social media marketing

How Business Owners Can Take A “Vacation” From Social Media

As a business owner, you’re probably no stranger to considering how the day-to-day of your business will run while you’re on vacation.

Since summer is in full swing and you may have a well-deserved vacation coming up, I wanted to make sure you also accounted for the day-to-day management of your business’s social media channels.

While it is possible to take a break from your business’s social media during your vacation, some planning and preparation will definitely help you do so more successfully than if you were to just unplug “out-of the-blue,"

Here are my top 5 tips for taking a “summer vacation” from your business’s social media.

Make time to prepare beforehand.

Once your business is up and running with social media, day-to-day management can be done in about 10 minutes per day. So, you shouldn’t have too much trouble making a little extra time for “social media activities” in the week(s) leading up to your vacation.

Putting this time on your calendar will set you up to successfully complete all the other tips in this post, so your social media will be working for your while you’re enjoying some offline R&R.

Use scheduling tools to your advantage.

If you’re taking a vacation (or going on maternity leave, or just feel like taking a sabbatical), get familiar with a few of the free and paid social media scheduling tools. These make it possible for you to personally take a break from social, without your business having to take a break too.

Here are a few of my great scheduling tools:

  • Good: HootSuite

  • Better: Buffer

  • Best: Edgar

With these tools, your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can keep running without you having to lift a finger.

Instagram is slightly tricker. You can still schedule posts in advance, you’ll just get a notification on your phone at the time you scheduled. Then, with a couple taps, the post content will open in Instagram and you’ll be able to publish it in about 20 seconds.

Avoid “total” automation mode.

Be cautious of automating several of your channels together. By this I mean that when you post on one channel, it automatically pushed content out on another channel.

For example, people do this all the time when they post something to Instagram and at the same time share it on Facebook. And a lot of people have their Facebook posts set to be automatically posted to Twitter.

That type of regurgitation ends up looking unprofessional and lazy. Especially since these posts will often include content that isn’t properly formatted for the specific channel where it’s posting.

Create content in advance for all the channels you use, so they’ll remain active, with engaging content, while you’re on vacation.

Determine who will represent your business online.

Just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean your audience is too. They’ll want to keep engaging, so don’t just leave them high-and-dry.

If you’re available to look at your social media platforms during your break, schedule a little bit of time to do so. During that time focus on responding to comments, mentions, messages and reviews.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) check in, I recommend designating someone to do this on your behalf.

Consider hiring social media pro.

If you want absolute peace of mind, or if you want your social media audience to grow in  your absence, working with a professional social media manager is going to be your best bet.

 This person can keep an eye on your channels, post live, engage with your audience and even grow your following -- all while you’re totally relaxed and completely unplugged.

 Want to leave your social media in good hands while you’re on your next vacation, let’s chat.

 And be sure to grab my free Social Media Vacation Planning Guide to help you make sure you’ve got all your online bases covered the next time to need/want to unplug.

 Get it free here, in my resource library.

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.