to make X amount of sales?

This is a great question! While it would be totally ideal to attribute reaching X amount of followers to sales, it’s not quite that easy. Tying sales to a social media post is very difficult. Don’t use social media to make sales, instead, use social media to build awareness and make people want to buy from you.

     9. Isn’t social media just for online businesses? Should local businesses care about social media? If so, why?

Nope! Social media is for everyone! Big businesses, small businesses, start-ups, nonprofits and even personalities can benefit from social media. Local businesses should especially care about it. When utilized correctly, it’s a great way to reach the community and increase brand awareness.

     10. I’m working so hard to grow X platform, but my followers and/or engagement is decreasing - why?

It could be a number of things. You could be posting at inopportune times, you could be posting irrelevant copy, or you could come off as fake and boring. The best thing to do is test your content. Trial and error is a necessary process of building your social media following.

3 Ways Businesses Should Spring Clean Their Online Presence

When the sun starts shining a little more often and the flowers begin to bloom, many of us get into “spring cleaning” mode around our homes.

We get rid of any junk, we make necessary updates and we just sort of “polish” things from top to bottom.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, for small business owners, this springtime clean sweep shouldn’t only happen at home. It should also happen in your business.

And even if you work from home, or if your office is completely neat and tidy, chances are, there are some elements of your online presence that could use a little freshening up.

To be honest, things change so often online that we really should be looking to make necessary updates on a quarterly basis. But either way, doing a thorough spring cleaning to your online presence is a great place to start!

Here are 3 ways small businesses should spring clean their online presence in 2017:

Dust off the “welcome mat.”

I like to think of your “online welcome mat” as the the first step someone takes before walking through your front door (literally if you’re a local business -- if you’re an online business, it’s what they do before reaching out or engaging with your offers).

Essentially, it’s how people know how to contact you.

Of course, you should have this information on your site, and all of that should be accurate. But you should also make sure the information on your Google listing, your Facebook, your Instagram and other social media is thorough, seamless, consistent and up to date.

Surprisingly, I see tons of businesses with old addresses and phone numbers listed. I’ve even tried to contact a business before using the phone number listed on their site. only to discover that they don’t allow incoming calls! Seriously!?

Take some time to go through each page of your website and scour your social presence for information that needs updating.

Make sure you don’t miss anything by downloading my Online Presence Spring Cleaning Checklist, available here in my resource library.

Clean up the details and refresh the “decor."

Here we’re talking about all elements that make your business look clean, professional and captivating online.

Now is a great time to update images and other visual components of your branding, and to make sure it’s consistent everywhere online.

I’m giving you full permission to delete old, low-res or blurry photos (even if they have likes and comments), erase old tweets and take down links that are no longer relevant to your business or brand.

Additionally, check to see that you’re communicating clearly, consistently and accurately on your site, via email and on social media. There's no better time than now to refresh the message you’re sending to your online audience! It may seem obvious, but lots of businesses let this stuff sit on the back burner for way too long.

Connect with people who will appreciate your cleaned up space.

When you wrap up spring cleaning your home, your first thought probably isn’t to invite your rowdy neighbors over for a house party.

Take this same approach once you’ve put in the work to clean up your online presence. Connect with people who will appreciate the effort you’ve put in -- people who find your business and brand valuable.

The best way to attract the kind of online audience that will actually help you grow your business is to interact with current and prospective customers, as well as industry influencers and thought leaders on social media.

Of course, you also want to be putting out value-driven content that will resonate with the type audience you want to attract. Share helpful tips, ideas, entertaining videos -- anything that aligns with the mission of your business and brand.

If you’re unsure about what type of content you should post, simply ask yourself, “What does my ideal client/customer need to know or understand before deciding to do business with me.”

You can even share this information via video. And it doesn’t need to be fancy. You could go live on Facebook and share a few quick tips. This sort of content can grow your reach on social media and attract the right type of clients/customers in record time.

Spend a full day or two spring cleaning your online presence. I promise it will be time well-spent since you’re likely to see better results from your overall marketing efforts.

Download the Online Presence Spring Cleaning Checklist so that you don’t miss a single important step. Plus, I’ve even included a few bonus tips and organized the entire list so you know exactly what to do first.

Grab your free Checklist in my Resource Library here.

When Social Media Explodes

I keep up with the news ALL day. I have an entire monitor on my desk dedicated to my Twitter feed that gets refreshed every 60 seconds. Sometimes I scan through and it’s nothing important, other times my feed will blow up with something.

And yesterday, my feed blew up with Marcy’s Diner. The owner of this diner yelled at a toddler to be quiet in her restaurant.  The act in itself is frowned upon, but the only reason this story took off is due to the owner’s explosive response to the mother’s bad review on Facebook.

Had the owner not responded, or responded kindly, no one would be talking about this today. Had the owner exercised some restraint and good judgment, the restaurant’s Facebook page wouldn’t be swamped with trolls and angry comments. As of this morning, a single comment has earned 3,600+ likes and generated 571 replies. This is just a single comment! This doesn’t include all the posts to the page from random strangers all over the world or the hundreds (maybe thousands) of other comments.  From an analytical stand point, these numbers are great, but the restaurant’s reputation is now tarnished.

Here are my Top 3 Examples of When Social Media Explodes

Boner’s BBQ

This one hits close to home, literally. This BBQ joint was located in Atlanta in one of the parking lots of Turner Field (go Braves!).  In January of 2012 Boner’s made national headlines when the owner lashed out at a woman for her negative review on Yelp.

Here’s his response to her Yelp review:

“NOT WANTED! [Patron] left waitress 0.00 tip on a $40 tab after she received a Scoutmob discount. If you see this woman in your restaurant tell her to go outside and play hide and go f- yourself! Yelp that b-!”

The Internet responded swiftly and showed no mercy. Even though the owner removed the Facebook post and offered an apology, the damage was done. The business suffered massively and eventually closed later that year (they offer catering services these days from an undisclosed location).

Amy’s Baking Company

In May of 2013 the world witnessed the meltdown of Amy and Sam Bouzaglo on the television show Kitchen Nightmares AND Facebook. The two owners went so far off the deep end that even Gordon Ramsey gave up on them.

Here are some snippets of Amy’s Facebook rants (warning: strong language ahead)

Citizens of the Internet responded immediately. Not only was the Facebook page attacked, but thousands of negative, and fake, reviews were posted to the restaurant’s Yelp page (Yelp spent weeks removing the fake reviews). The restaurant has since closed, but the two have opened a wholesale bakery under the same name.

Marcy’s Diner

And now Marcy’s Diner has become the latest social media explosion. Here’s the response that has been heard around the world (warning: strong language ahead)

Screenshot taken of the reply before it was deleted. This is not my screenshot.

Screenshot taken of the reply before it was deleted. This is not my screenshot.

Yikes! Since this social media explosion is fresh and still making its rounds on the news, no word yet on how this will impact business. But if history can tell us anything, it’s that a tarnished reputation can shut down a business.

If these restaurants had a dedicated Social Media Manager, these scenarios would have played out differently. A Social Media Manager is a professional that serves as an objective buffer between the public and the business. A SMM knows how to diffuse a situation and prevent these types of explosions (unless they forget which account they post from, but that’s a different story).

What social media explosions have you witnessed?